Why 8 Inches?


Let me check that math for you.

Okay, let’s talk about size.  Some people have asked me, “Why 8 inches?”, so I thought I’d answer that question today.

If you’ve purchased a Duchess & Hare pdf pattern, you’ve probably noticed that there is a little rectangle on the first page that measures 1″ x 8″, not 1″ x 1″ or 4″ x 4″ like most pattern companies.  It may not be as pretty as a nice square, but it does serve a purpose.

Last year, I printed out a pattern and it came out 2 sizes too small.  TWO SIZES!  I’d measured my square to start off, but I went back and measured it again, and it was clearly measuring 1″ x 1″.  Why was the pattern so small?  I measured it in my drafting program and it measured correctly, but when I measured my pattern pieces, they were clearly too small and the top just didn’t fit.

So, I decided I’d print it again and I double checked that the scale was correct.  It wasn’t.  For some reason, my program was trying to print the pattern at 97% instead of 100%.  That 3% difference added up to a whole lot.  My scale was 1/32″ of an inch too small.  It turns out that most digital programs line width is also 1/32″.  My pattern was 1 line width off and I hadn’t noticed when I measured because my square was only 1″.

Never wanting this to happen to myself or anyone else again, I ran some math to figure out how long my scale would need to be in order to make such a small error glaringly obvious.  I figured that by the time things were 1/4″ off, it would be pretty noticeable that something was up.  It turns out that at 8″, a 1/32″ error compounds to an entire 1/4″.  Think about that.  A size 4 bodice front is going to be about 6 1/2″ wide and if you’ve printed your pattern at 1/32″ too small your final bodice piece will only be 5 1/8″ wide.  It really adds up fast.

It’s always important to measure but sometimes tools can be off, or you don’t notice that your 1″ square just fills the inside of your 1″ quilting ruler.  We’re busy and such a small error can be difficult to catch.  I just figured that adding the 8″ rectangle would make it easier for everyone involved.

So, now you know the story behind the 1″ x 8″ rectangle.  And, after all, knowing is half the battle.

One Reply to “Why 8 Inches?”

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