We have seen a lot of questions in the group about getting the perfect hem on your knit outfits. Most hems are sewn perpendicular to the grain and on the bias in the case of curved hems…this makes hemming sometimes appear stretched out, puckery or wavy.
I needed to sew a shirt to showcase this fabric so the first pattern that came to mind is the Women’s Henley. The only modification I did was to shorten the neckline placket so it would not interfere with the design of the fabric.
I will give you my 5 best tips for avoiding stretched out hems (especially curved hems) and getting the perfect finish.
1. You IRON is your best friend!
Always have your iron hot and with plenty of water in the steamer. Iron your hem before your sew it, it will make hemming easier! This process is called a memory hem. Be sure to follow your pattern’s directions for the amount of fabric that needs to be folded. Pressing and steaming the seams once sewn will also remove the puckering and waviness back and make them look beautifully finished. Ironing and steaming your garment every step of the way is one of the most important parts of sewing. While steaming your hems may not fix all issues it will definitely fix most of them.
Before pressing and removing excess fabric.
After a good steam and press.
2. CLIPS and PINS galore!
When hemming, I clip/pin my fold over fabric almost every two inches. Having a stable seam will make sewing it a breeze. Whether you are using your coverstitch machine or your sewing machine having your fabric pinned every inch and a half or so will make your hemming experience much more pleasant. Sewing clips vs. pins is a matter of personal preference. I like sewing clips best because I find them to help me secure my hems faster than pinning used to. So, are you a “pin-er” or a “clip-ser”? 🙂 – insert pictures of the clipped hem
3. HEMMING TAPE is magical!
Stitch Witchery or Easy Knit Tape will become your go to notions for hemming. Stitch Witchery is great for stabilizing and fusing together knit fabric. Simply lay the tape inside the memory hem and press it. This will not only fuse it but it will also give it more stability, making sewing so much smoother and hassle free. It is very important to make sure that the hemming tape you use it’s sew-able. Some no-sew tapes may leave a gooey residue that will damage your needles. Insert photo of hemming tape and photo of ironing it.
I also like to spray Best Press when I press my hems. The starch in it makes the hem more stable so it becomes easier to sew.
Hemming tape can be transparent or opaque.
4. Length of the STITCH and TENSION matters!
Whether you are using your sewing machine or your coverstitch machine, you must remember to adjust the stitch length and tension according to the type of fabric you use. Some coverstitch machines will adjust the tension automatically but most of them will not, so be sure to test your hemming on a scrap piece of fabric. It’s imperative that the scrap fabric you use is the same as your project. Usually hemming knits will require you to lower the tension and length the stitch. Some machines will prefer a longer stitch, some will work great with just a 3.0 length.
If your machine will allow you to set up the stitching speed, do it!
I tend to coverstitch at about 1/2 to 3/4 inches away from the fold so I remove the excess fabric with my applique scissors. You can use your regular scissors too, just be careful not to snip your stitches.
5. Last but not least, have PATIENCE! Go slow!
We all know that rush feeling we get when reach the hemming part of the project…one more step and then it’s ready!! Well, last thing you want is for this last step to ruin your hard work. Take a little more time and go slowly when hemming. Coverstitch machines sew pretty fast so remember to slow down and guide your fabric through.
I hope you find my tips helpful and that you will tackle your next P4P project with more confidence. Don’t forget to post your creations in the group. Sew like a Pirate!
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