Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Temporary Hems

grrrace | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Hello everyone,
I have an urgent matter at hand. I need to hem a gown for a winter formal on Sat. night but the dress is borrowed so the hem needs to be temporary. I haven’t actually seen the dress yet so I don’t know for sure even what type of fabric its made out of. I thought I would get this query in early so I had a better chance of getting responses.

I’ve been told its “satiny” and has no lining. How can I make a hem that you won’t be able to see the evidence of after its taken out? Do they make temporary fusible hem tape? If it is satin, do you think i could get away with using a very thin needle so that the pricks wouldn’t be visible? Does anyone have any other ideas?


  1. enidshapiro | | #1

    Only thing I can think of is to use large basting stitches on inside, but just pin pricks on the outside.  You can always test a small piece, take out the stitches, and steam it to see if it shows. 

    1. grrrace | | #2

      thats exactly what I was thinking. Only, All I have is a $12 black & decker iron so steaming may not be easy. I was thinking of putting a pressing cloth or towel on top of the dress and ironing over that. Does that sound like it would work?

  2. SewTruTerry | | #3

    It also depends on the size of the hem that you will need to make if it is over 1 inch in depth I would actually take it up in stages.  Kind of like the hem finishes that Cynthia Guffee makes where you actually take a stitch in the hem then in the dress area if you know what I mean but never in both of them at the same time or the same place.  If the hem is more than 1 inch you would do the technique at about 1/2 inch than at the 1 inch mark.  Is this as clear as mud?

    1. grrrace | | #4

      I was with you until you got to the part about if it was over 1 inch. I'm not sure exactly how much I'll need to hem it, but I don't think it's a lot. If it is a lot, are you saying fold it over twice, so that the hemmed area would have 3 layers of thickness? Or that it would have 2 layers of thickness but stiches at 1/2 inch and at 1 inch? Um...its hard to talk about without drawing a picture or something!

      What about that temporary adhesive quilting spray? I wonder if that would hold. It sure would be awful, though, if it fell down halfway thru the night!

      1. enidshapiro | | #5

        I was thinking also of masking tape.  About the iron though, all you have to do is push the steam button, and hold it about two inches above the fabric.

        1. grrrace | | #6

          yeah...there's no steam button. It sends out steam only when you turn it up to a certain heat. This thing is very very basic. Boyfriend has not taken hints yet.

          Masking tape is not a bad idea...I would probably need a really wide one. Heres another kind of wacky idea I had: velcro squares with adhesive backing. it may leave little bits of sticky behind but it would be on the inside of the dress so it wouldn't be as bad. What do you think about that?

          1. stitchmd | | #7

            Masking tape and velcro would be likely to leave adhesive behind and the velcro would show through as shapes. Try painter's tape, the blue stuff, that holds well but pulls off easily leaving nothing behind.

          2. enidshapiro | | #8

            That's a really good idea, but, again, I'd test it.  Might leave alot of stickiness, and your friend might not like it.

            About steam iron, can still hold it away from fabric and steam it when it reaches a certain heat.

            A good iron is essential to sewing.  Well worth the investment. 

  3. grrrace | | #9

    The dress is a light weight poly and rayon charmeuse kind of thing. I think the weave is loose enough that if i use this thin beading needle i have, you won't be able to tell afterwards. Unfortunately, due to the weight of the fabric, any tapes or adhesives are out. But I think I'll be fine sewing it.

    Now I just need to find a thread that matches irridescent coral. :)

    1. SewTruTerry | | #10

      If you are going to use the thread try using a neutral grey with smaller stitches on the portion of the dress that is on the outside. 

      Also using masking tape either kind and steam is a big mess the steam will allow the glue on the tape to melt and ooze on everything making for a difficult time getting it out.  If you really have a small hem that has to be taken up such as 1/2 inch I might actually suggest shoes with bigger heels.  But it that won't work and you want to use a tape may I suggest using a product called Magic Tape I believe Prim Dritz puts it out. It was originally used by quilters to secure their 1/4 inch seams in difficult fabrics. It is really sticky and will wash out I believe it may even dry-clean out as well and there should be no problem hitting it with steam, just don't over  do it as you may disolve it before you want it to.

      As far as the method of hemming that I spoke of earlier no you do not fold over 2 times you actually fold up the amount that you need to.  Let's say that you need to take up 2 inches, then fold up the 2 inches and then fold back 1/2 of the 2 inch hem so that you have 3 layers of the dress material in your left hand( if you are right handed) between thumb and fore finger. With you right hand and needle and thread you will take a stitch in the folded portion of fabric in your left hand.  Then advance aproximately 1/2 inch and take a stitch on the fabric that will be on the outside of the dress. Then advance 1/2 inch and take another stitch on the fold.  Continue all the way around the dress until finished but take care not to pull the thread tightly or you will get puckers.  Then after going around the dress fold the remaining fabric back up like you are going to do a regular hem and repeat the same method alternating stitching on the hem and then the dress wrong side.  If you are left handed just reverse the directions.  Remember that the first fold is what is going to distribute the wait of the hem and not cause any puckers to form.  Do you have a blind hem stitch on your machine?  If so then the folding of the material is similiar and that should make it easier to understand.

      One other thing if the dress is a poly blend take care not to press too much or you will leave an imprint or crease that you may not be able to get out.

      Good luck and let us know what method you choose and how it works out.

      1. grrrace | | #11

        For the life of me I couldn't visualize the method you were describing.  i had to hem the dress about 3 inches so I just folded it over twice and stiched it with tiny stiches on the outside and longer ones on the inside.  I did do like you recomended and took the stiches on the outside at different places then the ones on the inside, which seemed to minimalize the visibility of the stiches.  Unfortunately, due to the light weight of the fabric, you can see the shape of the excess fabric underneath, but I don't really think I had any choice there.  It was kind of difficult easing in the extra fullness, but I think it turned out relatively well.  The client's mother just picked up the dress and she was very pleased - she paid me more than I asked for.  Its too bad I didn't have more time, I would have liked to experiment with some of the temporary hem tapes I saw when I went to get the thread.

        Anyway, thanks for eveyone's advice and suggestions!

        1. SewTruTerry | | #12

          Glad it worked out.

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All