How To Make Perfect Hems And Seams

Here are a few tips and pointers for making perfect hems and seams that lay flat, look great and are very easy.

As you start to get better and better at sewing you'll discover little tips that make certain tasks easier. Making perfect seams and hems is easy if you follow a few steps. If you're a beginner it's very important to measure and pin everything. Use a tape measure to measure a skirt hem keeping it exact all the way around. Place a pin at a right angle to the hemline, every couple of inches. Before hemming press well if fabric allows. If it's a delicate fabric place a washcloth or hand towel over the hem before ironing. This is just the first turn of the hem. Remove the pins. This is only the first turn of the hem. Now turn the hem one more time to eliminate any raw edges. Measure and pin again. Press. Leave the pins in while stitching around the hemline, removing them only as you approach each one.

Ironing is extremely important for hems as well as seams. Pressing either one helps it to lay flat for sewing or wearing. With a blouse side seam, for example, press open after stitching. The side seam will feel and look smooth during wear. Sometimes the fabric pieces cling together while you're trying to press them. Use a wooden ruler or another flat object to hold the seam open while pressing.

Hems in sleeveless tops are kind of tricky since they are rounded hems rather than straight line hems. It's best to turn the blouse wrong side outwards while measuring and pinning. When the opening curves at the armpit area or the shoulder area there's a trick you can do to make it lay flat.Cut small slits from the edge of the armhole opening to about a half inch upwards. Make one slit every half inch or so. Now measure and fold the first fold, pin and iron. Turn the edges of the opening over one more time then measure, pin and iron. The slits allow a little slack while you're sewing and prevent the stitches from puckering.


Seam binding is a big help when doing sheer fabrics. Make the seam and press open using a towel to prevent scorching. Place the binding tape over the seam and center it. Pin into place and stitch down both one edge of the binding tape. Do not yet remove pins. Stitch down the other side of the binding tape removing pins upon approach.

Binding tape can also be used on skirt or dress hems. Place the binding tape and fabrics right side together and stitch. Stitch the tape all the way around the edge of the skirt. Fold the tape behind the skirt fabric turning a quarter to a half-inch of fabric along with it. Measure, pin and iron. Stitch the edge of the binding tape from the backside. When finished, press again.

Tiny hemmed openings, like the armholes of a baby blouse, are difficult to pin and stitch. It's sometimes easier to do this by folding as you go along. Fold fabric under a quarter inch then fold over another quarter inch. Smooth flat with fingers. Sew a couple of stitches forward. Continue turning the fabric and pressing with fingers as you stitch around the armhole. When finished press well with iron.

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