Hey y’all – today I’ve got a post for how to hem just about anything, using different techniques depending on your fabric and what you’re hemming.
Double Fold Hem
The first (and usually easiest) method of hemming that we usually learn is the double fold hem. This is just like it sounds – you fold the raw edge to the wrong side, then fold it again, so that the raw edge is encased. Then you stitch close to the folded edge.
Advantages: Usually fast and easy to do, works on most fabrics, very durable.
Disadvantages: Hem is very visible, can be hard to do on curves, can add unwanted stiffness/body to very lightweight fabrics
When to use this: Children’s daily wear, most adult casual clothing, anywhere you need a durable hem or a quick hem and don’t mind it being visible
Advantages: gives a beautiful and almost invisible finish
Disadvantages: Not as durable (snag a toe in your hem and you can pull the whole thing out), more time consuming than other hem methods.
When to use: Formal and business attire, fine fabrics that you don’t want to mar with a visible hem
In a rolled hem, you are using your sewing machine or serger to wrap thread around the raw edge of the fabric. To see how to use different machines to do rolled hems, see this post.
Advantages: usually quick to sew, can add a decorative touch, good for narrow hems on lightweight fabrics, works well on curves
Disadvantages: does not work with very fray prone fabric or loosely woven fabric (the hem can pull right off), visible, setup can be complicated, depending on your machine, not suitable for knits unless you want a lettuce edge, as this hem is extremely hard to do without stretching a knit.
When to use: on lightweight fabrics with a tight enough weave to hold the hem along the edge, to add a decorative touch to a project, on curved hems where a visible hem is appropriate
A decorative hem is a variation of a rolled hem – it uses a decorative stitch on your machine to create a scalloped or shaped edge. See this post to see one kind of decorative hem on lace (you’ll need to scroll about halfway down the post).
Advantages: beautiful, can work well on otherwise hard to hem fabrics like lace, tulle and netting
Disadvantages: visible, not as durable, will not work well with heavy weight fabrics, requires decorative stitches on your machine
When to use: on light to medium weight formal fabrics where a decorative edge is desired.
Twin needle hems are useful for knits, as they have built in stretch. However, do them wrong and you can be frustrated with unraveling hems. To find out the right way to do twin needle hems, see this post.
Advantages: Looks a lot like store bought hems from the right side but doesn’t require a special machine (store bought hems on knit garments are usually done with a coverstitch machine), has built in stretch
Disadvantages: requires a special needle, can come undone easily if not sewn properly
When to use: on knit garments where a zig-zag double fold hem isn’t desired
Bias Tape Hem
This type of hem takes advantage of single fold bias tape. It can be finished either by topstitching or by blind hemming. See how to make a bias tape hem in this post.
Advantages: durable, takes very little fabric (useful for lengthening pants or skirts and trying to keep as much length as possible), works well on curves
Disadvantages – you need bias tape, can add bulk/weight to lightweight fabric, not suitable for knit fabrics (adding bias tape removes the stretch from knits)
When to use: on curved hems when a double fold or rolled hem won’t work, when you have very little fabric to work with for hemming.
Get access to my free pattern gallery - sign up for my newsletter!