Sewing tips

Adjustable Guide Presser Foot

Since becoming serious about my sewing, I have purchased a number of specialty presser feet. One of them is an adjustable guide foot. In this post I review what an adjustable guide presser foot looks like and what it can be used for.

What does it look like

If you’re familiar with a universal presser foot (aka zigzag presser foot) you will notice that an adjustable guide presser foot is wider and has a horizontal projection at a right angle to it’s right side. The projection holds a plastic or metal guide that is parallel to the edge of the presser foot and can moved closer and farther from the presser foot’s edge. On the left is my universal presser foot and on the right is my adjustable guide foot. These are both low-shank, snap on feet.

Universal foot (left) & adjustable guide foot (right)
Universal foot (left) & adjustable guide foot (right)

Specific adjustable guide presser feet are available for most brands of sewing machines. Alternatively look for a universal adjustable guide presser foot that is compatible with several brands of sewing machines.

What does it do

The adjustable guide on this presser foot has a small projection at it’s front corner that can follow the edge of your fabric or along a previously sewn seam.

Oblique view of an adjustable guide presser foot
Oblique view showing projection

This foot can be used to keep a constant seam allowance, make parallel lines of stitches and/or top-stitching and quilting. It works well for a variety of fabrics.

Sewing Seams

Recently, I’ve sewn several projects that use a ½” seam allowance for some or all of the seams. I used my universal presser foot and my adjustable guide foot alternately for these projects.

Universal Presser Foot

The needle plate of your sewing machine may or may not have guidelines.

Close-up of metallic sewing machine needle plate with guides
Metal needle plate with guides

If it does, you can line up the edge of your fabrics with the guideline that matches your seam allowance. If it doesn’t use your seam gauge to measure from the needle to the seam and make a mark with a pen or a piece of tape. Mechanical sewing machines (those that don’t have a computer inside) with metal needle plates may be used with magnetic seam guides.

Close-up of sewing machine universal foot with seam gauge set to 1/2" and magnetic seam guide
Setting a magnetic seam guide to 1/2″

The flat edge of the magnetic seam guide marks the seam allowance.

Here’s a photo of me sewing a ½” seam with my magnetic seam guide.

Close up of sewing a 1/2" seam with a magnetic seam gauge
Sewing a 1/2″ seam with a magnetic seam gauge
Adjustable Guide Presser Foot

Use your seam gauge to align the guide on your adjustable guide presser foot to the desired seam allowance.

Close up of a sewing machine with an adjustable guide presser foot set to 1/2"
Setting an adjustable guide foot to 1/2″

Here’s a photo of me sewing another ½” seam for the same project using my adjustable guide foot.

Sewing a 1/2" seam with an adjustable guide foot
Sewing a 1/2″ seam with an adjustable guide foot

In this photo I use it to sew a ½” seam in faux leather for a different project.

Thicker fabrics sewn with an adjustable guide foot

For certain tasks and certain fabrics, an adjustable guide presser foot may work better than a universal foot. I used mine for several recent projects, including my Vignette Phone Crossbody. This project used 1/8”, ¼” and ½” seam allowances. I have a preferred presser foot for 1/8” seams, use my universal/Teflon foot for ¼” seams and set my adjustable guide presser foot to ½”. It was quicker and easier to change my presser foot when the seam changed instead of measuring and remeasuring with my seam gauge.

The more experience you have with sewing, the less helpful you may find this presser foot. Alternatively you may be looking for an easier way to sew seams consistently. If the project you are working on has rows of parallel stitches far enough from the edge of your fabrics that your needle plate guides aren’t visible, this foot may be just the one to use.

Have you used an adjustable guide presser foot? Have you used a magnetic seam guide? Do you thing either is necessary? Comment below and/or Pin Me for later.



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