Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sewing Basics # 5 - Quick overcast hem

Whilst restyling one of my recent thrifting finds I thought I'd seize the opportunity to take a few photos in case any non sewers want to know just how quick and easy it is to hem a garment! (Hey if I can do it!!)  Just shortening skirts and dresses can change the look dramatically and make a charity shop shocker into something supremely wearable. So if you have such a "I keep meaning to do it" project stashed at the back of your wardrobe, dig it out now and check this out...

Cut your hem about 1cm longer than you want the finished length to be. Then "finish" the raw edge. You can use an overlocker/serger if you have access to one. You can use the overcast foot with a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine (this is the method I've used here). Or you can overcast stitch the raw edge by hand. This is to stop the raw edge fraying.
Next, fold the 1cm hem allowance over and press so you have a crisp folded edge...
Work your way all along the hem like this, pinning in place as you go...
I tend to pin the hem at my intersecting side seams first to help keep things even all the way round...
(my zig zagging went a bit wobbly here because I was sewing over bulk)...
This is a good illustration of why I used this hem finish instead of a neater, turned under finish. If I had turned the hem under twice before stitching, the bulk at this corner would have been ridiculous and looked awful. That part of the garment was a double layer of fabric to start with. Once I'd turned and pressed the 1cm hem allowance there were 4 layers of fabric. To turn the hem under again would mean sewing through six layers of fabric. Since this is a restyle, I had to compromise on finish and work round existing seams and bulk. If you're making garments from scratch, then it's a different matter...
Periodiacally check the amount you're turning over and pressing is the same all the way round, just to keep things nice and even. You can use a seam gauge, tape measure of ruler...
Once you've pressed and pinned all the way round, run a line of stitching close to the zig zagged edge. Keep your line of stitching a consistent distance from the folded edge all the way round. It's this consistency that will show on the right side and determine whether your finished hemming looks wobbly or straight. This is how it will look from the wrong side...(you can see that the stitching line runs very slightly away from the zig agged edge but remains at an even distance from the folded edge all the way along).
And from the right side...
And there you have it. Simples!! (Will be posting full photos from this restyle very shortly...)


2 comments :

  1. Another great tute Miss P, keep em coming! Thanks x

    ReplyDelete
  2. Brilliant helpful guide to all us novice stitchers, thanks very much.

    ReplyDelete

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