Join Quilt Blocks Accurately With The ¼ Inch Foot

Learn how to join quilt blocks accurately and easily with the help of a quarter inch presser foot with guide. Ana will guide you through all the steps. Quilting is so much fun!


Hello all!

I’m Ana, a new quilter here to share some quilting adventures with you. I have lots of sewing experience in other areas: I’ve done some garment sewing but it’s not really my thing (armholes!, fitting sleeves!); I prefer sewing for my home (which has gotten me used to wrangling large pieces of fabric), and small projects like toys or small bags for gifts (so I’ve had lots of practice with intricate cutting and small seams).

Recently I discovered quilting and I am literally in love, it puts to use my sewing skills, I get to make nice things for my home and as gifts, it’s very creative and I can use all the pretty scraps I’ve had lying around for ages! Improvisational quilts are my favorite, I just cut strips of fabric without so much as measuring and put them together in odd shapes to make blocks. Since it’s all very slapdash, I don’t worry too much about my seams and most of the time they are kind of wonky… But then comes the time to cut those blocks to a certain size and joining them in the quilt, often with sashing; and then I do need my seams to be a perfect ¼” so that my carefully measured sashing actually lines up with the blocks.

improvisational quilt block with sand and stone colors

Enter my latest tool crush:  the ¼” foot with guide. Up until now I was using a plain old ¼” foot, which is serviceable, but requires more effort and attention to get a real ¼” seam than I can muster on a regular basis especially when putting together small blocks which, as you know, means lots of seams that need to be exactly the same width so that everything aligns properly and you get beautiful, crisp corners.

The Quarter Inch Foot vs The Quarter Inch Quilting Foot with Guide

As you can see in the picture, the 1/4” foot simply has toes that are a quarter of an inch wide, and to use it you align the seam edge with the edge of the foot and keep it in place with your hands as you sew.

quilting foot with indications of the different parts

Now, if you look at the 1/4” foot with guide, you can see that it has a blade hinged on the right edge. When you lower the presser foot, the blade rests on the needle plate exactly a 1/4” from the needle. To use it you glide the fabric against the blade.

Quilting foot with guide with the names of the different parts

The first thing you need to know about this wonder, is that it is strictly a centered straight stitch foot, the needle hole is a small circle so don’t try a zig-zag, and even if you are making a straight stitch, make sure that your needle is centered or you’ll break it! Also, it is a snap-on foot, so depending on your sewing machine, you may need an adapter (not to worry, Madam Sew has them for low shank machines, older high-shank machines, for Husqvarna and Bernina, too!)

Getting Started With a No-Pinning Hack

After the foot is installed, all you need to do is line up your seams carefully. I like minimalist quilts, so often I only have long straight seams without intersections. If that is the case for you, you can of course pin if you want, but I’ll show you a nifty trick for keeping straight edges aligned without pins:

1. Line up the edges as usual, place the fabric under the foot, lower it and bring down the needle to secure fabric in place.

detail of the quarter inch quilting foot with guide on a sewing machine and a white piece of fabric

2. Lift the presser foot and re-adjust the edges so that they line up

close-up of the quilting foot with guide

3. Place your right hand fingers as in the pictures, holding the fabric with your index and middle fingers on top and your thumb underneath.

Join our Sewing Club!

Save 10% on your first order

Be the first to know about our tutorials, weekly deals and so much more!

Value is required
Thank you!

4. Still holding the fabric in the same way, turn your hand so that your thumb is on top and keep it in that position as you start to sew. Depending on how long your seam is, you may need to repeat the process as your fingers get close to the foot (remember to keep the needle down when you readjust).

sewing straight without using pins on a sewing machine

Dealing With Intersecting Seams

1. Make sure that the seams that are going to intersect are pressed to opposite sides.

Sewing intersecting seams accurately

2. Then, with right sides together, nest the seams against each other.

sewing intersecting seams neatly

3. And now pin right through the middle of the nested seams.

nest seams precisely

Feeding the Fabric with the Quilting Foot

Now you are ready to start sewing. It is important to align the edge of the seam with the guide, don’t push the fabric against it, simply rest it next to the guide and start sewing. Start slowly so you can get the hang of it, keep your eyes on the fabric as it comes to the guide; you are just grazing the guide with the fabric as it moves, not pushing it against it. Gently use your left hand to keep it in place and you’ll soon be able to pick up some speed, as the guide makes it easy.  

Look at the beautiful, perfect ¼” seam you just made!

an accurate quarter inch seam with a ruler

If you have any questions about the quarter inch presser foot with guide or this tutorial, don't hesitate to get in touch, leave a message below or browse through our big library of quilting blogs with many free projects and quilting techniques tutorials. If you are a beginner, be sure to check out our complete beginning quilting series.

Follow this link for inspiration and free patterns for quilt blocks.

Share what you are making with the quarter inch quilting foot and inspire others.

Happy Quilting!


Blogging for