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Solo hemming

dizzylizzy | Posted in Fitting on

Does anyone have any suggestions for marking a hem if you have no helper? 



  1. Beanhi | | #1

    If you're hemming a skirt, there was a tip in an issue of Threads on this. I think it was to pin a leveled piece of string on each side of a door jam at hem height, dust the string with chalk, wear the skirt and brush against the string to mark the hem.

    There's also a gadget for this same purpose. Not sure what it's called but it stands on the floor and you squeeze a bulb that puffs chalk to mark the hem. I've seen this at JoAnn's in the notion section near the tailor chalks.

    Good luck.

    1. dizzylizzy | | #2

      Yes, I remember that tip now that you've reminded me.  I'll try that.   I have a hem marker thing but not the kind with the chalk bulb.  I think I  would still need a helper.



      1. Teaf5 | | #3

        The recent article on self-marking a hem was interesting, but I could just imagine what a mess I would make with a chalk line taped to a doorway, especially if the phone rang and I forgot that it was there. So here are two ways I might approach this problem:1) recruit a helper-- maybe exchange a plate of cookies with a neighbor or bribe your dh with a treat. My 17-year-old son thinks it is a crazy activity, but he's very, very good at it, and we have lots of laughs while he's helping me.2) If there's absolutely no way you can get anyone to help, perhaps you could put on the skirt, then put on a similar one that is already hemmed to satisfaction over top of it. Smooth down both layers, then safety pin the two together. When you take them off (as one) you could use the finished hem as the guideline for the new hem.I recently made a dress for my daughter, who's away at college, and marked the hem by putting the new dress over an old one and lining up the waistlines. Then I hung the pair from the waist so that all the layers would drape and measured down from the finished hem to the new one. I just mailed it and will find out soon whether this worked!

        1. dizzylizzy | | #4

          That sounds like a good idea as well.  Although wouldn't the bulkiness distort the length somehow?  I should start training my 10 yr. old daughter to help me :)




          1. Teaf5 | | #5

            Ten-year-olds are great at this, as it involves the yardstick and numbers that they're working on in school. Plus, they're relatively easy to bribe....As long as both the waistlines are aligned--maybe with safety pins--I don't think the bulkiness would be a problem. If you found the skirt was a little too long overall, you could always adjust the measurement from the marked line. The critical thing is finding the horizontal of a skirt that's hanging from your body--where it needs to be higher or lower to accommodate the rise of your hip or the hollow of your lower back, for example. The typical hemline is higher on the sides than in the front or back, but your own body shape and fullness may change that one way or the other.Tell us what you find works best!

          2. dizzylizzy | | #6

            I tried both the chalk and the second skirt and found the second skirt method to be the most useful.  With the chalked string, I couldn't get it taut enough and kept pulling it off the wall when I walked into it.  The second skirt method was a lot easier and less time-consuming.

            Thanks for the   suggestions.


          3. Teaf5 | | #8

            I learn so much from others on the forum that I'm glad that I can help out sometimes. Considering others' problems also helps me to look at my own objectively instead of emotionally, the way I'm most likely to!

          4. User avater
            Becky-book | | #10

            A 10 yr old daughter is just the time to start!!  I was 10 when my mom started teaching me to sew.  She is young enough to enjoy "playing" with cloth and won't worry if not every doll dress fits perfectly the first time.  Your solo hemming days should be far in the future!!

            Happy sewing!


        2. MaryinColorado | | #7

          You allways have such great tips.  Thanks for the solo hemming ideas!  I felt the same way about the string across the doorway, with a lab and a Yorkie, I spend enough time on the floor. lol  Mary

          1. Teaf5 | | #9

            I can't imagine the kinds of disasters I might get myself into if I were trying to sew with two dogs in the house!A friend of mine who also lives in Colorado has a Yorkie, and he's a relentless attention-hound; I once spent a full two hours trying to crochet without making eye contact with him, and he spent the entire time at my knee, staring up into my face. I am impressed that you can get anything done.

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