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Hand rolled hems

NansiM | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Ok, next question:  Anyone work with burnout silk chiffon?  Have made a maternity skirt and empire-waisted top for a soon-to-be matron of honor (next weekend-Apr. 5).  Looks super but would like thoughts on hemming the top.  The underlayer is satin and I will do a narrow hem there.  But this lovely chiffon doesn’t look so pretty with a machine rolled hem due to irregularity of the burnout design–it looks uneven.  So, I’m taking a deep breath and gearing up for a hand rolled one.  Any thought, suggestions, etc.?  I also tried a serger sample and it calls too much attention to the hemline.  The skirt is knee length and the empire waisted top hem will finish about 6″ above that, if propotions are of any help.

P.S.  Thanks for the help on previous issues-love this site!  Thanks Threads!


  1. sarahkayla | | #1

    How about a bias binding in a satin in a matching color or a plain chiffon in a matching color ? Machine stitch it on the right side & then handstitch on the inside.


    1. carolfresia | | #2

      I apologize in advance for how vague this is going to be, but I recall seeing a technique usig a very very narrow silk satin ribbon to edge chiffon and other lightweight fabrics, in Karen Morris's Sewing Lingerie that Fits book. I don't have the book with me now and I'm leaving town for a few days tomorrow morning, so I can't get more details to you. Anyone else have the book handy to check out how to do this? It was in a chapter near the end of the book on very delicate nightgowns--can't quite remember the name of the person whose work she shows. The treatment looked like a slightly softer version of using bias binding.

      Sorry this isn't more specific--hope it's helpful in some way!

      Carol Fresia, Assoc. Ed., Threads

    2. NansiM | | #3

      The chiffon idea might work.  Can you give me more specs?  Like width of strip, is it bias?  Do you think it'll be less visible than the hand rolled version?  We want the hem to call as little attention as possible.  Thanks again!

      1. sarahkayla | | #4

        Dear nansi -

        the bias trim needs to be 4x the final width you want it to be (so you are in charge of that one) - but now that I re-read your post i have another idea for you. It comes to me by way of Bill from the creative needle discussion group, (there is a very important concept in the talmud that you must credit your teacher for any ideas you use or adapt from them - So in the formulation of the talmud - I give this idea in the name of bill from the creative machine...) It is an elegant and easy way to do a very narrow edge.

        1 - straight stitch near the edge

        2 - trim very close to the stitching

        3 - do a wide & shallow zigzag ocer the straightstitch, catching the edge of the fabric as you go along. bill said it looks like a teeny corded edge. It is quite elegant looking (especially for the minimal effort involved. i have done it with fine sheers and have been very happy with the look.

        As always - practice first on a scrap (which i almost never do - not always a good idea)


  2. User avater
    stitchhappy | | #5

    Silk chiffon can be very tricky. I agree, serged edges just don't do it justice.  This is my favorite finish, all sewn with a straight machine stitch using a fine rayon embroidery thread.  First, sew around edge about 1/8-in. longer than finished length. Fold fabric along stitch-line and press to the wrong side. From the inside of the garment, sew around the edge again, as close to the edge as you can get without crossing it -- about 1/16th-in. Then, cut off the extra fabric very close to the stitch-line, press it to the wrongside, and stitch one last time.  Practice this before you do it. My experience has been that it holds up under hard wear, is sturdy without looking heavy, and even though you've stitched around that edge three times the mood of the chiffon hasn't changed.  Good luck!

    1. NansiM | | #6

      Thanks J.  That's usually one of my favorites for special occasion favorites.  I'm going to give it a sample try.  What keeps happening is that the satin sections create an uneven look compared to the plain chiffon areas.  Maybe I'm just being too fussy, but I like a nice smooth look.  I'm still testing!

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