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How To Hem

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Do you know the best way to hem clothing? There is no denying the fact that hemming is one of the most commonly used methods of stitching to complete the unravelling raw edges of the fabric. 

Whether it is woven or knit fabric, finishing with proper stitch type and tension will help you create flawless ending. With the help of a sewing machine or by hand stitching, learning to hem is an essential sewing skill.

How do you sew hem? Follow the sewing instruction for the garment to select the appropriate method of hand sewing or using sewing machine to sew a hem. Depending on the fabric width and content, you may need to single fold, double fold, or overlock stitch to secure the hemline. 

Select the proper hemming method and press to remove any puckering in the fabric to smooth out the stitch line. 

In this article, we will be learning everything you need to know about sewing a hem, various types of hemming and how to utilize each hem depending on the desired outcome. More importantly, frequently asked questions about how to hem proper ways with common stitching methods are answered below.

How to sew a hem by hand for beginners

If you are working on a delicate fabrication or finishing a couture garment, sewing a hem by hand is the best option compared to using a sewing machine. It provides more control when you sew by hand on your pace. 

Experience more control for clean finishing and avoiding puckering created by difficult to figure out the tension settings on a machine.

In order to sew a hem by hand, prepare the essential hand sewing needle and proper thread that works best for the material to hold. Depending on the fabric content and weight, you will need correct needle size to avoid any damages or prevent creating visible holes. 

The whole process starts by folding the hem and ironing the garment that you plan to hem to remove all creases and bumps. This will ensure that the garment sits flat and make the hemming easier.

Prior to the sewing, the hemline should be properly measured. Stand in front of a mirror to have an accurate front and back line as to where you would like to place the hem. 

You may find it beneficial to ask a friend for help when doing this.

Next, trim the fabric to a suitable length. It should be trimmed below the pin line or the chalk line to give extra seam allowance to work on, however this would depend on the depth and type of your hemming. Make sure that there is enough fabric left for accommodating the hem depth.

Folding the hem is important and it is a skill set that you must learn. In most cases, one single fold along the hemline is enough, but it should go from one wrong side to the other wrong side with an exterior that is right side visible.

The above should be the first few lessons for beginners to practice hand hemming. Identifying the depth of hemming and sewing straight will make it easier to sew a hem by hand.

How to hem with a sewing machine

It is by now clear that all clothes would need some type of hemming to avoid any raveling. There are different types of hemming about which we will talk later. 

We will discuss a few tips in order to help readers to learn the basics for hemming with a sewing machine.

There are different methods of hemming, and machine hemming generally requires multiple approaches. 

Types of Hemming

Let us look at some of the most important ones and this should give beginners an idea about hemming when using a sewing machine. Now all of these types of hems don’t require a sewing machine, however it is much more practical when trying to accomplish these stitch variations.

In general, the blind hem is the most common type of hemming using a sewing machine. You can do this by replacing the sewing foot on the machine. 

This helps in producing stitching that are less visible to the naked eye. Finish the raw edge and also ensure that the desired hem allowance is pressed before proceeding.

The turned hem is suited for fabrics and other hem allowances, and is almost similar to blind hemming. The raw edge of the hem allowances must then be stitched carefully, and you need to press the raw edge around ⅛”.

Curved turned hem

This could be useful for creating a neat hem when the hemline is flared. The process starts by machine stitching a line of around ¼” from the raw edges.

Always press the raw edge and make sure it is in the stitching line. Run the stitching machines and the needle smoothly through the raw edge and move the fabric to get the desired curve.

Single fold hem

Single folding hem is one of the most common methods of sewing machine hemming. It is easy to learn and master, in addition the single fold hem is applied to skirt, dress, and blouses to clean finish woven fabric.

The basic objective is to finish the fabric with overlock stitch, and then fold back on itself to execute the stitching. Bear in mind that the fabric cut edge remains exposed on the rear of the fabric. 

Therefore, single fold hemming is commonly used when the fabric rear side cannot be accessed.

If you are working a straight single fold hem on the garment, as a beginner, correctly sew over the pins to guide you for a precise straight line.

Double fold hem

When talking about double fold hem, we are referring to a technique that involves folding as far as the bottom edge of the fabric is concerned. This has to be done on the wrong side.

However, the wrong side of the fabric has to be sewn twice. This is important because only then the raw edges of the fabric will be hidden, which also goes a long way in giving a smooth finish as far as the insides are concerned.

The double fold hem generally uses straight stitch, and works best on lightweight fabrics for narrow hemming.

For heavyweight, apply wider double fold hem method.

The narrow width helps to drape naturally and the wide hem helps to hold down the hem in a specific way.

Overlocked hem

Overlocked hems require special sewing machines like Serger, which sew over the edge of one or two pieces of cloth. The loops pass from the needle thread to the edges of the fabric to contain within the seam.

This form of overlocked hemming is constantly used for seaming, hemming and edging. It can be used for a variety of products and fabrics because they are versatile and also come in handy for reinforcement, decoration and even to strengthen construction.

Narrow rolled hem

Narrow rolled hem is also quite popular that is done using a rolled hem foot. There are some unique features associated with the sewing or hemming.

This form of hemming makes use of hemmer foot, sometimes known as narrow hem foot. The foot comes with a special channel that is curved. 

To sew straight, one has to fold the hem and the sewing also has to be done at the same time. This is the reason why Hem foot machines are used as it does away with the need for extra rows of stitching and pressing.

Whip stitch hem

This is another simple hemming stitch that is used in appliqué patchwork or hemming jeans. It provides a neat seam and decorative stitching for leather fabric.

This form of hemming is used in knitting, crocheting, and sewing. 

The procedure starts as the needle has to be passed in and then out of the fabric. A series of stitches have to be done around the edge of the fabric and slanted inside of the fabric.

How to hem sewing tips

Sewing a Hem: Final Thoughts

Sewing a hem is an essential step when it comes time to finish a garment. Whether you are making a dress or button-down shirt, hemming properly is the key to accomplish a professional looking garment.

In order to start hemming, it’s important to understand the different types of hemlines including: curved turned, single fold, double fold, overlocked, narrow rolled, and whip stitch hem

Based on the style of garment and fabric type, you will need to select the proper finishing technique that works for each design.

Always review the instructions on the sewing pattern to apply hand sewing or using sewing machine with correct sewing feet to accomplish clean and neat finishes. 

Whether you are hemming by hand or by machine, make a habit to press a seam with hot steam iron to remove any puckering or smooth out the stitches in-between to help to create a crisp hemline on the garment.

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