With its front and back rollers, the roller foot looks a bit like a steam roller in miniature. It is handy for all kinds of sewing tasks. The roller foot sets the sewing bar a little higher as it enables you to sew heavier fabrics, and thicker quantities of cloth, through the roller system.
What is a Roller Foot
The roller foot has one large roller at the front and two smaller rollers at the back. This helps the roller foot to sew thicker fabrics and fabric with a nap or heavy knits. The roller foot copes well with vinyl and even leather. This foot helps any thicker fabric to pass easily under the foot while the feed dogs grip the fabric underneath. The rollers ease the thicker material through from the top in a smooth and even fashion.
Is the roller foot only for thick fabrics? No, not at all. In fact, it is the perfect foot for chiffon and stretchy fabrics like stretch velvet with a difficult nap finish. The roller foot gently guides the difficult fabrics under the rollers and through the machine. Stretch fabric does well with a small zig-zag stitch to adapt to the stretch of the fabric.
Types of Roller Foot
There are variations to the roller foot depending on the machine you are planning to use. First and foremost, look at the shank attachment to make sure the roller foot will either clip on or screw in to fit the machine.
Here are other variations or innovations to make the roller foot work extra well with those tough-on-the-machine fabrics.
- Cross hatching imprinted on the roller metal helps with gripping the fabrics firmly. It act in conjunction with the feed dogs giving more control over the fabric guiding thick fabrics through the rollers.
- A clear view through to the fabrics through a clear view plastic foot showing the fabric beneath the rollers and the stitching line. A clear view stops bunching before it begins as the seamstress can see how the fabric is moving through the roller foot.
- A high shank hinged foot is especially suited to industrial machines. The high shank gives more spice for the foot to work in and the hinged design gives a more flexible movement.
Roller Foot for Leather and Vinyl
Here are some tips to use for sewing leather and vinyl with the roller foot.
Using a Regular Roller Foot
- Make sure the foot is securely fitted to the shank by removing the previous foot and screwing the roller foot in place.
- Check the needle is firmly in place and will be going into the roller foot hole directly. Any deviation will result in a broken needle as the direction of the straight sewing needle is affected.
- Choose a special needle to use with leather. Choosing the right needle for the job is an important contribution to success. Especially if you are sewing difficult fabrics like leather or vinyl and messing up is going to ruin some expensive fabric.
- Secure the pieces of leather together with paper clips to prevent pins from marking the leather or vinyl.
- Use a straight stitch and extend the stitch to a longer length to avoid close perforations that may cause the leather or vinyl to tear. Try out your stitching on a scrap first to test the effect of the stitching on the fabric.
Using a Leather Roller Foot
The leather roller foot is a fascinating variation of the roller foot.
This unique foot was initially designed for sewing leather gloves. It was specially made for the commercial process of sewing leather gloves because it could go round the fingertips of the gloves. The leather roller foot looks like a tire on a sewing machine shank. This roller foot sits at a slight angle from the needle and the shank. It is rounded at the sides, giving it a ball rolling effect as it crosses the fabric.
The roller leather foot can move in all directions and turn in tiny circles or make big sweeping shapes on the fabric. It is ideal for quilting and free-motion sewing because it can easily follow any design and stitch around corners.
The leather roller foot is not one you see often, but when you are introduced to one you will want to have it in your collection of sewing machine feet. It does not just lend itself to decorative sewing. Take some time to practice using this foot and see how it adapts to sewing in sippers, adding piping, or tackling any sewing task requiring some close, personal sewing stitching.
Alternatives to Using a Roller Foot
Roller Foot - In Conclusion
There is no doubt that the roller foot is an asset to your collection of sewing machine feet. It will keep you focused on the fabric and rocking a rolling along as you stitch anything from chiffon to leather. A soft flowing nightgown or the latest leather jacket are all within reach with a roller foot.