How to Sew a Hem with a Sewing Machine - a tutorial by The Sewing Korner

Hems are a great way to finish garments and household items. Learning to make hems can be a very rewarding process, but it can take a bit of practice. 

Learning how to sew a hem with a sewing machine and sewing a hem by hand and are two entirely different things. 

Different types of hems you can sew:
  • Zig zag / overlocked hems
  • Bias tape hems
  • Narrow rolled hems
  • Double fold hems
  • Blind hems
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    The Best Tips on How to Sew a Hem with a Sewing Machine

    Even if you have some experience sewing a hem by hand, it’s not a bad idea to learn how to do it mechanically. Doing it by hand requires more equipment and takes more time; using a machine allows you to produce hems very quickly.

    This is why it’s a good idea to follow some tips on how to sew a hem with a sewing machine.

    Stitching with a machine is generally a bit faster, and it’s easier to make your end result look professional depending on the type of fabric that you’re using.

    Each one will require different techniques. In this article, we’re going to explain how you can sell some of the most common types of hems with your machine.

    Tips on Making a Zig Zag / Overlocked Hem

    One of the best ways to make a zig zag / overlocked hem is by using both a serger and a regular sewing machine. These hems look very professional, and it’s quite common to see them on expensive clothes purchased from stores.

    These hems work well with many different types of fabrics and is actually a great option for fabrics that are generally a bit more difficult to work with – especially thick or heavy ones.

    • Zig-zag the raw edge, pressing it up according to the desired allowance.
    • Stitch along the top part of the finished edge.

    This is a simple hem that doesn’t take long to make.

    Tips on Making a Bias Tape Hem

    This is another option that works quite well with thicker fabrics. If you’re working with a material that is larger than average, your best bet might be to make a bias tape or zig zag hem.

    The most frequently used bias tape hem uses a half-inch single-fold bias. If you are savvy, you can make your own bias, otherwise you can get your own in a shop.

    • First, open up one side of the bias tape. Pin this to the right-hand side of the garment you’re working on, keeping the right sides together.
    • Next, stitch the crease. This will be 1/4 of an inch from the raw edge.
    • Lastly, press the bias onto the wrong side, putting the seam to the edge of your garment. Now, stitch the top edge of the bias to the inside of the garment.

    Tips on Making a Narrow Rolled Hem

    Narrow rolled hems are fantastic when you’re using light fabrics, and they look especially excellent when they’re used on blouses. Narrow rolled hems are also good if you’re planning to hem a curved edge.

    The narrow rolled hem is generally a bit trickier to get the hang of, but once you learn the technique, you’ll be able to make hems really quickly. You’ll also be able to work effectively with very thin, delicate fabrics which can otherwise be problematic to work with.

    • First, with an iron press up the raw edge by 1/8-1/4 inch – generally, you want to turn it up as little as possible. Make sure that you’re careful during this step, as it’s tricky to turn such a small amount and the iron edge can also risk burning your fingers.
    • Press it up again, as little as possible, then stitch close to the top edge.

    Narrow hems are great for hemming flared garments, as thick or wide hems can interfere with the flare.

    Tips on Making a Double Folded Hem

    shutterstock_325969742 950 x 540 How to Sew a Hem with a Sewing Machine

    The double-folded hem is quite similar to the narrow rolled hem, although the end result generally isn’t as narrow. Double folded hems are very versatile and can be used for hemming all manner of different clothing items, ranging ranging from jeans and shirts to dresses. 

    • Fold the raw edge over by just 1/4 inch.
    • Fold the hem over again, this time by either 1/3 of an inch or 3/4 of an inch.
    • Check the bobbin tension in your sewing machine. If everything’s good to go, stitch near the open folded edge.

    Tips on Making a Blind Hem

    If you’re going to be making a blind hem, you want to make sure that it’s not too deep. Deeper hems should be sewn by hand. 

    These hems are often used on the bottom of skirts. 

    If you want, feel free to use a bind hem foot – some say that it’s necessary if you’re going to be sewing a blind hem or any hem that’s deeper than a narrow hem. The blind hemming foot will make less of an obvious stitching line.

    A blind hemming foot will make the process significantly easier and can often be found for around ten dollars.

    • First, finish the raw edge of the fabric. Press up the allowance of your hem, making sure that it’s not too deep.
    • If you’re using a blind hem foot, put the fabric underneath your foot. Rest the folded edge against the inside part of the right side of your foot.
    • Choose the blind hem stitch on your machine. Begin stitching, ensuring to keep the fold in alignment with the inside part of your foot.

    Video: How to Hand Sew: Slip Stitch & Blind Hem

    In Summary

    Learning to sew a hem can take a bit of practice, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you have followed these tips on how to sew a hem with a sewing machine, you should have no problem producing professional-quality hems in no time.

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