Presser foot guide: what is a Rotary Even Foot and how to use it
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
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.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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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!
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Actionable tips, tools and inspiration for people who like to sew. Make fashionable garments together with me @ageberry77