Sewing, whether it is patchwork piecing or garment sewing, is all about the accuracy. The more accurate you can be, the more professional the finish. When starting out, this can be the most difficult thing to grasp.
Quick recap on the 1/4″ seam allowance – by sewing a ‘scant’ 1/4” seam, a smidge under the 1/4, you allow for the threads taken up when you turn the allowance over. This ensures that the patch you are sewing finishes exactly where it needs too. You can read more on this in my Blog ‘Sew a Fine Seam part 2’ which covers this in more depth for beginners but how can you ensure you maintain this seam allowance?
One of my students has problems with a shake in her hands. This can make it difficult to keep that seam allowance consistent. For most sewing machines you can buy a 1/4” foot which has a little guard which can help keep you straight but these, especially if you have purchased a cheaper, non-branded version, can be inaccurate.
The Clover Stitch Guide is a handy little device which can certainly help you keep that perfect seam allowance. One advantage in using a removable version such as this is that you can change it for any seam allowance required. Dressmaking? Then change it to 5/8” (1.5cm). Want to go back to patchwork then a quick shift of position and you are ready to go.
Some of these guides that I have tried before are a little too small. A nudge and they are out of alignment but this Clover Stitch Guide was larger, in two parts which slip together. This has the benefit of keeping a larger length of seam straight which I found much easier to sew with. Although I am a fan of the 1/4” feet for sewing on my machine, for some the guide can be difficult to see whereas this stitch guide is clear to any user.
It also comes with a little sheet of graph paper which helps you to position it accurately and the guard sticks to the plate of the machine. Another feature I liked was that it could be peeled off and used again and it didn’t leave any sticky residue. Something that would have really annoyed me! The magnet versions I’ve used before can shift without you realising, leaving you with a less than accurate finish.
Overall I really like the Clover Stitch Guide and will certainly be using them for my students in class.
Clover products are available nationwide from all craft, knitting and hobby shops.
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