A Surprising Tool To Help You Sew Like A Pro: DIY HEM GAUGE

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Struggling to get neat, even hems all the time? Making your own hem gauge is so easy, simple and affordable! Here you’ll learn the easy way to hem using a DIY hem ruler!

Hem gauge tutorial

Hem ruler

Hey guys! Today I have a super quick and simple idea to help you achieve the perfect hem! Like, all the time! This super duper hem gauge is so cheap and easy to make, with materials you already have on hand you’ll absolutely love it!

I’ve always struggled getting even hems especially when hemming lightweight fabrics back when I didn’t know how to do a narrow hem and didn’t have a rolled hem foot to make a neat, rolled hem. I admit I hated hemming, most of the times when I didn’t sew with cotton (this is an awesome fabric to sew with, from cutting to sewing and finishing hems and seams, I love it!)

But one cannot sew with cotton all the time right? Recently I made a nice blouse with pleats using chiffon and I could not, for the love of me, manage to make the hem even! The fabric kept slipping and my narrow hem ended up being a nightmare! I had to unpick it with my seam ripper (which was also a nightmare because chiffon is just not the friendliest fabric for a super klutz like me!). So I thought there must be a simpler way to do this! And I remembered seeing some sort of a hem ruler or hem gauge around the internet a while ago and decided to make my own.

Want more quick sewing tips?

Easy way to hem

This DIY hem guide I made is no rocket science, really! It’s not fancy, it’s super basic and looks quite rudimentary but IT GETS THE JOB DONE! Perfectly! With any kind of fabric! Sorry for screaming a little here but I’m super excited about finally learning how to hem evenly in such an easy and quick way!

I must admit I’m quite in love with this DIY gadget, it’s now my permanent companion on the sewing table! And even though I used it quite a bit lately, it still looks in top shape! Let me show you the stupidly simple steps making this hem gauge takes!


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Hem guide DIY

Hem guide



How to make the hem gauge

  • Place the cardstock on the table and measure the desired hem on both ends of the cardboard, lengthwise.
  • Place the ruler between these marks and trace a deep strong line between the marks.
  • Using this method trace various size hem guides on the cardboard so you’ll be able to use the same hem gauge on more occasions, for different hems. I traced 1″, 1/2″, 1/4″ hem guides as seen in the photo above.

How to use the hem gauge

  • Place the fabric with the wrong side up and align the hem gauge with the edge of the fabric.

DIY hem guide

  • Fold the fabric over the hem gauge until it reaches the desired mark line on the gauge.

Hem ruler

  • With the pressing iron on steam press the hem down.

  • When the hem is folded all around the clothing item repeat the process.
  • Sew the hem down as close as possible to the inner fold (I normally sew about 1/8″ away from that fold).
  • And you’re done! Isn’t your new found gadget so cool and your hem perfectly even?

If you liked this tutorial please let me know in the comment section below and don’t forget to rate it! Thanks!

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Photo collage of handmade hem gauge for sewing and a hem made using this tool

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Hi, I’m Petro, author and founder of Easy Peasy Creative Ideas. Sewist, crafter, avid DIY-er, foodie, photographer, homemaker and mommy to one. I’m an expert at coming up with quick, clever sewing tips, recycling crafts and simple, easy recipes! You can find my ideas featured in reputable publications such as Country Living, Good House Keeping, Yahoo News, WikiHow, Shutterfly, Parade, Brit & Co and more. Thanks for stopping by and hope you’ll stay for a while, get to know me better and come back another time. Stick around for real fun projects! Read more…

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  1. 3 items We made seam guides in 8th grade sewing –cardboard with different depths marked on all sides. 60 years later I realize our instructor, Sister Mary Teresa was quite smart. (She was a very patient woman.) Do you have any tips on better cutting technique? I pin like crazy, using my kitchen counter and a hard cutting board. The cut item looks terrible. I do trim the mess once the piece is fully cut but I wonder what I am doing wrong. One more question if I may, I purchased some faux suede which I steam pressed lightly to ensure I could eliminate the wrinkles. My nails, pressing cloth and ironing board cover were all stained red. I purchased a product to set the color but I have a HE washing machine and I can’t control the amount of water to ensure the piece is fully under water. I called a few laundromats and they won’t allow me to use their machines for this purpose. I think my best bet is to return the fabric. I purchased two pieces- a gorgeous red and a rick pumpkin. Any ideas?

  2. Love your easy ideas. They help so much. I am just learning to sew, and get very frustrated when I cut material. I use a cutting board and ruler and rotary cutter, but I never seem to be able to get it straight. also any hints on how to know which way to cut material

    1. To be honest, Lori, I’m never happy with how I cut my fabrics, the larger the project the harder it is for me to cut fabric straight, there’s always room to learn! I true up my fabrics as soon as I purchase them as highlighted in this tutorial https://theseamanmom.com/how-to-square-up-fabric/. Then when I cut fabric for particular projects I found these items help a lot: a large table, a large cutting mat, a large rotary cutter with sharp blades or seamstress scissors and fabric weights. Sometimes these are not enough though so I like to pin the pattern to the fabric in many places which will keep the fabric in place and allow me to cut straight. I always cut fabrics in a forward movement of my rotary cutter or scissors (away from myself). Hope these help!

  3. I must be having a brain freeze. I love your hem tool, and follow perfectly until the part about sewing close to the inner fold. I just don’t get it. If my hem is 2″ and I sew close to the fold, what happens to the fabric left flopping above it? See? I’m confused.

      1. do you turn up the 1/4, press and then the other to make a hem, then sew the second turn up.

      2. Hi Norma. That’s what I do (1/4″ or 1/2″, depending on fabric type). Turn once, press, turn again, press & sew.