Colette

It’s Sept-hem-ber! All month, we’re talking hems.

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welcome-to-sept-hem-ber

When I first learned to sew, I didn’t give hems much thought. I’d learned to do a simple turned hem on my first dress, and didn’t really look back. Hems are a piece of cake, I thought.

That is, until I tried to sew my first circle skirt. The deep curve of the hem – literally a circle – made it almost impossible to make my trusty turned hem look good. There were puckers and waves and uneveness everywhere. I was lost.

As I progressed into more advanced projects and specialty fabrics, like sheer silks or heavy wools, I realized that I needed a lot more in my toolkit than one basic turned hem.

The truth is, different garments call for different hems, and choosing and executing the right way is a bit of an art. It’s also one of the many true design decisions you get to make when sewing your own clothes.

Welcome to Sept-hem-ber!

All this month, we’re celebrating hems!

Devon (our sewalong teacher) and I have teamed up to show you how to sew a variety of hems all month long.

You’ll learn:

  • How to make sure your hem is even.
  • Everything you need to know about stabilizing hems.
  • Several options to finish the raw edge of your hem.
  • How to stitch a hem by hand.
  • How to sew basic turned hem by machines, and a few different options for doing it.
  • How to sew a machine rolled hem.
  • How to sew a faced or shaped hem.
  • How to sew a baby hem.
  • How to sew a mitered corner.

Plus, we’ll be referencing some of our previous posts on hems, like how to sew a blind hem and how to sew a curved turned hem.

Get the free hem guide!

At the end of the month, I’ll be compiling all of these wonderful tutorials in one place for you, so you can have them on your computer or tablet whenever you need them.

Can you guys tell I’m really into making freebies lately?

To get the free ebook, click the link below to enter your email. When the guide is ready, we’ll mail it right to you! It should be around the end of the month (I hope).

What’s your favorite hem?

Do you have a favorite type of hem to sew?

Mine is definitely the machine-sewn blind hem. I love the finish and how fast and easy it is. What about you?

free-hem-guide-02

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. She loves good books, sewing with wool, her charming cats, working in her garden, and eating salsa.

Comments 43

Ann

I’m afraid I’m stuck in the seam binding and hand sewn hem. I need to get out to this rut so I will be waiting impatiently for each new instalment of the series. Hopefully this will help me break out of “That is so your mother’s hem technique” syndrome.

Suzie su-sews-so-so.blogspot.co.uk

This is brilliant – really looking forward to these tutorials. What is my favourite hem? NONE of them – they are my nemesis! I have several projects languishing in my sewing room that just need hemming, but I just can’t bring myself to hem them!!! I hope your tutorials can give me the kick up the butt I need!!

Ramona Walter

Thank you for such good information. I hate hems that have too much fabric and you’re trying to fit it in. I learned many years ago that you have to compensate for the extra fabric by cutting a very small flare at the end of pants or shorts. That seems to work fine. I’m trying to do that now when I do alterations but doesn’t always work out. Thank you for your help. I’m getting better at it.

Taylor

Hooray! I’m a beginning sewist (so far I’ve just shortened some curtains and done some not-great-but-better-than-nothing mending; pillow covers are next on deck then I hope to work up the nerve to learn a blind hem so I can shorten my favorite pants before I try my first Sorbetto). I’ve been looking for resources on how to do some of the basic sewing techniques in a high quality way, and I’m excited for this upcoming resource from someone I trust to show the right things and to explain them well!

gabriel ratchet

something i’ve learned over time is to think the hem through before cutting… not deal with it as an after thought. the style and fabric may determine how you lay something out, or shape seams, or press a crease, or finish edges, or use selvedge, etc. in ways that can make the actual hemming easier, or a terrible trial. also, if you know something has to be three inches shorter, better to adjust the pattern first and cut it that way than trying to evenly whack the excess off of a largely finished garment.

it will be great to have everything all compiled in one place for consideration when starting a project. (and, of course, i’ll be printing it… :) )

juliana

brilliant!!

knitmo

I am so thrilled to see this come up. I am mostly a self-taught sewist (and relying on semi-sketchy information from my mother) so details on the tricky part to even up a hem is much anticipated from this part of Iowa.

Sylvia

Thank you for all of the very useful tutorials and articles. I will gleefully print this off as a reference. I just bought your book, and read it straight through in two days. :) and, yes I have responsibilities, so I was grabbing every spare moment. Great sewing book! I’ll be recommending it!
Referencing the post above: ( Ramona’s) that’s a new thought for me…why would you add a small flare to a pair if pants to fit in the extra fabric for a hem. I feel dumb- but I’m not getting how that would work.. Thank you!!!!

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Commenter pattisjean explained it below, but this is sometimes called mirroring the hem. Basically, when you fold up the hem at the fold line, you want the angle of the side seams to match the angle of the hem side seams.

This is more useful if your garment has a slight flair or a-line shape. For circle skirts or very full or curved hems, you’ll need other techniques to help ease in extra fullness as well.

patsijean spoonflower.com

Ramona is correct regarding the “flare” at the hem of skirts, pants, shorts, and cuffless sleeves. Assuming one has already adjusted the pattern for length before cutting, as one should when a garment is not absolutely straight, just fold up the pattern at the hemline and trace the angle into the hem.
That said, I love the machine blind hem and have been using it for decades. Lately for casual pants and pj’s I’ve been using a couple rows of topstitching. I need to look at more hem options.

Moira

“How to make sure your hem is even.”

A moment too late but do I need this. My DD asked me to cut off a hi-low dress for her. I now owe her a dress – forget the measure twice cut once.I just cut. What a mess.
Can’t wait to learn some tips and tricks.

Katie

This is super! I’m so looking forward to this!

Gail Phares

Thank you!

Kirsty

Oh my, I couldn’t be more excited :) x

Anne blogspot.co.uk

I’m looking forward to this. Just yesterday I was looking at the hem on a skirt I made for one of my daughters and was appalled that I thought it was okay when I made it. Like Taylor, I’m trying to learn how to do things properly and well.

Christina

Like everyone else, I’m looking forward to this series of tutorials. Shirt hems often give me fits. I believe it was here I learned about a faced hem and was thrilled. Now to learn more is great! Thanks so much!!

Heidi

I Just recently learnt how to do an easy narrow hem from this tutorial, http://foursquarewalls.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/narrow-hem-three-ways.html I use their first method and it works beautifully :)

Kate sewstash.wordpress.com

My go to hems are facing a hem with seam binding or a machine sewn narrow hem. Sewing with a shirt pattern where the placket encased the bottom hem was key for me and I use that technique for all shirts now. I have to admit I sometimes get lazy and hem tops quite sloppily as I always wear them tucked in. I am trying to get rid of this bad habit now.

maddie madalynne.com

You are into freebies lately! Keep em coming!

My favorite hem is an easy hem, and that depends on the garment at hand. I know, I know, that’s a very vague answer, but it’s true!

Patricia

My favorite type of hem for good looks would be done by hand and never a stitch would show on the right side, but my favorite for quickness is simply turned and machine sewn.

Lynda

Thanks heaps for the tutorials, tips and freebies. This is perfect timing for me as I’m working on my first dress for me (I’ve been practicing on cotton dresses for GD 6 1/2yrs), it’s rayon and is slippery, frays like crazy and will need shortening….

Rachel snippetsofsweetness.com

Yay! I could really use this!

francesca

What fun! Thanks in advance, Sarai:)
I practically always do my hems by hand – I just prefer the finish, and enjoy the hand stitching. And I love using lace to finish the top of my hems. Though I sometimes use bias binding, and recently made my second pair of Junipers in black linen. I tried something I had never done before that I remember from daddy’s tailor mades – I sewed widish tape to the inside of the hem all the way round by m achine before I turned it up and hand stitched it – I hate the way linen pants ssquash up at the back or get into your heels and this has worked a treat.

I have never faced a hem, and think there are times it would really help with body – oh wait, I have – the cute scalloped hem skirt from your book….

Lara

This is wonderful! I think you need to do another book, of specialty techniques and finishes. How to information for improving skills, tricky situations and adding extra value…upping the “handmade, not homemade” factor, if you will.

If you do, I have a request, which would be to make sure there is enough contrast between the backround, the sample and the thread being used. I really enjoy my Colette books, but colors that work on the web don’t always translate well to paper. There are a number of photos that are really difficult to see and understand until I can find the right light to view them in. My eyes and I aren’t as young as we used to be! :-)

In the mean time, yay! I love the positive, helpful atmosphere here! There is always something new to learn, new ideas to think about. This is my favorite place to spend time, and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next!

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Thanks for the feedback, Lara. :)

Rebecca Pelletier

The link was not working on my phone but I’m definitely excited about reading your hem guide. Please sign me up!

Kenn kennwilson.com

Hi Rebecca. I’m sure we can figure this out. Could I trouble you to email us with a brief description of what happens when you click the link, and also the type of phone you’re using?

Natalie threadsandbobbins.wordpress.com

This will be very useful! I am looking forward to the machine rolled hem :-)

Rebecca

How about when it’s okay to not hem?My last three projects I have done no hemming.

I made the Myrtle dress in an ITY knit and meant to coverstitch a hem, but the bottom is even and the fabric is well behaved, so I just left it – it has washed and dried with no curling.

The second project was a neoprene tennis dress. This fabric is awesome to sew with but will not take any crease at all, so I led t the edge raw because it looks good as is and I don’t want a bubbled hem.

And last, I am making a denim skirt that uses the selvedge edge as the hem.

Roni Arbel blogspot.com

This is just what I need right now! I have trouble with curved hems and also how to decide which hem to choose to which project/ fabric.

my go-to with wovens is to surge, fold twice and stitch. Narrow and neat.

Alice Elliot

These days, most of my hems are 5/8″ narrow hems. Or on some knit T-shirts I even leave the hems raw. I love hand hems, but usually only do them when hemming woolen pants or skirts. The tips in Heidi’s comment in foursquarewalls blog spot are really useful too!

Molly mygrandmotherlegacy.wordpress.com

This is great. Thanks so much. I have not had too much trouble with hems, but circle skirts or working ease into a hem is tricky for me. I do love the blind hem stitch (and foot). My seams lay much flatter and the garment looks great. My grandmother did many of hers by hand and that’s how I used to do them until I discovered that great foot.

Annette

I am so excited for this!

Rita margeeslim.blogspot.com

What a great theme! I would love to hear how to hem eyelet, especially one with large holes. I have a piece that I’ve been waiting to sewing into a Laurel, but I am not sure how to hem it.

jen k instagram.com

I made a dress out of medium weight linen once. It had nice drape but I was concerned about the bulkiness of the hem using the standard turned up method. So I made some bias tape out of the same fabric and used that for the hem. It turned out great. I don’t know what this time of hem is called or when it’s officially called for but it worked in my situation and gave the hem a nice, finished look.

jen k instagram.com

* type, not time. Oops

Birgit pumpsandneedles.blogspot.com

Oh, this is amazing! Thank you guys! This is something I sometimes still struggle with, so this will be super useful!

Laura

I am so excited about this.. I have recently started using rolled hems and I love the neat results but more information about alternatives would be great as it moves to autumn and winter. Can’t imagine trying rolled hems on thicker fabrics.

Kriss

Thank you for all your great info!! Even if I have sewn forever, there is always more to learn and practice. I have found your Guide to Sewing Knits book and online instructions
to be so helpful. Updated and clear instructions! Nice!

Becky Ware

Have you ever sewn a weighted hem? Princess Diana learned the hard way, that Queen Elizabeth’s dressmaker adds weights to the hems of the Queen’s dresses & skirts, particularly full skirts, or if a lightweight fabric is used, to avoid the embarrassment of a gust of wind turning her skirt into Marilyn Monroe standing on an air vent scenario! You can be creative in what you choose to use for the weights, from curtain weights, to chain weights sewn inside the hem, for a very modern take, you could even use one side tape of a metal zipper, if you can find it by the yard!

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