I used to dread hemming somewhat and would sometimes put it off until another day. When I had to fold and press a hem on a woven top I usually wished I had an extra set of arms. I am not so good at measuring a specific hem depth, keeping it folded down at the right measurement and pressing a fold using my iron all at the same time.
That’s something of the past though. When I discovered the thread guide method, life suddenly got a whole lot easier and I no longer wait before I do the hem on a garment. I took some quick pictures when I made my latest Belcarra blouse to show you how this super simple trick works.
Basically you use a temporary line of stitches as a guide for folding your hem.
You will need:
- A garment made from a woven fabric that needs hemming
- Seam ripper
Step1: Set your sewing machine to a much longer stitch length, I put it on 5, which is the maximum on my machine. The longer stitch length will make it easier to remove your thread guide afterwards.
Step 2: Stitch all around the garment at the hem allowance distance from the raw edge. The hem allowance on my top was 1.5’’, so I sewed my line of stitches 1.5’’ from the edge. You can use one of the markings on the plate of your sewing machine as a guide, or, if you don’t have a marking at the right distance, put a sticky note or a piece of tape on the plate to use as a guide.
Step 3: Put the stitch length on your sewing machine back to normal so you don’t accidently end up stitching your hem with a ridiculously long stitch. This may have happened to me more than once which is why I try to remember to put it back to normal immediately.
Step 4: Take your garment to the ironing board and fold the hem to the inside using the stitched line as your guide. The stitches should fall just to the inside of the garment. You’ll find that the stitched line not only saves you from having to measure while you’re using your iron, it also helps the fabric fold more naturally at that position.
Step 5: I like a double folded hem with a completely enclosed raw edge so I fold the fabric a second time, this made the hem depth on my top ¾’’ (half of my 1.5’’ hem allowance). Alternatively, if you don’t mind a single folded hem, you could finish the raw edge with a zig zag or overlock stitch and skip this second fold, that way you end up with a deeper hem.
Step 6: Stitch your hem, make sure to catch the edge of the folded up hem allowance. I like to sew with the right side of the garment facing up, but if you’re anxious about not catching the hem you can also sew with the inside of the garment facing up.
Step 7: To remove the thread guide, unpick some stitches and then it should be really easy to pull the thread out.
Step 8: Give your hem a final press and wear your garment with pride!
This trick is especially great if you want to make a narrow hem (e.g. ½’’ inch hem allowance, ¼’’ hem), that has a bit of a curve to it like on a classic tailored shirt.
Were you already familiar with this method? Or is this something you’d like to give a try on your next garment?