The 1/4 Inch Seam Foot or 1/4 inch Piecing foot or 1/4 inch quilting foot or the 1/4 inch patchwork foot as this foot is known, is a sewing machine foot that is very useful when sewing a seam with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.
When you have to make a perfect 1/4 inch seam (called in sewing parlance as the scant 1/4-inch seam) there is nothing like this foot. The 1/4″ seam is sewn based on the right front edge of the foot or a guide it has along the edge.
The most common 1/4 inch piecing foot is this one.
Then there is the 1/4″ piecing foot with guide. This has a black or chrome colored metal guide and you have to align the fabric edge along this metal bar.
There are other variations to this foot the like Open toe 1/4″ foot, Patchwork 1/4 inch foot.
The open toe 1/4 inch foot has an open viewing space which is very convenient when sewing with intricate shapes and narrow allowances. The visibility this foot provides is great for those who do paper piecing- you can see all the stitching lines as you see very clearly. So no chance of error.
The Patchwork 1/4 inch foot has a guide bar which helps you make equidistant quilting stitches.
There is also a clear plastic version of the 1/4 inch foot which can help you see everything clearly.
Uses of the 1/4 inch seam foot
There are some specific uses to this foot- not all seams need this. It is most useful in patchwork and sewing quilt blocks – lets you sew accurately with a 1/4″ (6.4mm).
It is also called the patchwork foot or quilting foot for no other reason than that, it helps to machine piece quilt blocks with accuracy. In patchwork, it is essential that you cut and sew with precision – a quarter inch here or there can create problems like blocks not joining properly, points not matching etc.
It is a great foot that can help you do beautifully accurate top stitching. When sewing curves in masks, making small things like doll clothes you need a tiny seam- this is a great foot to maintain an even 1/4 inch true seam for all these.
You can also sew a 1/8″ (3.2mm) seam allowance with the help of this sewing machine foot.
This foot also has marked guides on it which are perpendicular to the seam being stitched – this is helpful in sewing corner seams.
How to use the 1/4 inch seam foot
A straight stitch is used with this foot, ofcourse. Use your regular stitch length – 2.5 in my case Stitch width, ofcourse 0.
Your fabric needs to be cut with the seam allowance of 1/4 inch. Now place the edge of your fabric along the edge of the front of the regular 1/4 inch seam foot (right edge of the foot) exactly for accurate sewing.
At the top edge also align the mark on the foot and edge of the fabric if you want 1/4 inch seam allowance there. See the picture below for details.
As you end the seam if you want to leave a 1/4 inch seam allowance there, align the marking and edge of the fabric as in the picture given below.
This same mark on the foot where you end the stitch can also be used for pivoting when you reach a corner – the markings on the foot perpendicular to the seam being stitched are the guide for this. When you reach a corner, stop the stitching at the point on your foot. Pivot and continue to sew along the other side. This will give you a 1/4 inch seam all over.