Hemming Basics

Hemming Basics
Saved usually for last, but not at all the least important step, hemming a garment’s edge be it jacket, skirt or slacks requires as much thought and attention to detail as all the other beginning and intermediate sewing steps combined. Applying the right hemming treatment applies a finishing touch that balances and affirms the total look.

Some hems require interfacing - choices to make are to fuse or not, light or medium weight, nestled with organdy, organza, muslin or hair canvas for crispness. Will the hem be conspicuous with a wide edge or a barely perceptible rolled one? Will a simple machine top stitch be used as on sporty or casual clothing, or will the hem be carefully and invisibly hand sewn in place catch-stitching interfacing or lining? Will an efficient double fold hem edge be used for wovens straight-stitching near the fold to secure or will a machine blind hem stitch be appropriate?

For those serger-savvy will an overlock stitch be a best choice for knits or simply serge the edge, fold up and hand or machine stitch on the inside to secure? Perhaps a twin-needle hem to apply to wovens may be a quick choice? Will lightweight batting or coin, chain or drapery weights be required to add stability and weight? Thread color choice can be matching or contrasting, thread thickness the lightest silk or heavier general all-purpose thread weight. So many decisions!

The double-fold hem is easy and quick to apply, encases the raw edge and is stitched close to the folded edge on the garment’s inside. Durable, great for kids or casual clothing yet obviously visible on the right side of the garment even if coordinating thread is used.

A blind-hem is done on the sewing machine or by hand, requires careful planning however the hem stitches will be mostly invisible even on both sides of the garment. A perfect hem for formal wear.

A rolled hem is a tiny hem edge that can be machine stitched using a narrow hem presser foot, or dutifully hand sewn couture-style. Usually found as hem edging on sheer or very thin fabrics and on some circular hems or where a wide hem is not appropriate.

An overlock hem (serger applied) or comparable twin-needle hem (sewing machine) is used that can duplicate the look of hem edges on ready-to-wear garments. Both are quick to apply and have some stretch-ability.

Interfaced hems use a strip of light to medium weight woven material the width of the hem depth or slightly wider that will stabilize very soft fabric to allow for a crisp edge. Interfacing can be fusible or sewn in. Found in many better-quality garments. Prevents the hem edge from stretching out of shape, adds body to the edge, reduces wrinkling and allows for a smooth line so the hemming stitches do not show on the right side.

A weighted hem is usually found on heavy woolen coats or jackets to keep the hem from curling up and allows for the hem to lay straight and close to the body. A signature gilded chain is a famous detail on the inside hem lining of a Channel jacket.

Hemming is not really a last step or an afterthought but a beautiful beginning to the lucky wearer of a carefully finished garment.

Blind-hemming as explained by the makers of Singer

Hems and Hem Finishes as found on Pinterest.com

Sew happy, sew inspired.






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