The narrow hem is such a fundamental way of hemming garments, however it’s one that I always approached with such trepidation when I first started learning to sew. Especially when having to do it on a rounded hem – like you might find on a circle skirt.
This is my method of tackling a narrow hem – it may not be textbook, however it works for me – and hopefully it will work for you too!
You will need:
- Sewing Machine (Optional, this can be done by hand, it will just take a while to do!)
- Ruler or Measuring Tape
- Fabric to practice on!
Make sure any pins you use throughout this process do not have any plastic decoration on them – whilst pretty, they will melt if they come into contact with a hot iron!
- Decide how deep you want your hem to be. If you are working from a pattern, you will want to follow what the instructions recommend. I’ve gone for approximately 2cm for this example.
- The first press will be the full intended hem depth – 2cm in my example. Take your time with this, and use pins where needed. Make sure to take your time and breathe!
- Open out the fold.
- Then fold the raw edge so that it meets the crease created in step 2. Press.
- Turn this in along the crease, and make a final press!
- Time to sew! Take your time, and make a nice, neat steady stitch.
- Admire your beautiful straight narrow hem!
Easy right? Sometimes we overthink these things and build them up to be a lot scarier than they really are – I find with this particular hem, the key is patience. As soon as you start to rush the process, you will make mistakes.
Make sure your iron is as hot as your fabric can stand – this will make it easier to get a nice clean fold when doing your hems!
When you are using a narrow hem on a circle skirt for example, the first time you do it, you may find you get a delightful wavy effect, or that the hem looks kind of… ripply. Don’t panic! There is a neat way to fix this so that you have a beautifully clean hem!
Before beginning the process as demonstrated above, you stitch a large running stitch approximately 1cm around the perimeter of the hem. Then, when creating the first fold, use a pin to pull these stitches to ease the hem, so that it all folds in nice and neatly. You can see this in action in the pictures below!
I hope this helps you with your narrow hems. If you have any questions or advice regarding these hems, please get in touch in the comments below! I’d love to hear from you.