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Hemming Stitches for Couture Sewing

Claire B. Shaeffer, a couture-sewing expert, demonstrates key stitches used for hemming couture garments. These five hemming stitches, all done by hand, are useful for any sewer.

Prepare the garment

Press the hem allowance up along the hemline, and trim the allowance evenly to the desired width. Hand-overcast the edge, and baste the allowance in place. Add a line of basting about 1/4 inch below the overcast edge. Thread a short hand-sewing needle with waxed thread. Knot the end and anchor it either in the hem allowance or at a seam allowance.

Blind stitch

The blind stitch, also called the blind hemming stitch and the tailor’s hem, is the most commonly used stitch for finishing a hem. This stitch is worked from right to left, and forms small Vs. It is important to keep the stitches loose, so they don’t show through to the right side as small indentations. When pressing the finished hem from the wrong side, gently fold back the hem allowance edge and press under it, to avoid leaving an impression on the garment’s right side.

Blind catchstitch

This is the same as catchstitch, only it is placed between the hem allowance and the garment. Fold the hem allowance edge down slightly and apply the stitch between the hem allowance’s wrong side and the garment’s wrong side. The finished stitch looks like a series of Xs, which are concealed between the allowance and the garment. This method of hemming is stronger and more elastic than the regular blind stitch, and is good for heavier fabrics.

Figure-eight stitch

This stitch is rarely used but helpful. It includes more substantial stitching in the hem allowance and then a small stitch into the garment, forming a small figure-eight stitch. Place the stitches up to 1 inch…


About This Video Series

This video series features three hours of insider tips and secrets for creating high-end couture garments and home accessories. See an expert at work as Claire Shaeffer illustrates the basic techniques that take sewing to the next level -- from hand sewing and machine stitching to marking methods, pressing, and hemming.

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