Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hemming made easy

When I started to sew not only bags and other accessories, but clothes, the worst thing for me was to hem them. Uah. The piece is finished, and then comes the worst part: You have to do it very accurate, so that it does look nice, and if you screw it up, the whole work (and fabric) you already invested in the piece is gone for good.

Then I found a sewing pattern that suggested to prepare the hemming before sewing with the help of paper stripes, and then I found this: The Dritz EZY-HEM Gauge.

And you can find it too - at the notion wall at any JoAnn Store (or on amazon). It is not cheap, about 17 Dollars, but we all know about the coupon thing, so it is easy to get for the half. Best investment ever!

It is a thin metal plate ( durable, conducts heat, doesn't burn) with a lot of lines for measurement. Thankfully in inches and centimeters :-)

So, let me show you how I became a master hemmer without fear:

Start to use your new favorite tool right after cutting out the pieces.

Put one of the pieces that is supposed to have a hem left side up on your ironing board

positioning the Gauge on top

And decide the width of the hem. In this case I decided to go with a 5/8 hem.
Fold the fabric over so that it lines up exactly with the line.

now press it in place, set the temperature is high as you are allowed to. Hold the fabric in place with two fingers of your left hand and press, using a lot of steam.
Please be carful to not burn yourself - the Gauge will get really hot after a while, and the steam is perhaps even hotter!

It looks like this, now take the next section, fold it up, press, steam, and move on.

If you are finished, it will look like this. If necessary, press and steam once more!

If you did a good job, the fabric will stay like this even if you pick it up

Now prepare all your pieces like this, in this case: two sleeves, the back and the front:

Now I use my serger to finish the edges. This is not mandatory with knit fabric, but I love the professional look and it only takes minutes. You can use the zig-zag stitch of your sewing machine if you don't have a serger, leave it as it is or fold it over once again so that the raw edge is hidden in the fold.

If you pressed well, the hem will still folded up.

Now finish your piece until it comes to the hemming.
Don't forget to open the folds when sew the pieces together, you don't sew hem against hem, but still right side against ride side.

It looks like this:

You can still see the folds, can't you? Simply fold the hems up at the prepared folds, the fabric will easy do this by its own!

Now I turn the piece outside out.
I use a twin needle for the hems (like they do for store bought clothes), and I sew on the right side. Use the guiding lines for your sewing machine, find the matching measurement (here: 5/8 inch) and line the edge of the sleeve against it.

It looks like this when it is finished: 

And this is the left side, you can see the serger and under it the seam made with the sewing machine.

This Shirt is made of Interlock, but it is the same for woven fabrics, and it is even easier, because woven fabric is thinner and doesn't stretch. But you need to finish the edge, otherwise it will fray!

For me, hemming this way is easier than I ever thought it could be.
To prepare it right after cutting with the gauge makes it really easy to work very accurate, all the hems are the same width without hassle. And as the majority of the task is already completed before I start to sew, it just takes me a mere 10 - 30 minutes (depending on wether I have to hem toddler or women's cloths *g*) to finish my masterpiece after sewing.

I hope some of you get encouraged to try sewing cloths as well, or find the motivation to finish some of the UFOs in your stash (I still have some, too *sigh*) or just find it easier or more fun to do the hemming like this.
If  you have any questions, or comments, you are very welcome to write me.


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