Presser foot guide: what is a Rotary Even Foot and how to use it
I like to try different gadgets all the time. Recently I have discovered a Rotary Even presser foot and now I am wondering – how did I sew without it before?
So, in this presser foot guide, you will learn what is a Rotary Even Foot and how to use it as a walking foot alternative.
If you prefer to watch the tutorial go to my YouTube channel here.
The main feature of this Rotary Even foot is the pair of plastic belts sometimes called caterpillars which make the foot look like a tank. The foot is made by Janome but it can be used with all low shank sewing machines that have snap-on presser feet.
What does it do? As explained on the Janome website the foot is useful “for preventing stretchy fabrics, jersey and knitted fabrics and hard to feed materials, like leather or vinyl, from slipping or puckering.”
Let me show you how wonderful it works. Check the video clip below because it’s better to see the foot in action than just to read about it.
For this test I had a few pieces of thick upholstery velvet fabric – it has a short, soft and very dense pile. When I try to sew two layers of this fabric with a regular presser foot I see horrid puckering just a few inches from the beginning of sewing.
When I change my presser foot – the Rotary Even foot sews the layers without any problem and stops the puckering. You can see in the video clip below that I have a perfect flat seam which I couldn’t make before with a regular presser foot.
Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself.
Buy Rotary Even Foot here
Janome Rotary Even Foot Set
- Effective for preventing stretchy fabrics, jersey and knitted fabrics and hard to feed materials, like leather or vinyl from slipping or puckering
- Comes with: Hemming attachment, Bias Tape attachment, 3 different Rolled Hem attachments
This foot helps very much to sew fur with long piles. I can show you how easy it does the job with my pink fur. By the way, do you use these wonderful clips instead of pins? I use them all the time, very useful sewing tool.
Just snap the foot on the sewing machine and choose a straight stitch or actually any stitch your machine has. Absolutely no puckering or shifting. It’s good for other plush fabrics like polar fleece, for example.
Buy Wonder Clips here
MumCraft Multipurpose Sewing Clips with Tin Box Package, Assorted Colors, Pack of 100
$15.99 in stock
- ★Best Sewing Clips ! They come in sturdy Tin Gift storage box.You will never lose them!
- ★Make it easy to hold multiple layers of fabrics, binding objects like Quilts, and holding together multiple objects. No Pins needed for Sewing!
- ★Perfect for all sorts of crafts. Can be used for post notes and organize papers as paper clips or use them on rope to hang pictures or mementos on there are so many different options of how to use them.
- ★Each clip opens wide to hold layers of fabric and the clip base is flat for easy feeding to the presser foot.you can now sew safely with these must have clips.
- ★Package includes:100 Pcs. Clips Size : 2.5x0.8x1.3cm(LxWxH).Packed in many different beautiful tin boxes that will be shipped randomly.
Clover 3183 50-Piece Wonder Clips, Assorted Colors
$30.91 in stock
- Great holding capacity for many crafts
- Clips open wide for several layers of fabric
- Easy slide base and calibrated guide scale
Yalis 100 Pcs Premium Sewing Clips Multipurpose Sewing Accessories Quilting Supplies Crafting Tools, Assorted 9 Bright Colors
- Package includes 100 packs of 27 x 10 mm colorful sewing clips. Assorted 9 colors, packed randomly.
- These sewing clips are perfect for all sorts of sewing cloth art. Assorted colored helping mark the fabric and locking stitch
- The flat bottom of each clip has marking lines for 5 mm, 7 mm and 10 mm, so you can measure how far the clip is reaching in from the fabric edge.
- No need to worry about the clips dropping on the floor, poking or hurting children.
- Each clip opens wide to hold layers of fabric and the clip base is flat for easy feeding to the presser foot.
Clover 3159 Wonder Clips for Needlecraft, Red, 100 Per Package
- 100 Clips per package
- Great holding capacity
- Many craft uses
- Great alternative to pins
- Seam allowance markings
The rotary even foot is good not only for sewing thick fabrics ( I use the walking foot only for thick fabrics) but also for thin stretchy fabrics – it keeps them from getting all stretched out.
It also helps to match up stripes and plaids because it keeps the two layers of fabric perfectly aligned. But of course you need to pin the pieces properly first.
You may say that the walking foot does the same smooth sewing of napped fabric. Yes, it does. But it’s much easier to install the Rotary Even foot – just snap it on, while the walking foot must be attached and detached by removing the presser foot holder and aligning the fork arm over the needle bar and reinstalling the screw.
The Rotary Even foot is a bit flimsier though and I heard some people complained that caterpillars got broken. Well, everything is breakable, just try to be careful with it. It is also not cheap but for certain jobs it is probably going to save you a lot of trouble.
The other big difference between the two feet is that the Rotary Even foot comes with 5 very useful different attachments for various techniques: a blind hem attachment, a bias tape attachment, and hemming attachments in 3 different sizes.
I tested all of them and really like them a lot. Let me show you the attachments in action.
I don’t know why but in the instructions they are called rolled hem attachments. But to me rolled hem is completely different from we are going to make with these attachments. You will see.
There are 3 different sizes – for ½”, ¾” and 1” hems.
It’s very easy to install all of these attachments. First, loosen and remove the screw on the rotary foot, then slide the attachment into place and tighten the screw. After that just snap the foot onto your machine.
Feed the fabric into the attachment. But before that fold the fabric edge approximately ¼” and press it with an iron. In the instructions coming with the foot, they say to cut about ⅜” off the corner of the fabric. This will make it easy to insert the fabric in the beginning. But I didn’t do it, it worked well without any cutting.
Fold fabric and insert it into the guide so it goes under the foot.
You can adjust the position of the sliding arm so that the machine makes a stitch close to the first fold. For this just loosen the screw, move the guide in the position you want.
Lower the needle into the fabric, lower the rotary even foot and start sewing slowly while feeding the fabric.
I used 1” attachment for my test – the biggest one. As you can see in the video clip below the hem was done quite well. I used 100% silk shantung for this test and I see that the settings of my sewing machine were not quite right for this fabric.
But I ironed this seam and after ironing the stitch looks ok.
The bias tape attachment
The bias tape attachment is installed exactly the same way as the hemming attachment.
You can make your own bias tape or use a ready made one.
So, feed the bias tape into the guide and adjust the width of the guide to match the width of your tape so it lightly held in place without looseness. After that insert the raw fabric edge into position through the side opening and push it through under the rotary belts.
At this point, you will have to adjust the needle drop position. You can choose to put it as close to the fold as possible by loosening the screw on the foot.
Choose a straight stitch or a decorative stitch for attaching your bias tape.
Make sure that the fabric does not become separated from the inside of the bias tape.
I really like this bias tape attachment because it keeps the bias tape even and I can catch both sides of the tape without any problem.
The only drawback is that you can’t turn a corner with the attachment in place, so it works only on straight edges that you want to bind.
Blind hem attachment
Now let’s use the blind hem attachment. It’s especially useful when you don’t want the sewn line to be seen from the right side of the garment.
Insert the blind hem guide into place and snap the foot onto the machine.
For this to work, you need to have a special blind hem stitch on your machine. I noticed that most modern machines have this kind of stitch. Check the video below to see the blind hem stitch which is necessary to make blind hems.
Position the folded fabric such a way that the needle just pierces the folded part of the fabric when it comes to the left side. For this align the attachment’s silver guide between the two red lines on the foot.
Place the guide next to the folded fabric edge and sew keeping the guide along the folded edge.
For this video, I used a contrast thread so it’s visible on the right side of the fabric. But if you will use an invisible thread or a thread of the same color as your fabric your hem stitches will be practically invisible.
Buy Invisible Thread here
Gutermann Invisible Thread 274yd, Clear
- 100% Polamida
- Use for quick repairs, hemming, quilts and multicolored fabrics
- It can be used in the bobbin or on the top thread of your sewing machine and also in the lower looped of your serger
Sulky Premium Invisible Thread for Sewing, 2200-Yard, Clear
- Premium invisible thread
- Soft strong and smooth
- Ideal for quilting
Gutermann Invisible Thread 274yd, Smoke
- 100% Monofilament Nylon
- Gutermann Fusible Thread is a time saving product, perfect for fuse basting, quilt bindings, appliques, zippers and more
- It can be used in the bobbin or on the top thread of your sewing machine and also in the lower looped of your serger
SINGER Clear Invisible Nylon Thread, 135-Yard (2 pack)
- 2 spools of clear 100% nylon thread
- Used as “invisible” thread, negating need to match thread color to fabric
- Nylon thread works well with machine quilting, crafts and home decoration
- Nylon thread is high strength and low on stretch, making it well suited for stringing beads and making jewelry
- Each spool contains 135 yards of clear nylon thread. You get 2 spools.
Superior Threads MonoPoly Invisible Thread 2200 yds Spool; 01 Clear 119-01-Clear
1 used from $7.05
- Strongest invisible thread on the market!
- Perfect for quilting, applique, apperal, or wherever reduced sheen invisible thread is required
- Home Machines: Use topstitch #70/10 needle - lower top tension.
- Longarm Machine: Use #14 needle (MR 3.0) - lower top tension.
Mono Poly Superior Invisible Quilting Thread - Smoke
$8.13 in stock
- Quilting and Thread Painting
- Heat resistant
- Invisible Polyester Thread
Superior Threads - Monopoly Reduced-Sheen Clear 2,200 Yds. Polyester Thread
- For Quilting And Thread Painting
- This Product Is Made From Poly Filament
- Product Color: Clear
- Country Of Origin: United States
This blind hem attachment can be used also for joining two fabric pieces together. I am finishing this tutorial in my daughter’s house and her sewing machine is a very simple Janome and I still can use this fancy Rotary Even foot with all its attachments without any problems.
Let me show you how to join fabric pieces together. I think this technique is very useful for joining batting but it can be used also to make a nice seam on thick fabric where you don’t want any bulk from the seams. Or you can join two pieces of lace or ribbon.
Choose a zig-zag or a decorative stitch and set the stitch to its maximum width. Align your
two fabric pieces so the guide runs between them.
You can see in the video below it catches both sides and joins them together.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when you are ready to use the Rotary Even Foot, and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration!
Check out more step-by-step tutorials from my blog
and don’t forget to share!
Actionable tips, tools and inspiration for people who like to sew. Make fashionable garments together with me @ageberry77