We started a new series of classes today. One of the first things we do is practice until each student finds the quarter inch seam on their machine. Sometimes it takes just a couple of times and sometimes it takes a long time and many samples before they find the right seam. I remind them that Quilting is not a timed sport but is an accuracy sport.
I cut strips of fabric that are 1 1/2 inches wide by about 6 inches long. They sew together three strips and we measure the center strip. It should measure one inch. If it is more than one inch, their seam allowance is too small. If it is less than one inch, their seam allowance is too large. After a few tries, they all get it. Sometimes we need to move the needle position, sometimes I put a small pile of post-it notes for them to guide their fabric next to. Here are the strips and part of the pile of strip sets.
I usually send some extra strips with them so they can practice at home. Once you learn a quarter inch on your machine, it seems to stick.