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Hemming

JackieF | Posted in The Archives on

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  1. JackieF | | #1

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    Maybe everyone but me has master this, but how do you make a narrow hem "turn the corner" i.e. a handkerchief or napkin.The narrow hem foot does a nice job on the straight stretch, but my corners are awful.
    Jackie

    1. silkscape_ | | #2

      *Hi, Jackie!I had to become very familiar with the narrow hemmer foot when I had a contract job involving MANY narrow hems. Whenever possible end the stitching at a corner that already has a narrow hem, rather than start it there. What I mean is it's easier to start at a flat end and end at the bump than visa versa. For a square napkin you should only have to start at a bump once.First, though, a couple tips for ending at the "bump". Trim a bit off the bump corner. Dont' trim as much as you think you'd need to, just a little.As you approach the bump, put some pressure on the bottom layer of the fabric curl. The reason is that the bump will resist going through the foot's curl and what usually happens then is that the feed dogs keep feeding the bottom layer through but the bump gets stuck and pushed off the edge. If you put some pulling tension on that bottom layer the bump has more time to get through the curl. You can also use an awl, seam ripper, or shish-ka-bob stick to help push it through.Even with that, I sometimes have the bump pushed off the edge at the corner. In those cases I simply fray check it, let it dry, and trim!After three sides are done, you'll still have to, on the last side, start (and end) at a bump. Trim it as before. Then you can pre-fold it and place it under the foot and "pop" the fabric into the curl once it gets going.If you are going to make a lot of napkins or other narrow hems, it will pay to learn how to start at the edges without pre-folding and pressing them at the starting end. I got the hang of starting them up by over-exaggerating the way I curve the fabric into the curl at the beginning. What I mean is to pull it way over to the left, makign a sharp point that will fit into the curl of the foot. just until it gets going, then get it back to normal. I'm sorry, its very hard to describe. There was an article in Threads a couple years back that had good pictures on using the narrow hemmer. You could check the online index.also....don't forget, that your hems look much better to anyone else than they do to you. We have a tendency to over inspect and our work adn be overly critical.Let me know if it helps any. good luck!

      1. JackieF | | #3

        *Thanks for replying. Sure sounds like you've been there!Do I understand that you start off the first side and run right off the end and then start again on another side and so forth?Jackie

        1. silkscape_ | | #4

          *Yes, the sides of a four sided napkin would be worked in a counter clockwise fashion. The first pass will just stitch off the edge, but the next three will end at a "bump" where that corner meets the bulk of the hem of the previously stitched side. (Soon, someone will invent something so that we can make quick diagrams on the boards, like the football announcers do to explain plays.)Do you mean do I acutally turn the corner while hemming? NO! Maybe there is a way to do that but I can't conceive it, especially this late at night! Let me know how you do, if the tips help.You might want to just rip some muslin or whatever you don't care for, in to 3" strips and practice, practice, practice. but it'll be worth it! Also, you might find the narrow hemmer useful for sheers. Not only can you hem with it (even circular hems with some practice), but seam with it for a "faux" french seam effect. Also, hemmers come in different widths. The one you are using now is probably 1/8th inch but you can also get 1/4", 1/2" even more I think. I have the 1/4" and find it useful sometimes. (like when the pattern gives you 5/8" allowance for a narrow hem, I just use the 1/4" hemmer.)

          1. JackieF | | #5

            *Thanks Dawn. Your suggestions were great.I got it sort of right on about my fifteenth try. I hope I can get to the point where I have confidence that I'll do it right every time. It took me forever to get to that point with zippers....Jackie

          2. silkscape_ | | #6

            *Jackie,Glad to hear it! It took me at least that many tries. But I was making over 150 items so it was worth it!

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