Janome 9900-Leaderboard Left
Janome General-Leaderboard right

Facebook Twitter Sew4Home RSS Feed Follow Me on Pinterest Instagram

Sew4Home

Tiny Tucks with a Quarter Inch Seam Foot

Printer-friendly versionSend by emailPDF version

Narrow tucks, called pintucks when they are super-duper narrow, are most well-known in the world of heirloom sewing, but they can add a lovely bit of detail to many kinds of projects. You can create this look quickly and easily with your Quarter Inch Seam foot. Tucks can be sewn in thread to match the fabric for a classic tone-on-tone look. Switch to a contrasting thread for extra detail along the stitch line. Or, accent with decorative stitching between tucks on directly on top of each tuck.

Janome America Education Coordinator, Nancy Fiedler for providing these helpful tips, techniques, and samples. 

Tucks created with a Quarter Inch Seam foot use a straight stitch with the needle in the center position. Depending on your machine, this may be as simple as snapping on the presser foot, confirming the default center needle position, and setting up for a standard straight stitch. This is true for the Janome 7mm machine models we tested. On the Janome 9mm models, when using the 9mm Quarter Inch foot, there is an actual ¼” stitch setting. This automatically adjusts the needle position for a perfect ¼” seam allowance from the flange.

To determine the starting space between tucks, do a little testing on some scrap fabric to get the look you want. With a Quarter Inch Seam foot, each tuck uses ½” of fabric. This is consistent tuck to tuck. The variable is how far apart you make the tucks. The closer together the spacing, the more tucks you can make and the more fabric you’ll “consume,” which means the wider your starting panel will need to be cut. 

Your starting point may vary, how much un-tucked fabric you need at either end may vary, and what you like versus what someone else likes will definitely vary. So test, test, test. Use a fabric that is similar in weight to your final fabric to get the best result. (In this photo, we are also playing with needle postion; more on that below).

In the photo below, the starting panel at the left is 12” wide. When the guidelines were spaced at 1½”, seven tucks were generated and the panel reduced to 8”. At 1¼” spacing, nine tucks could be made, but the finished panel is now reduced to 6¾”. At the far right, the spacing guidelines were drawn 1” apart, which yielded a dozen tucks and a panel that is now just 5½”.

  1. Once your spacing has been determined, draw in parallel guidelines at this distance across your fabric panel. You are working on the right side of the fabric, so make sure your marking tool is one that can be easily wiped away or will vanish with exposure to the air or the heat of an iron. We drew fairly heavy lines in order to allow them to show up in the photos, but of course, yours can be much lighter.
  2. Starting at one side, we prefer to work right to left, fold along the first drawn guideline. 
  3. You can fold and press with an iron, fold and finger press, or fold and use a hand-held pressing tool to set the crease as shown below.
  4. Place the folded fabric under the Quarter Inch Seam foot, aligning the fold with the foot’s flange. 
  5. Stitch the length of the tuck.
  6. Repeat along each drawn guide line across the panel. 
  7. When done, remove the drawn guide lines and press the tucks. Narrow tucks like these are traditionally all pressed in the same direction. 
    NOTE: Janome America has a short video that shows this technique in action. 

Alternate options for more decorative tucks

NOTE: The following techniques were tested on and are described for 9mm Janome machines that allow you to adjust the needle position. We used the Janome Horizon Memory Craft 15000.

Decorative stitching between tucks

  1. Start with widely spaced guide lines. We used 2” apart.
  2. Attach the Quarter Inch Seam foot, but instead of setting up for the ¼” stitch, set to the standard center needle position. This moves the needle all the way to the left of the presser foot’s opening. 
  3. Fold along the drawn guideline and stitch the tuck. The result is a wider tuck of about 7/16” or 11mm.
  4. Continue in this manner across the panel. 
  5. When complete, saturate the fabric with a liquid stabilizer (we used Terial Magic).
  6. Press to dry, pressing all the tucks in the same direction. We pressed them all to the left.
  7. Remove the Quarter Inch Seam foot and attach the Satin Stitch foot
  8. Select a decorative stitch and re-thread the machine with a contrasting thread color in the top and bobbin. 
  9. Slide the fabric under the foot so you are working between the tucks. Align the left edge of the Satin Stitch foot with the tuck’s seam line and stitch down the center of the space between tucks.
  10. Continue in this manner across the panel. You can lift up the tucks slightly if need be to allow the presser foot to pass more easily.
  11. When complete, wash out the stabilizer and the drawn guidelines, and re-press all the tucks in the same direction.

Decorative stitching on each tuck

  1. Start with widely spaced guide lines. We used 1½” apart.
  2. Stitch the wider tucks (7/16”/11mm) as described above.
  3. When complete, saturate the fabric with a liquid stabilizer (we used Terial Magic).
  4. Press to dry, pressing all the tucks in the same direction. We pressed them all to the right.
  5. Remove the Quarter Inch Seam foot and attach the Edge Guide foot
  6. Select a decorative stitch and re-thread the machine with a contrasting thread color in the top and bobbin. 
  7. Bring the first tuck out into its original folded position; the position used to stitch the tuck.
  8. Slide the fabric under the foot so you are working on this single tuck. The inside edge of the Edge Guide’s measurement “toe” is aligned with the tuck’s original seam line and the white plastic guide is open all the way to the right against the fold of the tuck.
  9. Run the decorative stitch the length of the tuck. 
  10. Continue in this manner across the panel.
  11. When complete, wash out the stabilizer and the drawn guidelines, and re-press all the tucks in the same direction. 

Tucks of varying widths

  1. This technique creates an interesting look that reminds us a bit of a tuxedo shirt. 
  2. Draw in guide lines with alternating spacing. We spaced our first lines at 1”, then expanded to 1½”, then returned to 1” to create a 1” - 1½” - 1” - 1½” pattern across the entire panel.
  3. Using the Quarter Inch Seam foot, fold and stitch the first tuck at the standard ¼” seam allowance. 
  4. Fold along the next drawn guide line (at 1½”) and re-set the needle position for a wider tuck. As above, set for a standard center needle position to result in a 7/16”/11mm width.
  5. Alternate back and forth between the needle positions as you move across each pair of tucks. 
  6. When complete, press all the tucks in the the same direction. 

Our thanks again to Janome America Education Coordinator, Nancy Fiedler for her help with this tutorial. To stay up-to-date on all the news from Janome, visit their website and/or follow the creativity on their blogPinterestInstagramFacebookTwitter, or YouTube.

Section: 

Comments (5)

Dianna Loftis said:
Dianna Loftis's picture

Oh my goodness. I spent 4 hrs yesterday evening trying to do some pintucks with my pintuck foot and twin needles. I tried every adjustment in the book and here your are with an improved tried and true method. God bless you all

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Dianna - Well... there is nothing wrong at all with the traditional method for pintucking. It does give the most classic look. But this is a fast and easy way to get the look of tiny tucks. 

Rhonda.Spears204 said:
Rhonda.Spears204's picture

This is a great tip to know. I just purchased a quarter inch seam foot for my machine and will be trying this !

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ Rhonda - Glad to know you're inspired. This is an easy technique that produces such a pretty result.

Add new comment

*Sew4Home reserves the right to restrict comments that don’t relate to the article, contain profanity, personal attacks or promote personal or other business.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.