Sewing tips

Roller Foot

Since becoming serious about my sewing, I have purchased a number of specialty presser feet. One of them is a “roller foot”. In this post I review what a roller 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 a roller foot is shorter, wider and has wheels on the bottom. The wheels may be textured or smooth. On the left is my universal presser foot and on the right is my Roller foot. These are both low-shank, snap on feet.

Close up of metallic universal presser foot (left) and clear plastic roller foot with silver wheels (right)
Universal foot (left) and plastic roller foot with textured wheels (right)

Roller feet may be plastic or metal and are available for most brands of sewing machinea. Alternatively look for a universal roller foot that is compatible with several brands of sewing machines.

What does it do

The wheels on the bottom of the roller foot move the fabric layers along smoothly. It works best for thick/bulky fabrics and stretchy fabrics. Examples include leather, vinyl, jersey and spandex. A roller foot can be used to sew the same stitches that a universal presser foot is used for. The advantage of the roller foot is even feeding of fabrics that might otherwise bunch up or ripple. The textured wheels on the bottom of some roller feet may mark delicate fabrics. Choose either a roller foot with smooth wheels or a Teflon foot instead.

Use a a roller foot for tasks like sewing a mock-serged seam in lycra/spandex, sewing plain seams in thick fabrics, top-stitching leather or plastic, matching stripes or prints and sewing elastic.

How well does it work

I’ve owned my roller foot for several years. I found it helpful for sewing several types of fabrics.

Here’s a photo of my roller foot being used to sew some faux leather scraps. I lined up the edge of my roller foot with the edge of the fabric. The seam was a little wider than i expected it to be.

Close up of faux leather being sewn with a roller foot
Sewing faux leather

In the next photo I’m top-stitching the same faux leather scraps. The small notch in the middle of the front of the roller foot made it easier to see where to sew.

Close up of top-stitching black faux leather with white thread using a clear plastic roller foot
Top-stitching faux leather

Here you can see the finished sample.

Close-up of flaux faux leather top-stitched with white thread
Completed top-stitching

In the next photo I used my roller foot to sew elastic to some stretchy, cotton jersey. It worked really well. It was easier to see where I was sewing as the fabrics were black. I have some projects using spandex planned and will be using it then too.

Close up of using a roller foot to sew purple cotton jersey onto purple elastic
Sewing cotton jersey onto elastic
Conclusion

For certain tasks and certain fabrics, a roller foot works much better than a universal foot. Depending on the type of fabric and the total thickness you’re sewing through, a Teflon foot may work better than a roller foot. A Teflon foot glides/slides across the top fabric instead of rolling along it. See my post about Teflon presser feet for more information about them.

Have you used a roller foot? What did you use it for?

Tanya

Pinterest image for "Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tip | Roller Foot" showing close up of universal presser foot (left) and plastic roller foot (right)
Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tip | Roller Foot

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