If a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, I'm guessing this three-in-one presser foot is easily worth a bird, a hand and a bush. We love a cool accessory that does several things. The Janome Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set comes with two guides: the Quarter Inch Guide and the Ditch Stitch Guide. The foot itself is clearly marked with red guide lines for ⅛" and ¼" seam allowances, as well as cornering marks for both ⅛" and ¼" seams in front and behind the needle drop. The foot is super easy to use and very lightweight. But be careful, the little guides are the Barbie® shoes of sewing; they could very easily get lost. Keep everything together in a little plastic bag. And don't let the name fool you; even though it says "quilting" on the package, this foot comes in handy for any project that requires precise seaming or topstitching. The foot is available in both standard width (7mm) as well as wide width (9mm).
Many quilters like to use this foot in combination with a straight stitch needle plate. The small single hole in the plate aligns with the small center hole in the foot to ensure the most stable base for your fabric and the least risk of threads or fabric getting caught in the feed dogs. Of course, this combo can only be used with a center needle drop position.
Deciphering the markings
The packaging didn't do a perfect job of pointing out what all those red lines really mean, so we did this handy little guide for you. As mentioned above, you get ⅛" and ¼" seam allowance guides and needle drop/cornering guides both ⅛" and ¼" in front of and behind the needle drop.
The interchangeable guides
Loosen the screen and drop the ¼" guide in place. Re-tighten the screw and you're ready to go.
The stitch-in-the-ditch guide attaches just as easily
Sewing with the just the foot
You can use the foot all by itself to do ⅛" seams. These tiny seams aren't used a lot for home décor, but quilters use this seam for miniature piecing and more.
All you need to do is align your fabric with the ⅛" red guide line and stitch along, keeping your eye on that red line.
You can also use the foot without the guides to sew perfect ¼" seams. Just like above, simply align the edge of your fabric with the red ¼" guide line. This is a nice option for pieces with a lot of corners, such as the triangle shown below, where a flange-type guide might be in the way.
Sewing with the ¼" guide
Quite a few sewing machines come with a ¼" foot, but you may not be that lucky. Often a ¼" foot is a specialty foot you must purchase separately, which makes this three-in-one foot such a great deal. We use a ¼" allowance all the time in our projects for seaming, hemming, and topstitching.
With the guide in place, you simply align the edge of your fabric against the flange and start sewing. Keep the fabric close to the guide as you go and you'll get a perfect ¼" seam every time.
The straight stitch needle hole in the foot is slightly oval, which means if your machine allows you to adjust your needle position, you can move the needle just a bit to the right and stitch a perfect scant ¼" seam. This is a technique experienced quilters often suggest for beginners. Every time you press your seams, a little bit of fabric gets taken up in the fold. With each seam, you loose a little bit more, which can add up, especially if you are new to piecing. Sewing a scant ¼" helps compensate for this.
NOTE: There's a small hole to the left of the needle hole. This is a "needle release hole" and it is not used for sewing. It is only there so if you change your machine to a zig zag stitch and forget the foot is still on the machine, this hole will prevent the needle from breaking.
Sewing with the ditch guide
We love the ditch guide; it's like a laser line for keeping a straight seam. All you have to do is align your fabric so the guide is in the ditch created by the previous seam you are following. As you sew along, just keep the guide running in this ditch. You could also run the guide along a drawn line for things like pocket panel divisions.
We really had fun with the Clear View Quilting Foot and Guide Set. It does three very different things and does each one very well. We give it five stars. It is made by and for Janome machines with their snap-on feet, but check with your local dealer, it may work on other brands and/or there may be a similar foot available.