How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem

Learn how to hem with these seven different ways to hem. Each has a different function for different fabrics and applications!

There are many different ways to hem fabric, and I'm going to show you seven different ways to sew a hem. Some hems are easier to sew and others look really professional. Some hems work best with curves or straight edges.

If you're learning to sew, you can start with Sewing 101 for Beginners!

The hems I'm going to talk about today work best with woven fabric, but I have tutorials for other types of hems. Learn to:

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

What is a hem?

A hem is when the edge of the fabric has been turned over and sewn. It can be turned over once or twice. A hem can also be used when fabric is sewn to the edge of the fabric to finish and close the edge.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Why hem fabric?

You need to hem it so the fabric doesn't fray or fray. A hem can create body and shape, or a hem can reduce wrinkles.

There are many different ways to hem, and you can hem it by machine or by hand. You can sew a hem to add to the style of the garment or add a blind hem to blend in with the fabric. Learn about all the basic sewing stitches you need to sew clothes.

How to hem

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Sewing tools for hemming

There are many sewing tools you can use to hem. I'm going to talk about four of them because they are the most common.

Mesureing tape*: This is a basic tool that should be in every sewing room. I love wearing one around my neck while I work so I always have a measuring tool close at hand. It's a little slower to work with, but it's a common sewing tool.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Sewing gauge*: This is another basic tool often found in a sewing room. I love moving the slider up and down to whatever measurement I'm working with.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Measuring gauge*: This is a quilter's tool, but if you make many different hem measurements, it's a handy little tool to have in your sewing room.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Hem Gauge*: A large tool that allows you to hem clothes quickly and easily. It has many different measurements and can even help you with hem curves!

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Double-fold hem

The most basic hem is the double-fold hem. This is exactly what it's called: folding the edge in half, then sewing it in place. The extra fabric inside helps a little to make the hem stiff and neat.

Double-fold hems are the most common in sewing and are often recommended by sewing patterns. They can be very narrow like a rolled hem or reach about an inch wide.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Wide hem

A wide hem is very wide or deep compared to the double fold hem. It is usually wider than an inch and can grow up to three or four inches. This is ideal for thicker fabrics because there is less bulk inside, but it requires a lot of fabric.

A wide hem does not have fabric entirely inside. You fold the edge 1/4 inch, then fold it again with the wide measurement. This gives a very classic and high-end look.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Invisible hem with a sewing machine

You can sew a blind hem on your sewing machine, but you need a blind hem sewing machine foot. It's a special foot with a little barrier to help guide your stitches. The needle on your sewing machine sews a few stitches on the hem allowance and moves to make a stitch in the main fabric.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

An invisible hem looks very beautiful and is often visible on dresses, skirts and dress pants. Machine blind hemming is not as invisible as hand sewing a blind hem, but it is much faster. You need a double folded hem to be able to make a blind hem stitch.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Double bias hem

As long as you have double fold bias binding or know how to make it, you can make this hem. You don't need a hem allowance, but simply sandwich the bias around the edge of the fabric.

You can use bias binding made from fun colors or a pretty pattern. Bias can make the hem stand out and give it body. It also works great with curves. Learn how to make and use bias binding.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Single pleat bias hem

Use single-ply bias tape as another way to finish the edge. This is one way to use bias, but it's hidden inside. You only see the stitches. It also doesn't need a hem allowance since you're sewing it.

This hem works great with curves and straight hems. It's a fun way to add a unique color or pattern.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Facing hem

My favorite way to sew a hem is to add a facing, but it has the most steps. If the pattern does not come with a facing, you can create your own. Be sure to interface it to give weight and body to the hem. A hem is ideal to use on straight edges and curves. There is no need to provide a hem allowance.

When adding a hem, you need to know how to use interfacing, how to understitch, and how to cut and notch.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

Shirt hem or narrow curved hem

When you sew a curved shirt hem, you run into the problem of outside and inside curves on the same hem. It helps to make a small 1/4 inch hem, but you need to gather the outside curves and trim the inside curves. It's a few extra steps, but it's worth it.

This type of hem is most commonly seen on the hem of a button-down shirt or woven top. You can also see it on woven skirts that have a shirttail hem.

How to Hem: 7 Ways to Hem // heatherhandmade.com

what is the easiest hem

It's honestly a personal preference. For straight seams, I really like a simple double fold hem. It's quick and easy, and it always works for me. You may prefer a different hem!

which hem is the most beautiful

I really like the look of a faced hem. This adds weight and body, but it doesn't take away any length from the garment you're working on. It works well on curves and unique shapes. I also love that a hem is interfaced and helps prevent wrinkles!

how to hem


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