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Please help with narrow hemmer!

lafate | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hi everyone,

I’m new here and happy to have found you! I was unable to sew for years due to a shoulder injury and have just started sewing again, (a few months after surgery). I bought a new Brother XL5700. I’ve been exploring the different options and have been successful with the with such as options as the 1-step buttonholer, and the blind hem stitch.

BUT – I’m desperately trying to sew an Easter dress and want to narrow-hem the flounced sleeves, the 3+ yards of ruffles, and the hem of a slip to go along with it. It’s a very narrow hemmer but it’s all I have for now. I’ve gone through your archives but I’m still at a loss. I’m using a basic cotton/cotton blend. I don’t have enough fabric to make a mistake; I had bought the pattern and fabric last year, (funny, because I couldn’t even sew then), but my daughter grew a few inches taller. She’s expecting to wear the dress this Sunday and for an upcoming school concert.

If you have an idea for another method of hemming, I’m open to that, too. As long as I can get it small, neat and even.

Thank you!

Regards,
lafate


Edited 3/24/2005 12:40 pm ET by lafate

Replies

  1. CarolFresia | | #1

    Lafate,

    If you're having trouble getting your narrow hemmer to do what you want (which happens to a lot of us, esp. if you're hemming a curved edge), you can try this "baby hem" technique:

    1. Straight-stitch along the hem edge, about 1/8 inch. below where the hem fold will be. Then, fold the raw edge of the hem to the wrong side of the garment, just enough so you can see that first line of stitching you sewed. You can press this edge, but it's not necessary and takes extra time.

    2. Now, straight-stitch again, either directly on top of, or just to the left of, the first row of stitching. You now have two rows of stitching visible on the wrong side of the hem, and one row on the right side. With applique scissors or small, sharp embroidery scissors, trim the raw edge of the hem allowance away very close to the stitching.

    3. The last step is to fold that stitched hem over one more time to the wrong side of the garment (so you've basically got a rolled hem), and sew along the stitching line you see (or just to the left of it). Again, on the inside you'll see two rows of stitching, and there will be one row on the outside.

    That's it--even on a muslin-weight fabric you can get a pretty narrow hem, maybe 1/8 in. or less. In step 1, it'd good if the hem allowance is maybe 1/2 to 5/8 inch, so there's enough fabric to work with, but not so much that you can effectively fold the edge over.

    Good luck!

    Carol

    1. lafate | | #2

      Hi Carol,Thank you. I'm trying this out and it does seem to work. I'll post again later if/when I have success. I had always just tried to press a narrow hem, and then press it over again and then sew - but the results have never been consisent enough.Just one question about the curved edges: Would it be helpful to use a looser stitch for the first row of stitching and draw it in a bit on the really curvy sections?Thankfully hoping this dress will get done! ;-)Regards,
      lafate

      1. CarolFresia | | #3

        I don't know that drawing in the first pass of stitching is necessary, although you can try if it seems to need it. Usually the fold is so narrow that you can manage without easing that way. If you're having trouble with that, you could trim the hem allowance a little, although if it gets much narrow than about 3/8 in., it's a bit harder to handle when you're doing the second pass of stitching.

        But you're right--pressing a rolled hem is just about impossible. It's a lot easier to sew it without pressing. Another trick I've heard of (never tried it myself) is to use fusible thread in the upper thread or bobbin--whichever one is going to be inside that first fold. You can them press the first fold into place before doing the second line of stitching, and the fusible thread will hold it there as you sew.

        Carol

      2. FitnessNut | | #4

        This may be too late to help, but since the hem is so narrow you don't need to draw in any ease at all. It may seem like there is excess fabric when you are sewing along the first fold, but after you trim it all will be fine.

        1. lafate | | #5

          Thank you Sandy and Carol. I have had more success than failure on that baby hem. My ruffles are neat and tidy and I've just basted my first section on. It was great to have a method that wasn't too time-consuming; there's over 200 inches of ruffle on the dress (before gathering), and about 150 inches of hem on the slip.I did not have so much luck with the flouncy sleeve as the circle was very small and this is a new skill. I sent a relative out to get some satiny material for the belt/bow and she got enough that I can line the flounces. I have a lot of doll clothes to make so I'll work at perfecting the new skill.:-)
          Regards,
          lafate

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