Patchwork Feet on the Menu!
BERNINA is known for its unmatched collection of presser feet. If there is a sewing technique, the Swiss engineers have developed a foot optimized to give you the best results. It’s part of our passion for quality.
Personally, I learned a long time ago that at the stitching point when and where the needle enters the fabric, it’s not my helping hands that govern the fabric—it’s the presser foot. So I’ve learned to let the machine and the foot do their magic. Sometimes it took more than one attempt to learn that lesson!
As a quilter, I have a particular interest in BERNINA’s selection of patchwork feet. There are now six of them to fit the needs of any quilter and suit your work style. Let me walk you through a brief history of BERNINA Patchwork Feet, as they were not all created at once.
First, there was the quarter inch foot, aka Patchwork Foot #37
- It is designed to give an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance on either side of the needle
- Each side of the foot has 3 notches:
– At the needle position
– 1/4 inch behind the needle
– 1/4 inch ahead of the needle
- These make it easier to pivot accurately.
- While the outside edges of the foot mark a 1/4 inch seam allowance, the inside of each toe at the front of the foot mark a 1/8 inch seam allowance, which is great for miniatures.
So by now we have an accurate 1/4 inch piecing foot. Who could ask for more, right?
Peekaboo, I see you!
Some quilters like to see the edges of the fabric being pieced together just peek past the right side edge of the foot. It’s a natural thing to verify you’re at the edge. But if the fabric is “peeking” on extending on the right of the foot—then you no longer have an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance, and block dimension accuracy is no longer perfect. Patchwork Foot with Guide #57 has a guide on the right side of the foot that lets you place the fabric along the guide to give you the perfect quarter inch.
BERNINA Patchwork Foot #57
Now enters the next iteration of patchwork feet—Patchwork Foot with Guide #57
- We added a guide on the right hand side of the foot that would serve as a guard rail against fabric “peeking” or accidentally extending to the right of the foot.
- The guide is spring loaded so it can flex (or be nudged up) to cross seams and uneven layers.
- All other attributes are the same as for Patchwork Foot # 37.
Meanwhile, machines with 9 mm stitch width came on the market with matching (wider) feed dogs. For those with a machine that has a 9 mm wide stitch, there is the #97D foot. BERNINAs with a 9 mm wide stitch also have wider feed dogs. The left side of the #97D foot is wider, allowing the fabric to be more securely sandwiched between the foot and the feed dogs. This secure hold makes for even more precise stitching!
BERNINA Patchwork Foot #97 D
And now, Patchwork Foot #97 —because sometimes more is better!
- The right side of the foot has the same three notches as Patchwork Feet #37 and #57 denoting the position of the needle, 1/4″ behind, and 1/4” in front of the needle/
- The left side of the foot is wider than 1/4 inch, to cover the left set of feed dog teeth.
- The sole of the foot behind the needle is wider to better cover the feed dog
- The result is better traction and feeding of your fabric layers while piecing, while still providing an accurate 1/4 inch seam allowance.
- A rigid seam guide is included with the foot (when purchased on its own). This guide is optional if the foot was included with the purchase of a machine.
- The seam guide secures onto the machine bed so that it can be positioned against the right side of the foot. This serves the same purpose as the guide on the Patchwork Foot #57 by keeping the edge of the fabric right against the right side of the foot, preventing fabric “peeking” or extending to the right of the foot which would cause the seam allowance to be inaccurate.
- The seam guide also has a cutout toward the back to let it prevent it from coming in contact with the feed dog, preventing undue wear.
Patchwork Foot #97 foot represents a custom-fit solution to all the precision piecing challenges I had encountered as a quilter.
So by now it looks like all my wishes had come true as a quilter. But then . . .
Say hello to BERNINA Dual Feed!
With the advent of the BERNINA 8 Series in 2008, and now with the 7 and New 5 Series machines, we enjoy the benefits of dual feed on 9 mm machines. It’s like all-wheel drive for your quilt piecing.
- It helps maintain a straight line as you sew along.
- It helps prevent gapping when you butt you seam allowance and sew cross seams.
- It plain just feeds better!
Our engineers went to work and created a “D” (dual feed) version of all 3 of our Patchwork Feet, giving us Patchwork Feet #37D / 57D / 97D.So whatever your piecing style, you can still have your pick of feet. Personally, 97D is my favorite, hands down!
In closing, a friendly reminder from one quilter to another. For the most precise piecing when using a 1/4 inch foot, always use the Straight Stitch Plate on the machine I’m using. It supports even the finest fabric and is that pinch of salt that makes the outcome that much better.
And remember…Quilting Forever! Housework…Whenever!