Knowing how to sew a hem can make life so much easier. No more frantic hunting for a safety pin or – dare I say it – the stapler. The point of sewing a hem is to hide the raw edge of the fabric – both to make the garment look more neat and to protect the edge of the fabric from fraying.
So the first step in sewing a hem is to turn down 1/4″ of the fabric, then turn down another 1/4″ so that the raw edge is completely tucked away. Although I say 1/4″ for each turn, you may need to make the second fold greater than this is you need to have an exact measurement turned up: for example if you are taking up a hem on a dress or a pair of trousers.
The hem can be machine stitched as shown on the left by running a straight line of stitching near the edge that is turned under. Bear in mind that the hemming will then show on the right side of the garment.
A neater finish is provided by hand stitching the hem and the hemming will not then show on the right side of the fabric. Use small stitches and try to catch only a thread or a small amount of the fabric with the needle.
Depending on what you are sewing, the very easy option for hemming is to zigzag along the edge of the fabric to prevent fraying, then turn over a hemming allowance and machine stitch in place. This will show on the right side of the fabric, but works well when you have to produce a fancy dress or some such at very short notice.