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seam allowances - new sewer
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Jeffrey McConnell
seam allowances - new sewer on 03/19/2011 19:33:43 MDT Print View

I've decided to tackle a down quilt as a project and I wanted to know what people typically use for seam allowances on the outside edges of a quilt (keep in mind I'm learning to sew still). Also, about how much allowance will I need to add a shock cord channel at the head?

Edited by Catalyst on 03/19/2011 19:35:50 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
allowances on 03/20/2011 12:06:58 MDT Print View

I normally use 1/2" seam allowances. If you are making a drawstring/shockcord tunnel, i'd make that at least 1/2" wide, maybe more. Let's say 5/8" wide. so you need to double that,then add at least another 1/4" to fold back under so the raw edge is not exposed. So that is 5/8+5/8+1/4= 1 1/2" past the point where the line of stitching will be. I hope that makes sense!

Stephen Barber
(grampa) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
New Sewer on 03/20/2011 16:21:46 MDT Print View

We had to get a new sewer last year - boy, was that ever expensive! But at least now, th....

Oops! Sorry! Wrong type of sewer! <>

Okay, seriously Jeff, Is this your first project sewing nylon material? A down quilt is quite a project, and if you're not familiar nylon, you might want to start off with a more limited project - how about a pack cover? Or a pair of gaiters?

Are you doing a sewn-thru or baffles? You might want to check some of the outdoor fabric places for patterns - these would make your job a lot easier!

I would recommend a 5/8" seam, then add whatever foldovers, etc, you're going to need. A shockcord tunnel could be anywhere between 5/8" to 1" (times two if it's folded over). Remember to include fold-over seams at the ends of the channel!

Edited by grampa on 03/20/2011 16:28:45 MDT.

Mat Tallman
(wehtaM) - F

Locale: Midwest
Re: seam allowances - new sewer on 03/20/2011 20:50:44 MDT Print View

Everything you want to know about sewing a quilt and more...

Bear in mind these instructions are for a sewn-thru construction quilt, a baffled quilt will be a bit more cutting and sewing work. has a brief instruction page for making a baffled quilt if that's your aim. Pairing the two write-ups together is a wealth of info.

Best of luck, a quilt was my first major MYOG project, but I've been sewing on and off for the better part of my 25 years, so it's certainly not my first time behind a machine.

John Canfield
(jcanfield) - F

Locale: Cascadia
seam allowances on 03/20/2011 22:22:22 MDT Print View

I would recommend 1/4 inch seams. Having repaired dozens if not hundreds of packs, sleeping bags, tents, etc. As well as having built scores of backpacks in the industry, 1/4 is the norm. Sometimes a little more (3/8 often in zippers), and rarely a little less (for seams that are taped.)

Jeffrey McConnell
thanks on 03/20/2011 22:45:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for the advice. I'll be making a baffled underquilt. Right now I'm just planning it and finding as much information as I can on construction. I'm going to start off with sewing stuff sacks and tarps and work my way up to the quilt.