I need Hemming Hints

sherrmannMay 16, 2007

I am a very capable sewer, but I hate hemming almost everything. Full skirts are the worst! I just made an adorable flippy skirt for my dtr and struggled through the hems on both the fashion fabric (cotton lawn), and the lining. How do you get the fullness to work in without wrinkles? For the lining, I folded and pressed 5/8, then folded and pressed 5/8 again to achieve a narrow, machine-stitched hem. For the cotton, I first serged the bottom edge, then pressed 5/8 along the stitching line, then folded and pressed 5/8 again. That was a little better than just folding, but I still struggled with the fullness. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks. Sherry

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I think that 5/8" is too wide for the hem on a very full skirt, more like a quarter inch would help to be free of wrinkles. Colleen

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 7:42AM
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Thanks, Colleen. Maybe that's it. I'm starting another one in a few days. Do you think the 1/4 inch narrow hem foot would look OK? The fabric is very light.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 10:49AM
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I think the narrow hem would look very nice on light fabric. Colleen

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 12:39PM
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Serge the edge and then fold in 1/4 " press then machine sew the hem.This is how it's done on ready mades.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2007 at 12:58PM
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I agree, a 1/4 hem allowance is the best choice.
Another suggestion I would like to add is using school glue on the hem in place of pins. I have found that pins can cause puckering on the scant hem..and using enough to keep the hem in place is like trying to sew a barbed wire fence. The school glue washes out when the piece is laundered.

How to use school glue for hemming: First,it must be labeled SCHOOL glue, because it is washable. I fold and press my hem (first go around in a 1/4 fold, then fold again 1/4 inch all the way around.) When ready, pour some of the school glue into a custard cup or cup that is shallow. At the ironing board, arrange your item with the hem side up. Using a toothpick, put a SMALL amount of glue along the hemline (but not on the edge to be sewn) I usually put some in the center of the hem or close to the bottom edge fold. Then, iron over the section glued a few seconds. Voila! the hem is held in place. Keep moving along using very small amounts of the glue, and ironing the glue. When you are done going around the piece, you can then go back and sew along your edge, close to the open fold. For me, this takes less time than pinning, and less time removing pins as I sew.

I would suggest that if you want to try this, try it on a scrap of fabric first, to see if it is a good technique for you. What works for one, doesn't always work for another.

Good luck..would love to see a picture of your skirt!

    Bookmark   May 18, 2007 at 9:48PM
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I would also consider stay-stitching first before turning up hem so that it doesn't stretch out of shape while sewing.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 2:56AM
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Back in 1970 Home Ec class, we were taught to hem a skirt by running a basting stitch along the edge of the fabric (right under the lace hem tape) and pull it to ease in the fullness until it laid flat against the body of the skirt. I recall it took a long time to get it right using this technique.

My mother looked at me like I had 3 heads when I explained this to her. She said why don't you just run a tight zigzag along the edge, pin up at short intervals and press the hem flat that way? Both methods required hand hemming.

I try and make the smallest hem possible for the application. A business skirt, for example, needs a 2 inch hem. But a casual or floor-length dress can get away with a hankerchief or rolled hem.

Press to the length first, then trim your fabric. Then it's a matter of finger pressing and holding steady while you sew as close to the fold as you can. I like the stay-stitching idea to prevent distortion, I have to try it.

When I was in nursing school I used masking tape to temporarily hold up a fallen hem on a uniform. I never fixed it and don't you know that tape made it through repeated washings until I graduated and burned the thing!

    Bookmark   May 20, 2007 at 5:45AM
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Thank you, Everyone. I made the second skirt with a scant 1/4 inch hem and it's much better than the first one. I'm saving all the other hints because they all seem so practical - and seem like things I should already know! As I said originally, I always hate hemming of all sorts, but perhaps I'll be able to apply your hints and become a whiz. My mother was a superb seamstress and her hems were beautiful and invisible, but she always said she didn't like doing it.

As for a picture of the skirts, HAH! I can take digital pictures and get them into the computer, but I can't get them OUT of the computer and online. My daughter has a degree in Film and is a techno wizard, and even she can't get the pics out of my computer. It's an old Mac, so it serves me right, I guess. I'm still working on it, though. Thanks again. Sherry

    Bookmark   May 21, 2007 at 10:09PM
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I, too, have sewed for many years and I just figured out how to blind hem.. YIPPEE!!!!!

Sherrmann, I am certaintly not a computer whiz or a digital camera whiz but I have found a new picture site that is so easy.. It is Picasa2 and it is super simple. I don't think you can use it to post pictures here but it is super simple to email pictures.. Try it out.. i had always used Kodak and had problems with it. Not this one.. Hope it works for you..

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 10:07PM
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