Sooner or later, no matter if you’re constructing a ball gown from scratch, running up some curtains, shortening a skirt or pair of trousers, or doing some running repairs, at some point you will need to tackle a hem or two. This is one area where it really is worth spending some time to get it right - the ultimate irony is that if it is done well no-one will notice it, except you.
Prepare and measure
Top Tip: Put on the right bra and shoes
A garment will hang differently with a body in it (instead of being on a hanger) so measure and mark the hem while the garment is being worn with the underwear and shoes you will be wearing it with.
You’ll need a helper to do this but this link shows how you can mark a hem using a table if help isn’t at hand! http://www.digitalchangeling.com/sewing/howTo/hems.html
How do you know which hem to use? For each different fabric and situation there is a hemming solution
|Image taken from http://www.craftstylish.com/|
Top Tip: If you want to REALLY camouflage the stitches when you’re sewing by hand: go vertically instead of horizontally when you take the stitch through the main body of the skirt – your stitch will blend in with the vertical warp threads in the fabric. It stops the weight of the hem pulling down on the hem stitches and making little hollows where the stitches go across several of the warp threads.
Top Tip: If you’re making your own skirt or dress and want full out luxury and no stitches on the outside at all then underlining is the way to go. When you sew the hem by hand, just catch the stitches in the underlining layer.
Rolled hems are the answer for really fine, sheer or slippery fabric e.g. lingerie
|Image from www.colettepatterns.com/blog|
• By machine – straight stitch
• By machine – zig zag
• for sheer fabric that is driving you wild
Circular, flared or tapered hems
• For circular skirts the key is to make the hem as narrow as possible, or to use bias tape which will curve around the edge, but the very first thing to do is to let the skirt hang for as long as possible – at least overnight – to give the fabric chance to relax. http://www.costumegoddess.com/tips/circlehem.htm
• When the garment is flared or tapered you will either have too much or too little fabric for a simple turn and stitch type hem. Here is how to deal with these hems without losing any hair in the process
• Bias trim is great for curved or tapered hems
These are two books to help with hems, they’re good for all sorts of tips and techniques and seldom get as far as the bookshelf because they are just too useful to put away.
• The Reader’s Digest “New Complete Guide to Sewing” has a particularly fine section on hems.
• “The Dressmaker's Technique Bible” by Lorna Knight
Let’s hear it for the humble hem!
This post was provided by Tracy Cushing, sewing enthusiast.