Colette

Tutorial: How to sew a blind hem

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Blind hems are fantastic. Using an ingenious method of folding and stitching, you can create a machine stitched hem that is nearly invisible from the outside. It’s a fantastic way to create a deep hem on a skirt, unlined jacket, or pants.

I used to find them to be a bit of a pain, but honestly my Bernina and it’s wonderful blind hem presser foot have banished all my frustrations. If you have trouble with your hems, you might consider trying another foot, if your machine accepts them. It could make all the difference.

Also, make sure you have enough seam allowance for a fairly deep hem. I like to make mine at least 1 1/2 to 2 inches. Add an extra inch to that. So if you had a skirt that you wanted to be 25″ long with a 2 inch hem, you’d make sure the skirt was at least 28″ long before hemming.

Ok, let’s get started!

Tools needed:

  • Marking pen, pencil, or chalk
  • Ruler
  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Blind hem presser foot

1) First, figure out exactly where you want your hem to fall, and mark that line in water soluble pen, pencil, or chalk on the right side of the garment. That would be the middle line here, shown in yellow.

2) Mark two more lines, one above and below your hem line. They should be of equal distance to the hemline, however deep you want your hem to be. So for a 2″ hem, you’d draw a line 2 inches above (the white line) and a line 2 inches below (the pink line).

3) If necessary, trim the raw edge of the hem so it is only about 1 inch below the bottom (pink) line.

4) Turn the raw edge under and press. The fold should be 1/2 inch from the bottom (pink) line. Basically, you’re folding it in half so that the raw edge on the inside hits right at the pink line.

Here’s how it will look after you press it.

5) Now, pinch along the middle (yellow) line to fold.

6) Fold along this line, matching up the top (white) line with the bottom (pink) line as you fold.

7) Pin the fold in place. Here you can see that the middle (yellow) line is now at the bottom of the hem.

8) Fold again. Fold upward along the top (white) line this time.

9) Pin in place again. You can just remove the existing pins and repin at this point.

Here’s how it will look on the inside.

10) Lightly press the folds. Once you’ve pressed them in place, you can remove the pins if you like.

11) Again, here’s how it will look once pressed.

12) Put the blind hem presser foot on your sewing machine. This is what the foot looks like.

13) Set your machine to the blind hem stitch. You can see what it looks like here. You can set the stitch width wider or shorter depending on how wide you want it, but mine was set to 3.5 here.

14) With the wrong side up, lower the presser foot onto the hem. The vertical plate should sit right along the fold. As the machine stitches, it will stitch across that plate every few stitches, taking a tiny bite out of the fold. Stitch slowly, making sure to keep the fold right up against the plate.

Here’s how it will look once it’s stitched!

15) Look at the stitches carefully at this point. Occasionally, your machine may have missed the fold while stitching. You may need to go back and restitch over parts if this happens. This is the part that used to frustrate me, but with a higher quality foot, this never seems to happen anymore.

16) Remove the pins if you haven’t already and let the hem come down.

17) Finally, give the hem a press. You’ll often get a little crease where the hem was previously pressed. Use a little spray of water to help remove the crease as you press. If it’s still there after pressing, don’t worry too much. It will probably come out with washing.

And that’s it! A lovely blind hem, all done by machine. Does this make sense to you?

Sarai Mitnick   —   Founder

Sarai started Colette back in 2009. She believes the primary role of a business should be to help people. Her roles include communication, strategy, and creative direction. She also edits Seamwork magazine. She often thinks and writes about the way sewing impacts our lives – through body image, identity, and social awareness.

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Comments 69

Maddie Flanigan madalynne.com

This definitely makes sense! All your pictures and directions are super clear.

I am old school in that I blind stitch by hand. It’s cathartic to me; I like the process. I’m sure there will be a time when I’m in a rush and want to do a blind stitch by hand. I’ll keep this tutorial in mind for when that happens. I wonder if industrial machines have blind stitch feet (I have a Juki)?

Tina

Thank you! Finally i know what is this for!! :)

johanna projectsbyme.blogspot.se

What a great tutorial!

I recently made the Meringue skirt where you recommend doing a blind hem to attach the hem lining, but I just couldn’t face figuring it out and resorted to fusible hem tape (which worked fine, but it sure felt like cheating). But now I know how to do the blind hem on my next Meringue. Thanks!

Evelyn

It’s really important to have your tension just right for blind hems. If it’s off, you won’t get such great results. (I’ve learned…)

colleen

This is perfect and incredibly timely. I need to make a blind hem tonight on my beignet and though I have the foot I’ve never used it before and found the prospect daunting. Thanks!!!

Nina toftsnummulite.blogspot.com

I have some linen trousers that need adjusting and I noticed someone else’s the other day with a blind hem – they looked so smart! So I might try it. But I’m going to stitch by hand on my boyfriend’s fancy suit trousers that he just got in the sale, because I feel like I need more control to make sure I don’t mess those up…

Anna (sixtyfourcolorbox) 64colorbox.com

I have been wondering how exactly to do a blind hem stitch. Thank you for giving such a detailed explanation. Now I can fix all my store bought dress pants that have come un-hemmed.

liza jane lizajanesews.blogspot.com

Is it totally necessary to have a blind hem foot? I have a blind hem stitch on my machine but I am pretty sure I don’t have a special foot. Just curious.

Sarai colettepatterns.com

I haven’t tried it without a foot. It’s really important to maintain an accurate distance, so that the tip of the ztitch just barely bites into the fold. You might be able to use another foot if you go slowly and have very good hand eye coordintation, but I can’t say for sure.

Perhaps another reader could chime in if they’ve had luck!

Donna

I use my zigzag foot for blind hem stitch on my machine (a Brother). It’s been a while (just use straight stitch lately!), but I think I lined up the crease with the centerline on the foot (like you would to stitch in the ditch). I remember I had to experiment with stitch width a bit, but the results were surprisingly good.

daiyami twitter.com

I have done a blind him with my walking foot just fine, but the walking foot also has a lot of pieces that I could use to line up the edges.

justine sewcountrychick.com

Thanks so much for another well written tutorial. You are tackling all the techniques that I have been avoiding for years , blind hems and invisible zippers!

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Awesome! We’re working on a short video for invisible zips too.

Jessi practicallyfunctional.net

Thank you so much for this tutorial! It definitely makes sense; your directions were clear and the pictures helped a ton. I’m so glad I know you can do this now! And I might even have a blind hem foot for my machine…gotta go dig through the extras later tonight. I pinned this so I can find it again later :-)

How-To: Machine Sew a Blind Hem @Craftzine.com blog

[…] a blind hem, but love the look? Head over to The Coletterie where Sarai will teach you how to sew a blind hem using your sewing machine and blind hem foot! Blind hems are fantastic. Using an ingenious method of folding and stitching, you can create a […]

Graca sewessentiallysew.blogspot.ca

Thank you for this tutorial! I have a blind hem foot and I did try to use it once without perfect sucess, but I’m going to give it another try with these instructions!

Patricia Austin

This is EXTREMELY helpful. I have often wondered how to do this and the instructions that that came with my machine didn’t make sense to me. I am definitely going to give this a try. The pictures are awesome! Thank you!

Debi fashionsfromthepast.blogspot.com

I’ll have to get one of those feet…I do it all by hand!

Juliet crazygypsychronicles.blogspot.com

I hate my blindstitch foot. No matter how hard I try I end up with very visible stitches. It’s stressful as I’m aiming to sew a silk skirt and the hemming issue is going to be an issue. Perhaps I’ll have to practice on my machine even more, or just attempt to do it by hand.

Laura

Try using a shorter stitch length, with a wider stitch width. That way when it zigs the stitch will go long enough sideways and grab your fabric, but will not be such a big zig (!) as to show on the other side.
My Singer (about 15 yrs. old) manual recommends a medium to wide stitch width, and a 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 stitch length. I wrote as a note to myself – use length 2. It seems to work best for me and my machine. (This one anyway – I have three. Haven’t tried the others.)
Also, it is in how well you fold your fabric, and that you should slow slowly and watch each stitch. Once I learned how to do the blind hem stitch, I use it often (for the appropriate hem application.) And now they are easy to do.

Laura

Also, I find that it seems to work best, for my machine anyway, if I move the needle to the left position. I’m not sure why, but it does.
Sew slowly and watch each stitch, so you can see that the needle will zig to the correct amount. Use good lighting. That way you can control your stitches as they are being stitched.

Laura

Oh, and depending upon your fabric and the style of your skirt, a blind hem may or may not be the right hem to use. For a lightweight silk fabric, probably not. For a dupioni silk, probably yes. Try on scraps.
However, a deep hem (even a 1 inch hem) might not be what you want, depending on the type of skirt. Don’t try a blind hem on an A-line skirt or one where you have to ease in any fullness in the hem. In my experience, blind hems are good on straight things, where the hem is turned up and the fabric lays flat as it is the same shape and width.

Also, hem styles have different purposes. Some small and light weight to not weight down the garment-very feminine, good on longer skirts. Some deeper and heavier so as to weight down the garment, where you don’t want it flying up – more tailored, good with a shorter skirt. So it depends on your garment, as well as the fabrics. There are also to consider, the Narrow hem; the turn up 1/2 inch and another 1/2 inch machine stitched hem; the rolled hem, etc. A good sewing book will have the different types of hems.
Good luck!

ellen

I feel the same as Juliet. I try and try and all i get is really long, visible stitches and/or the stitches dont have enough ‘give’ to allow the dress or skirt bottom to sit flat and it ends up with a visible fold. I cant seem to figure out where I am going wrong. I think the zig zag catch stitch is catching too much of the fold but I am trying to make sure I have caught every stitch i guess. I’d love to master this foot/fold technique as I end up hand sewing everything which i hate doing. I’m up to the bottom hem of a top this weekend, maybe I’ll give it another go

Laura

Read my posts to Juliet about stitch length and width. (And also styles of garments and appropriate hems, and types of fabrics.)
I used to try and try until I actually read the instructions in my manual (and then tried the settings they recommended. It worked. You want a shorter length and a wider width. At least that is what works on my mahine (one of them , a 15 year old Singer. I haven’t tried blind hems on my other machines – a 2 year old Singer, and a 40 to 50 year old Kenmore.)
Also, I found that if I move my needle to the left position, it seems to work best.( If you have that option. ) I think it gives the foot better control, but I am not really sure why. (Different machines can behave differently.)
The other thing is to sew slowly, so you can manipulate the bite of the zig to be small. Use good lighting and watch each stitch. You can’t just run it thru (at least I can’t.) That being said – it is still faster, easier and neater than hand stitching (at least for me – I dislike hand stitching and will figure out how to machine stitch something as often as possible.) Good luck!

Angelina

This method sounds great – can’t wait to try it. My machine’s instructions for a blind hem had me machine basting instead of marking/pressing and that was a huge pain. I’m so glad you posted this :)

Amanda bimbleandpimble.blogspot.com

Gah- blind hems! A sewist at my local Janome store showed me how to do this and it all looked so easy. when I tried it at home it was a bit of a hot mess. Appears I may have forgotten a couple of steps so that could explain things… Thank you for this tutorial!

Liz busylizzieinbrizzy.blogspot.com.au

I use this method all the time – it is fantastic – I often just serge and then fold in once and run the blind stitch through (rather than the extra fold). It is a really nice finish although sometimes you have to play with the stitch width to ensure the fabirc being caught in isn’t too big and shows as big stitches on the right side of the fabric. I find the lighter the fabric the narrower the stitch width..

Ginger

Love your shoes in the top photo.

Leisl jorth.blogspot.com

Brilliant tutorial – I’ll be using this for my next pair of pants/skirt/shorts – heck, pretty much anything that needs a hem. Thanks!

Erika swinginvintage.blogspot.com

Thank you a million times!!! My vintage Bernina does have the stitch and the foot, but I could never make any sense out of the instructions. Now I’ll have to give it a go! Even though I love handstitching there has been times when I’ve longed for the speed of a machinestitched blind hem.

Melissa scavengerhunttheblog.blogspot.com

Wow, thanks! This is definitely something I had always figured was too complicated to bother trying, but your tutorial made it really clear and it doesn’t seem too difficult after all. I’ll have to try this on my next project. Thanks for your great and always informative blog!

ClearwaterPatsy

My blind hem foot doesn’t look anything like yours. So I think your comment about maybe needing a new foot, if I can find one to fit my machine, might make all the difference in the world! My machine blind hems take too much of the folded fabric and don’t look good. So I never use the machine one. Now I’ll look for a better foot!

Sandy Corey

Thank you for this great tutorial. I bought my Bernina 440 a few years ago and took classes where they taught this, but over the years I had forgotten how to do the technique. Thanks to you, I am ready to blind hem all of the little dresses that I am making to send to Africa.
I love your site. Keep up the great work, how did we ever make it without computers and all the information they provide.???

Sarai colettepatterns.com

I often wonder the same thing, Sandy. :)

Rosalind rosalindgracedesigns.blogspot.com

Finally a tutorial on blind hemming that makes sense and shows all the steps! thanks

Claire Jain sewingoverpins.com

Great tutorial! I need to pull some things out of the mending pile and give this a go!

Wanett sownbrooklyn.com

Sending you a BIG, GIANT, internet SMOOCH for this tutorial!! It makes PERFECT sense!!

Cherie Avery letsbefive.blogspot.com

I finally get it!! Thank you! No more awful hand stitching.

Melissa forgottenskills.wordpress.com

I have a pair of linen Banana Republic pants where one of the legs’ hems fell out. I went to fix it today and noticed the other leg had no stitch marks, and was SO confused on how it was hemmed!

Now I just need to find a blind foot…I only have a basic with my Brother.

Sarah Sic

Thank you so much for this tutorial!

Stephanie

I second the shoe love. What type are they?

Sarai colettepatterns.com

I should do an FAQ on my shoes! Those are Kork-ease, some of my favorite and most comfy shoes.

Malika

I’ve had a Bernina for 45-50 years… [two different machines] Non digital.. This process is one of the best things about the Bernina design!!! I love this machine.. I havent done a hand stictched hem in half a century

Linette

What a great super fabulous wonderful tutorial for blind hem. Thank you!

Rosewood

I have been doing blind hems for years but never thought to do it this way. Measureing and doing the lines is a great way to make sure the hem falls right,
Thanks for showing me the way……

Rhonda

I am visual learner, books just don’t always cut it for me! Your web site is awesome!

LLBB

gawd, I was so confused at first!! I was using stitch #4 which 0n my machine is like an overlock stitch, instead of the correct # 6!! doh. they look so similar! at least I know now :) I am always so happy to learn how to do more of the things my amazing bernina is capable of — thanks!!

Anthony

Loved this tute and thank you for the exceptionally patient photography. The three-lines technique was a wonderful light-bulb moment. Tried it out and it makes it so much more precise and less stressful. Looking forward to receiving your book and learning more.

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[…] this photo you can just see my hems. I used Sarai from Coletterie’s tutorial for blind hems, and got the best result I have achieved to date. I can thoroughly recommend […]

Carolyn

Thank you, thank you, thank you! I have tried so many times to do a blind hem and always failed. I followed your instructions with my janome machine using the zigzag foot and the result is great. A brilliant tutorial – well done!

jim mor

somewhere between step 10 & 14 you turned the garment inside out, right ?

Sarai colettepatterns.com

Yes, it’s stitched from the wrong side.

Brian Pooley

At 65 I decided to learn to sew over the winter months as golf is out of the question. After looking on the web to learn this stitch I finally came across this one. What a perfect tutorial on how to get exact length along with the folding of material and lastly the actual sewing. I can now practice with confidence where as before Iwould be guessing the final length. Thank you!

Diane

Love your site. I have been sewing for over 40 years,so it’s refreshing to see people are still doing their own clothes. I just googled to find a better way to do a blind hem and that is how I found your site. Thank you for the tips.

Amy

I have a question… on the last few steps it looks like the pants are inside out. Did I miss a step? Amy

Sarai colettepatterns.com

You just need to sew from the wrong side. I’ll make that clear in the instructions. :)

Heidi

Thanks so much for this! I always have trouble with blind hems this really helped sooooo much! :o)

Shannon

This is so easy to understand! I am so glad I found your page. I have a pair of work pants with a fallen hem that I’ve been wishing I could fix for months! I will go try this today now that I have seen your helpful tutorial. Thank you so much!

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[…] the to blade along the upper fold (for more details, check out this awesome sewing tutorial from Coletterie). The little extra time it takes to do this instead of a normal stitch is absolutely worth it as […]

tinab

How do you do this if the “blind hem stitch” points to the right instead of left? Do you start the folds on the right side of the fabric instead of wrong side?

Pırpır pirpir.tumblr.com

Thank you for this tutorial! It was really helpful!

Kathryn

What a great tutorial. I know I can do blind hemming on my machine but it always seemed a lot of hassle so I haven’t bothered. Will definitely try it now as my sister wants me to make her some curtains with deadline!

tini biohuertoescolar.blogspot.com

Thank you very much, I have that foot in my machine (that I bought 4 years ago) and always wondered what it was for. Now I will use it. Very nice tutorial, very clear, I feel confident now.

Melanie

You saved me the humiliation of defeat! I decided to put my sewing machine to work and “figure out” how to do a blind hem. I was ready to give up when I found your site. My machines manual made no sense, online videos were tough to follow, but your site was a breeze! I have two pairs of beautifully hemmed slacks, and the knowledge to do it again. Never again will I pay a tailor for hemming. I was so close to doing just that when you saved the day. Perfect!

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[…] The pants were a little long, so I hemmed them with a blind stitch. If you ever need to hem dress pants and keep the seam hidden, these are two great tutorials about sewing “blind hems” from Buzzy Bee’s World and Coletterie. […]

SewIt

The folding confuses me? Are you folding like a fan???

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[…] I have done skirts with just a regular stitched hem, hand-hemmed or you can do a blind-stitch hem (like I did on this skirt that I will show you on Friday).  If you need a tutorial for a blind-stitch hem go here. […]

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[…] error and attached it. I used the blind hem function on my sewing machine and a great tutorial from Coletterie Finally I finshed my pants… and it is not love at first sight, I do kind of like them. I am […]

Bonnie

Excellent Tutorial; At the last you talk about ironing out the crease…. Use a fine spray of vinegar from a spray bottle. Crease will be gone after you press it. The corollary to that is, if you need a really sharp crease, Spray it the same way, line up your crease and press. Let it cool on your board before moving the creased fabric.

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