Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tuesday's Tute: Add a Seam Allowance...Without Measuring

I'm guessing you've run into the pattern that says...add a 1/4" or 1/2" seam allowance.  I know ours do.  To many that brings the horrible thought of measuring and marking 1/4" all the way around each pattern piece, or simply guessing and hoping you have enough seam space.
One of my pattern testers, thank you Patricia, told me about this tip.  It's one of those ideas that make you think..."I wish I'd have thought of that". 

Pattern needing a seam allowance added
2-3 pencils

1. To add a 1/4" seam allowance, simply tape two pencils (or similar sized "draw") together.
2. Run one pencil on the top of the pattern line while the second one creates your 1/4" seam allowance, cutting line.  The space between the "leads" is quite near to 1/4".

3. To create a 1/2" seam allowance, another pencil to the group (3 in all).
4. Run one "draw" along the pattern line while the 3rd draws the 1/2" seam allowance, cutting line. Make the #2 "draw" higher so that it doesn't mark.

When you round curves, make sure to keep the seam allowance "draw" parallel to the pattern line.

What to create a seam allowance of a different size?  Look for items to tape together that measure the seam allowance you are after.  Just make sure the first and last item will draw.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Brilliant! Thanks so much for this AMAZING tip!!!

  2. Wow! What a great idea! I love it. Thanks for this wonderful tip!

  3. Thank you thank you thank you, I have just been struggling with this very thing!

  4. I love simple fixes like this! Anytime the tedious things about sewing are made easier it makes me want to sew more. :)

  5. Great and easy idea!

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