July 9, 2012

2-in-1 Sew-Along: Hemming

We are on the final stretch of this dress! How exciting! Today I'll show you how to hem the skirt.

You will need to have let the dress hang for awhile so that the skirt can stretch out and then you can level it up. I'm going to say that the skirt should hang for at least 48 hours. I know sometimes the directions say overnight, but I've found that skirts do better if they hang for longer. If you don't have a dressform, hanging your dress on a hanger will work just fine too.

After the skirt has stretched out from hanging, we need to level it up. I have a lot of contraptions that help me do a lot of things - point presser, dressmaker's ham, sleeve board, simflex, etc. - and I have a vintage skirt marker that helps me get a level hem. But these are not easily acquired, so I suggest getting one of the chalk hem markers. I opted to do just that for the purposes of showing you this. Not everyone can trust another somebody (even a spouse) to mark a hem. Not everyone has another someone to do that. To use one of these hem markers, you'll need the chalk powder that goes with it (a pouch comes with your initial purchase).

To mark the hem where you want it to land, I suggest putting the dress on, looking in a mirror, holding the skirt with your hand on your leg as you bend over, walking your hands down your leg and put a pin where you think you want your hem. Instead of just going ahead and chopping it off at this point, you need to pin up the dress so that you can get a visual of what this will look like. Put the dress back on and see what you've got. If it's not hitting you where you want, re-mark the hem based from this point. 1" lower or higher. You get the idea. Re-pin and put the dress back on.

I stress getting a good hem length because I've cut so many bad ones. That old adage, "Measure twice, cut once" is an adage for a reason. Maybe it should even be, "Measure THRICE, cut once."

Once you have the hem where you want it, you can let the pins out, leaving a pin in the place where you are going to cut the skirt excess off. Now you need to adjust your hem marker to the same place where the pin is located. Before getting all spritzy with the chalk, do a test in one area. Make sure the chalk is hitting at the level of the pin. If not, adjust. Then go crazy and start turning and spritzing the chalk every so often on the skirt.

Now you can cut the bottom of the skirt off and you should have a level skirt now.

Hemming
This is a majorly flared skirt and the best hem in my experience for these types, is a narrow hem. Start by running a straight stitch along the bottom edge at 1/4".

Press that up using the stitching line as a guide. From the folded edge, stitch in place by about 1/8". I use my edgestitching foot for this job.

Cut off the excess from the raw edge of the hem. Be careful with this part. I use my duckbill scissors for this job and yes, I've actually cut through to the right side of the garment. So try not to do that or you may have to make your hem shorter.

After trimming, fold over the hem again and stitch in place. Once finished, you may find that your hem is acting wonky. It needs to be pressed into submission. I use a clapper for this. I go around the hem with a spritz of water and a hot iron and then after I move the iron I clap the hem edge by holding the clapper against the hot edge of the fabric and applying a good amount of pressure. If you don't have a clapper, roll up a hand towel tight and apply pressure on the hot seam instead.

The hem is done! Hurrah! It's almost time to wear this creation! Yay!

For more 2-in-1 Sew-Along posts, click here!

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19 comments

  1. Thank you for the links to all the tutorials, particularly yours on handworked buttonholes. I'll be trying them out soon!

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  2. THANK Y-O-U! I HATE putting in invisible zippers. I'm ages behind on my dress (the grading process is NOT fun---had to step away last night after my right boob inadvertently ripped a waist dart in my muslin. le sigh). Hopefully this will give me a little nudge.

    I'll let you know how it goes (or you'll probably just hear me screaming from Brooklyn.

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  3. Great links, Sunni! I'm going to pin a few of them for future reference too. Thanks for sharing. And I can't wait to hear about this party idea. Does it involve last minute babysitters and cross country flights? :)

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  4. I've watched from a distance but believe me I've supported you all along this journey. Thanks for the tips and tutorials Sunni, they are book marked for future reference.

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  5. I used a method I learned in Susan Khalje's Couture Sewing Class for hemming my circle skirt which was very similar to the machine rolled hem in your link.

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  6. I'm nearly done! Just got the zipper and the hem left. A question about the zipper- did you use the insertion method for straight grain or bias cut garments? I changed my skirt a bit by cutting it on the fold and reducing the fullness- do you think this will change anything?

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  7. I finished mine yesterday! Look forward to showing it off! :D It was technically very challenging for me but learnt a lot!

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  8. Oh, I am SO far behind. We lost power for almost a week during a heat wave, then had internet problems... so...

    What's funny too is that I had just signed up for Christine's Librarian Blouse class when the outage hit. So I haven't really got to start with that since I had some catch up work to do when the power returned.

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  9. Oh, I forget to ask-- where did you get that print fabric in the frame with Invisible Zipper Tutorial? I just love that!

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  10. [...] posted loads of helpful tutorials for the buttons, zipper and hemming. I read through them all and then marked the button holes and [...]

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  11. Great resources. I will have to pin these.

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  12. Hello, thanks for all these tips. The invisible zip seems less akward. I wonder where did you find the designer fabric of the skirt, the one with the vintage urban landscape ? What a choice for a skirt!!!

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  13. Thank you! It's actually an old RTW skirt that needed a new zipper.

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  14. It's just an old RTW skirt that needed a new zipper. It's one I simply couldn't bear to throw out, I do love it so.

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  15. This is terrible! And it was hot to top it all off! So sorry for this Linda!

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  16. Thanks. It reminded me of how I prefer to lose power in the winter than the summer. I can always layer another sweater or add a blanket. And you can stick food in a bag a keep them pretty cool in the garage or use the fireplace. But summer? You just schvitz and roast in your own juices.

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  17. That should be use the fireplace to get warm, not to keep food cool.

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  18. That print is great! I love the line drawing Dutch houses with a watercolor paint job! I wish I could find some like that.

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  19. All done! I've had a great time with this sewalong and learnt a lot! First ever collar, new way to set in sleeves and I even trimmed the collar and added beads to the bodice. Thanks Sunni for taking me outside my confort zobe and limited sewing experience with some great instructions, tips and links! Loved it :-)

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