Roller Foot. It sounds like it could be a malady common to professional skaters. (It may be for all we know.) But the Roller Foot is a presser foot for your sewing machine that allows you to sew sticky or shifty fabrics with ease. We're talking about materials like vinyl and leather, or chiffon, organza, and especially for the holiday season and our upcoming series of projects: velvet.
Why is it called the Roller Foot?
Take a closer look and you can see it has three little textured rollers.
In fact if you get really close, it looks like one of those steam rollers they use for road work.
The foot operates on much the same principle. The pressure of the presser foot presses down onto your sticky vinyl or shifty velvet, holding it firmly together. But your feed dogs are still able to advance your material smoothly thanks to the traction provided by those special rollers.
Vinyl qualifies as "sticky" and the Roller Foot provides the traction to move it through the machine. Velvet is in the "shifty" category, especially sewing right sides together when the nap on one layer wants to shift against the nap on the opposite layer. Sewing velvet to another type of fabric is another highly 'shifty' situation. Again, the Roller Foot has the combination of pressure and traction to keep things moving smoothly.
You can also sew with the Roller Foot on the right side of velvet, on the nap itself.
Sewing with the foot
With the Roller Foot on your machine, you can sew your sticky or shifty material just like you would any other fabric. However, sometimes these kinds of material require a little extra holding together – something you'd normally use pins for.
But ... be very careful. Pin holes in your vinyl will not 'heal' themselves like in regular fabric. We suggest holding your pieces together with paper clips, spray adhesive, or small clamps. Pins can also damage velvet and snag chiffon and organza. So if you use them, be sure your pin holes are inside the seam allowance.
Use a variety of stitches
The 7mm Roller Foot we're showing here was made for a Janome top-loading machine. It simply snaps in place. There's also a 5mm version available for front-loading models. Ask your sewing machine dealer about the right one for your machine.
Our Roller Foot has a wide enough needle hole to do a 7mm zig zag stitch or even decorative stitching.
Janome has a nice video on their website, which shows the Roller Foot in action.