- sewing item with raw curved hem (like a circle or half circle skirt or dress)
- contrast thread
- matching thread
- sewing machine
- seam gauge
- fabric marker
- pressing iron
Basting the hem
- To sew a curved hem, start by making sure the skirt or dress is nicely pressed, with no wrinkles in the raw hem area.
- Switch your sewing machine to a basting stitch. Mine is a digital sewing machine and comes with a built in basting stitch but if you don’t have one, or your sewing machine is not digital, you can choose the longest stitch on your machine. I think a 4 would work just fine. If you’re a beginner and don’t know what basting means, a basting stitch is a line of temporary long running stitches, made by either hand or machine. A basting stitch holds the fabric together before permanent stitches are applied and is removed after the permanent stitch is applied.
- Stitch 1/4″ from the edge, all around the hem.
- Fold right on the newly sewn stitch, using this basting stitch as a guide.
- Press and remove the basting stitch.
- Stitch again, 1/8″ away from the edge, using the same basting stitch (ignore my pins, they’re pinned the wrong way and also try and don’t be as sloppy as I was). This stitch is optional and is meant to help you keep the hem nice and tidy while you move to the next steps. This is particularly helpful for beginners but if you’re more advanced, you can skip this stitch and move to the next step.
Sewing the final hem
- Measure 1″ away from the edge, towards the interior of the skirt and mark with a fabric marker. This is where the seam gauge comes in very handy! This will be your guide for the double hem.
- Fold the edge up so it touches the line you just marked.
- Place pins a few inches apart and add a couple more in between those.
- Sew the final hem as close to the edge as you can (I used a 1/16″ seam allowance). Sew slow and don’t worry if you experience some puckering while sewing. Just guide the fabric under the needle using a pin, making sure not to catch the pin with the needle.
- Remove the basting stitch.
- Use plenty of steam and press firmly moving the iron up and down; this will smooth out any tiny puckering that you weren’t able to eliminate while sewing. After ironing your curved hem should look completely free of puckering. If you use lightweight fabric you won’t even notice the puckering.
I hope you enjoyed my tutorial on how to hem a curve and found it easy enough to give it a try on your next project that requires a curved hem. As the hem is the last to be sewn when finishing a garment, it is better not to rush into it, because you may ruin the final result and spend even more time fixing the mistake.
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