Absolute Easiest Way to Hem Anything!

Absolute Easiest Hems Nancy Zieman Roundup1

Absolute Easiest Way to Hem Anything!

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Absolute Easiest Hems Nancy Zieman Roundup1September is National Sewing Month! If you are stitching, there’s a good chance your project will have a hem. Nearly everything you sew has a hem—skirts, pants, sleeves, and home décor items such as curtains and table linens. By using a few simple hints, you can turn this time-consuming chore into a simple sewing task.

Find my hemming tips and more in The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew, and watch on Sewing With Nancy’s three-part series on The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew (Part OnePart Two, and Part Three).


Absolute Easiest Hems Nancy Zieman 1

Preparing the Hem

1. Fold up the hem.

  • Prepress the hem on each flat piece before stitching it to another piece. This is a great time-saving technique.
  • Use a hem gauge, such as the Single Fold Press and Hem Guide Set to provide an accurate measurement and to avoid leaving a hem impression on the right side of the fabric. Place the gauge on the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Fold up the hem allowances over the gauge to the desired width and press.Absolute Easiest Hems Nancy Zieman 2
2. Grade the seam allowances within the hem area to reduce bulk.
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3. Finish the cut edge of the hem by zigzagging or serging.
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Machine Stitched Hem

  • Set the machine for a straight stitch.
  • Machine stitch the hem along the top edge.
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Note from Nancy: Use a rubber band or attach the 6-in-1 Seam Gauge, on the free arm of your sewing machine to help you guide the fabric in an even distance from the fold of the hem.

Hand Stitched Hem

  • Thread a needle with a single strand of thread.
  • Cut the thread about 18″ long. The thread will tangle and knot more easily if it is too long. Knot one end of the thread.
  • Fold the back hem edge so that 1/4″ of the edge shows.

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  • Work from right to left, taking a tiny stitch in the hem; then take a tiny stitch in the project about 1/4″ ahead of that stitch. Pick up only one or two threads in the fabric.
  • Take a stitch in the hem edge about 1/4″ ahead of the last stitch.
  • Repeat, alternating stitches between the hem edge and the project. Don’t pull the stitches too tight or the hem will pucker.

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Blind Hem

  • Fold back the project edge so about 1/4″ of the hem edge shows.
  • Attach the Edgestitching Foot or the Blind Hem Foot to your sewing machine.
  • Adjust your sewing machine for a blind hem stitch as detailed in your owner’s manual.
  • Place the fabric under the presser foot. Turn the flywheel by hand towards you until the needle fully swings to the left. If the needle “bites” too much of the fabric or doesn’t catch the fold, adjust the guide on the foot so that the needle only stitches through the fabric fold.

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  • Continue by slowly stitching, so that the straight stitch falls in the hem allowance and the zig just catches the project at the fold.

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Note from Nancy: Consider using a soft clear invisible thread such as 60 wt. Madeira Monofil, when stitching the blind hem stitch—a great ready-to-wear technique.

Fusible Hem

Using unbacked fusible web for hemming
  •  Cut strips of Wonder Web Fusible and place along the wrong side of the hem edge.

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  • Serge or zigzag the fusible web to the hem edge. If you zigzag, be sure the web doesn’t extend past the hem edge or it will stick to your iron when you fuse. Trim off any web that goes past the edge.

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  • Fold under the hem. Measure so the entire hem is the same width. Pin.

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  • Press per manufacturer’s directions.

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Using paper-backed fusible web for hemming
  • Cut a 1/2″–3/4″ wide strip of paper-backed fusible web, or purchase the precut paper-backed fusible web on a roll.
  • Position the web side of the paper-backed fusible to the wrong side of the hem. Place the web 1/4″ below the hem edge. Press.

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  • Remove the paper backing.

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  • Fold under the hem; measure so the entire hem is the same width. Fuse.

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Read more in The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew. Chapters include:

  • Sewing Notions
  • Sewing Machine Confidence
  • Serger Spotlight
  • Patterns
  • Fabric Facts
  • Sewing Basics
  • Beyond the Basics

The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew by Sewing With Nancy ZiemanWatch The Absolute Easiest Way to Sew (Part One, Part Two, and Part Threeon Sewing With Nancy online.

Bye for now,

Nancy Zieman The Blog

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  • Anne Guffey
    September 10, 2016

    Here’s my sewing tip question:
    Would you be willing to create a class on the latest fabric choices, complete with sample packages for viewers to feel, that would outline the best projects for the new fabrics? I live in a rural environment and the closest fabric shops seem to focus on cotton quilting fabric and less on the newer garment fabrics available. I don’t even know what they “feel” like to know if it’s what I want to buy through mail order.

    • Sandy
      September 14, 2016

      Wonderful idea!!! After retiring I decided to improve my very basic sewing skills, but it’s been difficult because I don’t know which fabrics to use for different garments and the only local store has mostly quilting and low-quality garment fabrics. This class would be a great idea for those of us who are stuck in the boonies!

  • Shaela Forbes
    September 10, 2016

    Your hints on hemming jeans are most welcome

  • Susan Spiers
    September 10, 2016

    The Blind hem-so easy-I use this type hem on everything that I can!

  • Florence Dupuis
    September 10, 2016

    I like the tip from one of your shows about putting elastic into pants when the waist is loose. I have a pair of pants I need to do that to.

  • Barbara Crowell
    September 10, 2016

    Wow! What a change for sewing a collar! I sewed as a young person 50 yrs ago and now going back to it as I close in on retirement. Need to learn so much! How to correctly press was an AHA for me. Also NO pivot sewing! Then on to the difference in sleeves! I watched your shows in the ’80s – Thanks for sticking around so I can come back into your fold (hehehe)!

  • Ethel Ahrendt
    September 10, 2016

    I like tips about altering ready to wear garments. Especially making a large or medium shirt fit a short/petite person, e.g., altering shoulder/ sleeves to fit better.

  • Linda E in AZ
    September 10, 2016

    Please talk about stabilizing shoulder seams in knits – must be an easier way than I’m doing now. Thanks!

  • Alice Newman
    September 10, 2016

    Blind hem by machine. I haven’t hemmed by hand in YEARS. Love the tip on basting 1/4 inch away from the edge. I’ve always just pinned the hem in place but I shall machine baste now.

  • Brenda Ackerman
    September 10, 2016

    Using the Double Sided Interfacing for hemming is the part that I liked the most. I am making a blouse right now and will give this method a try. It sure seems like a great way to keep all of the fabric from moving and with no pins to worry about it will be a breeze to hem. Thank you so much for sharing all of these tips/techniques. Plus, the chance at winning this great prize! Have a fantastic creative day!

  • Starla
    September 10, 2016

    The hemming hints are very useful!

  • Diane C
    September 10, 2016

    I hope there is something in there on zippers!

  • Deb J
    September 10, 2016

    I’d like to hear about replacing elastic in a waistband where the elastic has gotten old and has no stretch left.

  • Lynn Again
    September 10, 2016

    Even though it feels like “cheating” I like to use the fusible hemming tape to hem lots of items. I hemmed a pair of jeans this way 5 years ago and it still holds and looks great!

  • Jan N.
    September 10, 2016

    My favorite tip is grading the seam allowances on hems. Why didn’t I ever think to do that?

  • Cheryl
    September 10, 2016

    I was first introduced to the paper backed fusible web by you and have used it for so many projects since then. I actually have not used it for hemming but I will be passing the method along to my non-sewing daughters.

  • Arlene Aughey
    September 10, 2016

    I would like help with the rounded and pointy hems on the new (and very cute) asymmetrical tops.

  • Karen
    September 10, 2016

    I have used so many of your tips over the years picking a favorite would depend on what I am doing at the time.

  • Sandy
    September 10, 2016

    This is great information about hemming, some good ideas I’ll try. However, the biggest and most time-consuming part of skirt hemming for me is getting the hem straight (and cut and marked) to begin with. Do you have any good ideas to help make this task easier and more accurate?

  • E. Ann
    September 10, 2016

    My favorite hem is machine blind stitch. Each type of fabric can be different but gets easier with a lot of practice. Thanks for all your tips!!

  • Gail Beam
    September 10, 2016

    My daughters do Not sew, so I think using the fusible web for hemming is a perfect technique for them! I would like to have some tips and techniques for replacing old elastic in pjs .

  • beth
    September 10, 2016

    I have used some of your hemming tips.

  • Linda S.
    September 10, 2016

    Thank you for these techniques, especially grading the seam allowances! There’s just one caution I’d like to share. Although a time saver, I’ve ceased the use of paper backed fusible web for hems due to the fact that it can cause damage to the garment over time. This is due to a tendency for the adhesive to gradually ‘bleed’ through the fabric and be seen on the front of the garment. Thanks for all of the tips shared in the ‘Absolute Easiest Way To Sew’ series!

  • Joyce
    September 10, 2016

    I struggle with fitting patterns. I like the idea of hemming with fusible tape.

  • Sueann Walter
    September 10, 2016

    I’m interested in the tip about using a rubber band or the 6 in 1 tool when hemming by machine. I am having trouble figuring out exactly what that means??

  • Kathy
    September 10, 2016

    I prefer the blind hem.
    When shortening jeans I use your method in order to keep the original hem stitching thread in place. Thanks for all of the tips.

  • Amy
    September 10, 2016

    Your refresher on hand-hemming is excellent. Nothing invokes “couture” as much. I’d also like to see a segment on installing invisible zippers – my nemesis.

  • Dawn Petersen
    September 10, 2016

    Thanks Nancy for all your hints. I also would like some guidance on elastic waistbands in items of clothing. Thanks.

  • Brenda Aigner
    September 10, 2016

    I would like help in sewing stretchy knit.

  • Elizabeth Pangle
    September 11, 2016

    My favorite is the blind hem technique! It looks to neat and professional, but is incredibly easy to do!

  • Anne Z.
    September 11, 2016

    I really love hints for sewing hems in knits. (This is my biggest sewing challenge.)

  • Jan H
    September 11, 2016

    I struggle applying bias tape binding

  • PamB
    September 11, 2016

    The blind hem.

  • Julie Daugherty
    September 11, 2016

    My favorite hint is using the monofilament thread when blind stitching. I really appreciate the weight and manufacturer of the the thread being specified.

  • Tina
    September 11, 2016

    I am interested in the chapter called serger spot light. Also the tip about using the paper backed fusible web for hemming is very clever.

  • Wendy Engelmann
    September 11, 2016

    I had my right leg amputated above the knee a few years ago. it is very hard for me (or a friend) to mark a hem for either a dress or top. I have used a walker to help me stand -but I tend to “lean” forward.

    Do you have any suggestions?

    I love the blind hem stitch.

  • Peggy
    September 13, 2016

    I struggle with adjusting patterns.

  • Linda Rupe
    September 14, 2016

    The sewing tip/technique I like the most – the one I am most enthusiastic about – is the one I am reading/imagining/doing! I always get excited when I read your instructions, even if it’s not my first time to read it. (Does this mean I live in the moment?)

  • Linda Rupe
    September 15, 2016

    My favorite tip is always the one I am reading/using at the time! I especially appreciate the tip to trim the seam allowances in the hem area as they tend to bunch and be unsightly. As always, you have the methods boiled down to the absolute simplest, easiest way!

  • Linda Rupe
    September 15, 2016

    Boy! my face is red. I tried to post a comment yesterday. As I scanned the comments, looking for something I noticed someone wrote yesterday, I didn’t see mine, so I posted again. Now I see both posted and I am embarrassed and I apologize.

  • Peggy Vick
    September 25, 2016

    My favorite tip that I learned from you was wrapping a corner. I use it all of the time and it makes such a nice professional finish. Thank you!!!

  • Michele Pavlicek
    October 25, 2016

    The tip I would like to have help with is also sewing with stretch knits and using the rolled hem foot. I can never seem to get it started correctly.

  • Lynn
    December 21, 2016

    I would like to see how to use the bias binding foot, always seems too difficult to master.

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