08 March 2013

Let's Sew Series: Sew a basic hem

Hemming is the most basic of sewing techniques. You'll use this technique when making napkins, towels, clothing, curtains, aprons--pretty much anything that has a raw edge. Hems keep all of the loose ends tucked away so the fabric doesn't fray, and to create nice, neat finished edges.

Step 1: Fold.  Fold over the edge of fabric by about 1/4" (you can do more or less depending on what you're making and how long or short it needs to be). Iron to secure.  Fold again, iron again, then pin in place. Always fold hems twice.
Step 2: Check corners. If you are sewing more than one side, make sure to check the corners to make sure the fabric is not sticking out from the edge. Everything should be even and square.  Pin the corners in place.  
Step 3: Stitch. At your machine, set the stitch to a basic straight stitch.  Use a length of about 2.5--this is small enough to keep the stitches firm (any smaller will cause the fabric to bunch). To begin, sew a couple of stitches and then back-stitch to lock your thread in place.  Back-stitching is your knot. Stitch around each side, making sure to keep your stitches as close to the inside fold as possible.  After stitching all sides, back-stitch to knot again. 

Turning a corner: Straight stitch each side up to 1/4" of the edge. To keep a straight corner, keep the needle down in the fabric, lift the presser foot, and rotate the fabric .  Put the presser foot back down and stitch the next side.

Finally, iron again (if you're sewing something large enough to wrinkle). You're finished.  You can now sew a basic hem.

For more sewing tutorials and projects, click below to visit the Lew's Sew! page.

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