Posted by on Oct 8, 2014 in Lessons, Sewing, Theory | Comments Off on Adjusting Your Seam Allowance

When I add seam allowance to my patterns, I always add one-quarter of an inch. That works out really well because the space from the edge of the basic presser foot to the centre of said foot is exactly one-quarter of an inch.


However, printed patterns (including mine) generally advise seam allowances that differ depending on the pattern maker and the era from which the pattern hails. Most printed patterns advise a 5/8″ seam allowance. That’s because European tailors determined that a 1.5 centimetre seam was the least likely to create bulky seams while also lowering the chance of ravelling fabric.

But how do you keep an even 5/8″ seam?

I use my favourite improvised tool – masking tape.

See, when I sew using a 1/4″ seam allowance, I simply line up the edge of my seam with the edge of my fabric.

seam allowance

I need something with which to line up my new seam allowance. Luckily, my strike plate has measurements embossed onto it.

2014-09-18 14.41.50So, I keep a piece of painter’s tape stuck to my machine, and when I need a larger seam allowance, I put that tape along the measurement line for 5/8″.

5-8 inchThen, all I have to do is line up my fabric with the tape just like I would with the presser foot.

seam allowanceThis gives me a straight line to keep track of my fabric.

Don’t want to miss the steps as they’re posted?

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