How to Make a Narrow Hem

by Shira

These instructions describe how to make a narrow hem, suitable for finishing the edge of a circle skirt, a semicircular veil, or any other costume item. This is one of the best hems to use for a curved edge because it forces the curve to fold the way you want it when you turn it under, but it also works well on straight edges.

If you choose to use this hem for finishing your circle skirts or anything else where you want the finished garment to have a specific length, allow 1/2 inch (about 1.3 centimeter) additional length at the time you cut it out. That's how much will be turned under.

Place the raw edge of the fabric in the sewing machine, and stitch a line that is 1/4 inch (about .64 centimeter) from the raw edge. If you are skilled at sewing, you can make this narrower if you like, but be sure to adjust the length you cut the skirt accordingly.

Hem Diagram

Now, sit in a comfortable chair. Fold the fabric toward the wrong side along the stitching line, then fold again an additional 1/4 inch (.64 centimeter), so that the raw edge is completely encased. Pin into place. Position pins about once every 12 inches (30 centimeters) along the edge. You'll find that the stitching line provides a natural point for the fabric to turn under the way you want it, and even a curved raw edge can be tucked neatly under.

After pinning the hem up, machine-stitch it into place.

VARIATION: Some people like to turn the hem toward the right side instead of toward the wrong side. Then they cover it with sequins or other trim. That way, no hem shows at all on either side.


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