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Accessories We Love: The Roller Foot For Velvet & More

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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.

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In fact if you get really close, it looks like one of those steam rollers they use for road work.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Janome has a nice video on their website, which shows the Roller Foot in action.

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Comments (8)

pearlyn said:
pearlyn's picture
hello

will this work on genuine leather? or will a teflon foot be better for genuine leather?
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
Hi terristotes.com -- for pleather, you would probably have better luck with an UltraGlide for "Teflon" foot. Here's a link to the one Janome has:

http://content.janome.com/index.cfm/Machines/Accessories/All/Ultraglide_...

On super sticky fabrics, I've also laid a piece of wax paper over my fabric, stitched on top of the wax paper and then just pulled the paper away from the seam when done.

Annie Fitz: I haven't tested the roller foot on PUL, I had the best luck with the walking foot on our PUL projects. You could also try the "wax paper tip" I mentioned above for the PUL.
Annie Fitz said:
Annie Fitz's picture
I wonder if this would work well for PUL? I can't get that darn walking foot to work properly but, maybe this is what I need!
terristotes.com said:
terristotes.com's picture
Can you tell us how this compares with a walking foot? I tried sewing on some pleather the other day (with my walking foot and regular foot) and did nothing more then make a mess. This sounds like what I needed!
Thanks!
J.Marie Designs said:
J.Marie Designs's picture
Great article. I never knew such a foot existed.
suziQz said:
suziQz's picture
I have one of these...really didn't know it was great for vinyl/velvet! Thanks so much for enlightening me!

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