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Ah hemming. Am I completely alone in that I really enjoy hand hemming garments? Perhaps. But there is something so therapeutic about the repetitive nature of hand hemming. Machine hemming on the the other hand, is something I CANNOT STAND. Ugh. I hate it I hate it I hate it.
Why Machine Hemming Sucks
Firstly, it looks terrible. I have never seen a machine hem and gone “Wow so pretty”. That great big line of stitching around the hem of your dress is just gross.
Secondly, it distorts the lines of the fabric. This is partly why it looks so gross. A machine hem creates tension resulting in a tiny amount of gather around the hem. It’s so annoying to look at I can’t even. Ugh.
Thirdly, they are horrible to sew. Especially if you are stitching a long skirt with a lot of volume in. And don’t get me started on machine rolled hems. The fabric moves constantly, the sewing line is never straight. Machine hems make me want to throw the sewing machine out of the window.
Except for a Blind Hem on a Sewing Machine.
What’s a blind stitched machine hem I hear you ask? Well a blind hem is a hem where you can’t see the stitching, or can hardly see the stitching. They are stitched from the wrong side with only a very tiny stitch visible from the right side. They take a little more preparation and can seem confusing, but I love a blind hem so much I don’t hem any other way now.
So for a Blind Stitched Machine Hem you will need:
- A Blind Hemming Foot – these are usually provided with all major sewing machines and look like this:
- Good colour matched thread – this helps with making the stitching less visible
- Sewing Machine
*Note* I have used white thread so that you can see what I’m doing. I have also marked the wrong side of my fabric with tailor’s chalk to make things a bit easier.
*Another Note* I ALWAYS recommend that you do a test sample before you start machine hemming to make sure that you’re sewing machine’s settings are right.
- Double fold your hem as normal and tack in place approximately 0.5cms away from the first folded edge. I like to machine tack as it is stronger and quicker. To do this, turn your stitch length up as high as it will go and turn your tension down ever so slightly to about 3-4.
2. Next is when the magic happens. Fold the hem underneath, so that the right side of the hem is touching the right side of the garment, along the line of the machine tacking. There should be a tiny lip of the folded hem fabric visible when looked at from the wrong side (see the photo in the next step).
3. Reset your machine to the correct settings remember to adjust the stitch length, width and tension. I like to keep my tension a little loose when blind hemming so the hem hangs straighter. Change your presser foot to the blind hem foot and with the wrong side facing up, line the edge of guide up with the fold along your line of tacking. Start stitching with the straight stitches along the narrow lip of the hem. The zig zag stitch should move over and just catch the main body of the garment. Like this:
4. Fold the hem back to its correct position. From the wrong side the work should look like this:
And from the right side it should look like this:
5. Remove the machine tacking and give the hem a good press and you’re done!
With the white thread it’s hard to visualise how subtle this form of hemming is but take a look at this hem I did for my Edwardian Lady’s Maid:
You can hardly see those stitches! How much more subtle and beautiful is that than a great big line of stitching around the bottom of a garment?
I hope you found this blind hem tutorial helpful. Let me know if you would like me to do any more of these little picture tutorials or if there is anything you are struggling with that you would like some help with.