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Help hemming a bias cut skirt

jane8760 | Posted in General Sewing Info on

HELP!  I am in the middle of finishing two bias cut skirts that I ASSUMED would be easy enough.  They only have 2 seams and an elastic waist!  Boy was I wrong.  I have been trying to hem these skirts for a couple of weeks now and I am about to throw them out!

Each skirt has an overlay.  The under skirt is made from georgette and the overlay on one is rayon and the other is some kind of shear.  The rayon one is giving me more trouble then the shear.  I tried to use my narrow hemmer but it won’t go over the seams.  I serged the edge and turned it up 1/4″ but the hem looks horrible.  But my main problem is the two layers and how they hang!  I finish the hem and when I try on the skirt the under layer hangs down below the overlay.  So I take the skirt off and take up the under layer.  Try the skirt on again and it still hangs below.  Now when I have the skirt off the two layers are about an inch and a half apart.  I would think that a space of about a half inch would have been enough….something has to be going on with the fabrics.

I am a perfectionist so this is killing me!  Anyone have any tricks of the trade for hemming these types of skirts?  Or am I doomed to toss them?

Thank you for any advice.






  1. Teaf | | #1

    Been there, done that-- I sympathize completely!

    The key to your current problem is the word "bias." While flat, the fabrics stay in shape, with the grainlines straight. As soon as you hang a piece on the bias, though, the grainlines shift, and the garment piece becomes a different shape. You can see this if you hold a large square of any fabric by the corner rather than a top or side edge. The lovely "action" that bias creates makes wonderful draping effects, but it can make hems or any straight horizontal seams a nightmare.

    Different fabrics stretch more or less on the bias, so your two layers will be acting independently as soon as you put on the skirt. The optimal way to hem would be to have someone pin-mark the hems separately as you are wearing it--with you holding the top layer up while they pin the lining, then dropping the skirt down to mark the main fabric.

    If you don't have anyone to pin-mark your hem (I've recruited a hubby, teenage son, etc.) and you don't have a dress form, you can get reasonable results from taping the waistband to a wall and using the pattern piece to give you the shape of the original hem (if pattern skirt hems usually work for you).

    I think Threads had an article within the last year about about how bias-cut garments and dealing with their special construction issues--very useful. If all else fails, take a look at the current Spring fashions with their multiple layers of sheers, each a different length, many with the linings peeking out from beneath the top layer! Good luck!

  2. mem1 | | #2

    I have made skirts like this and I have found that lining them with a tube of light stretch fabric cut   about 6 inches shorter than the hem of the top layer and then done with a lettuce rolled hem on the overlocker.This looks nice and emphasizes the sheer nature of the top layer which floats longer than the lining.. The top layer I let hang for a week with pegs hanging off the hem acting as weights this allows the bias to stretch as much as possible . I then put the garment on my dress form and use a ruler  standing perpendicular to the floor  and measure around from the floor to the hem length I want .Mark this with pins and then trim it to that level.You will find that the center front and back will have significantly more to trim off them as these are on the true bias.

    I then use a rolled hem on the sheer layer . I use the overlocker for this . If you use the rolled hemming foot then do the little sections which run over the seams and tack them first . This will make it easier. I HATE rolled hemming feet though.You could also do a baby hem  which is what was done pre overlockers I think.

    1. jane8760 | | #4

      Thanks everyone!  What great advice.  I really appreciate all your responses.  I will give the hem another try!  I will not be defeated!



      1. stitchmd | | #5

        If you have an edgestitch or topstitch foot you could try that too. Pressure on the edge of the bias fabric can stretch it as you sew and these feet have a guide edge that the fabric edge runs along, with less pressure from the top. It is worth trying out all the suggested techniques on some bias cut scraps. Since they haven't been hung they will behave even worse than the skirt, so whatever they do the skirt will be a little easier. You also want to minimize how many times you stitch and rip out the skirt fabric. Lotsa luck.

  3. Elisabeth | | #3

    I made three of these skirts last year. They have two seams and an elastic waist, but only two layers, georgette and rayon. Try stay stitching once around the hem about 1/4 inch in from the raw edge keeping the fabric relaxed. Turn it up once and press and turn it up again and press, then stitch the hem. Use a regular foot or, better yet, a straight stitch foot and plate if you have them.

    The two fabrics do drape differently and look different on the body and on the table. Do hang them for a day or two first. My georgette underlayer is around 1.5 inches shorter when I wear it. I seem to remember that I had to cut that again after I hemmed it because it was showing and I only had to cut one side shorter.

    These are great summer skirts. One warning though, check and see how short the skirt gets when you sit down since the bias gives sideways and takes from length! Mine are knee length but when I get in my car they are minis. Glad I didn't make minis.

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