Quarter Inch Stitching with BERNINA Patchwork Feet
If you are a quilter, you know the importance of sewing with quarter inch seams. Matching points, nested seams, and perfectly pieced patches all result in accurate patchwork patterns. In addition, you’ll also find quarter inch seams in some garment sewing techniques and craft projects. BERNINA has six presser feet (Patchwork Foot #37/37D, 57/57D and 97/97D), all designed for precise quarter inch stitching. Three of these feet work with models equipped with the Dual Feed function that feed layers of fabrics evenly with no shifting or slipping.
Foot #37/37D is the original BERNINA patchwork foot and is used for simple quarter inch piecing and seaming.
Foot #57/57D is the same as Foot #37/37D but it has a guide added to the right side. Because the guide is a strong visual cue for placing your fabric, you can stitch faster but still have consistent quarter inch seam allowances. Great for piecing long strips of fabric and stitching parallel rows of straight stitching, spaced 1/4″ apart.
Foot #97/97D is wider at the back to fit the larger feed teeth of the models that have a maximum stitch width of 9mm. It comes with an adjustable guide that attaches to the bed of the machine. This guide adds a strong visual that helps you keep the fabric edges aligned with outer side edge of the right toe.
All of these presser feet have flat soles and are designed to be used with a straight stitch in the center needle position. The narrow groove on the bottom of the sole cradles the thread for smooth stitching while the narrow needle opening keeps the fabric from being pulled down into the opening when stitching narrow seams. Tip: To have the most control and support as the needle penetrates the fabric, resulting in the most precise stitching, use a straight stitch plate.
Patchwork Feet Soles
The bottom of the soles of Patchwork Feet #37/37D and Patchwork Feet with Guide #57/57D are the same and the footprint of each is small, useful for piecing, topstitching, and quilting small projects. The sole of Patchwork Feet #97/97D is larger, offering precision stitching when working with BERNINA machines that have a maximum stitch width of 9mm. The diagrams below show the measurements from the needle to various parts of the feet. Guide your fabric to the indicated edges to get consistent quarter inch or eighth inch seams.
Patchwork Feet #37/37D and #57/57D use the side edges of the feet to measure quarter inch seam allowances. Align the fabric edges with either side of the presser foot and the needle stitches 1/4″ away. Patchwork Foot #97/97D is slightly different. Aligning the fabric edges with the outer edge of the right toe gives a 1/4″ seam; to use the left toe, the fabric must be aligned with the inside of the left toe.
These three techniques are made easier by using the BERNINA Patchwork Feet.
Patchwork Foot #37/37D is a great choice when making quarter inch tucks. Aligning the edge of the foot with the folded edge of the fabric and sew a line of stitching. This stitching is parallel to the fold, forming a quarter inch wide tuck. Tucks are one of the oldest types of fabric embellishment, adding texture and interest to garments, bags, pillows, etc. Mark the positions of the tucks using a fabric marker to draw vertical lines or by folding and pressing the fabric to make creases. Stitch several tucks, evenly spaced across the fabric and press them to one side.
Stitch tucks in the opposite direction, creating cross tucks that add texture and interest to the fabric. Make sure that the first set of tucks are facing down as you stitch the second set. If not, you will have trouble with the toes of Foot #57/57D getting caught on the stitched tucks. Note: Each quarter inch tuck will take 1/2″ from the measurement of the fabric. For example, a 10″ wide piece of fabric with three quarter inch tucks will now measure 7″. In most cases, you will tuck the fabric and then cut the project pieces, stitching them together to make the garment or project.
Cross tucks are a simple way to add texture to a project such as a panel on a bag or purse or as an inset on the front of a blouse.
Repetitive lines of stitching offer a simple way to quilt small projects such as table runners, placemats, mug rugs, and potholders. Patchwork Foot #57/57D makes it easy with very little marking needed. You mark the first line and stitch along the line. Next, you align the guide of the foot with the stitched line and sew a second one. Continue stitching, keeping the guide aligned with the last stitched line. You’ll have beautiful texture created with evenly spaced, parallel stitches.
The most common use for any of these presser feet is patchwork piecing. Almost all patchwork patterns use a ¼” seam allowance. Even a pattern as simple as a 9-patch block has to be precisely pieced for good results. Align the edge of a patchwork foot with the edge of the fabric, which places the needle ¼” from the edge of the fabric. This results in the ¼” seam that most quilt patterns require. Patchwork Foot #97/97D works with BERNINA models that have a maximum stitch width of 9 mm. It works with the larger feed teeth of the machine for precision stitching.
When you place your fabric under the foot with the raw edges facing left, align them with the inner edge of the left toe for 1/4″ seaming. This is for Foot #97/97D only. When using the other patchwork feet with the raw edges on the left, simply align them with the the edges with the left side of the foot.
For more information on BERNINA Patchwork Feet, see The Big Book of Feet at your local BERNINA store.
Links to more information on BERNINA Patchwork Feet:
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Would like to try the 57D