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What is my worst sewing fear?

user-216215 | Posted in Talk With Us on

Is the hems, the hems of pants and  on general garments, not getting the topstitching even from the edge, allowance not even, and inseam and outseam rising up over the bumps. Help!


  1. sewelegant | | #1

    I think I can relate to your hem-o-phobia.  When I first started sewing I can remember the same issues you mentioned but now I do not seem to have a problem.

    1.  I do not bother measuring from the floor with a yardstick on skirt hems anymore.  When you buy ready to wear - who did they measure?  Unless you have a problem with one leg shorter than the other, or you have sewn something on the bias, it is not going to matter a great deal and your hem will be quite satisfactory if you have taken care to cut out your pattern along the cutting line.  Turn up the hem the amount recommended.  If it's 2" I will use the little 6" ruler with the sliding marker and mark 2" with a pin all around the hem... first at the side seams then in the middle of the front and back then in the middle of those sections, etc. until I have enough pins to hold the shape and doing it like this makes it come out evenly.  I like to take it to the ironing board then and press the hem.  If it is a full circular hem where you have a lot of hem to ease, the steam from the iron will help to shrink the excess in a bit so it will lie flatter.  I almost always use my serger now to finish off the raw edge and then sew the hem down either by topstitching or blind hemming.

    2.  To make sure the stitching is even from the edge all around, I stitch with the hem edge lined up along a seam guide either one on the sewing machine bed (they usually are good up to 1 inch) or with some tape applied to the machine bed at the width I want.  By watching this edge you will always have an even topstitched hem.  There may besome variables on the inside edge, but who will ever see that?

    3.  This works for any width hem. 

    4.  For the side seam bumps... I have rehemmed many kids jeans over time and this works like a charm... you need to sew over those bumps evenly in order for the machine to take a proper stitch.  In order to do this you need to buy one of those gadgets made for this (jean-a-ma-jig is one) or you can make something yourself like I did.  I folded over some of the excess jeans fabric to make my own "bump".  Take a small piece of fabric (about 4" square, maybe) and fold it over and over until it is about as thick as the bump.  You can stitch over it if you want to keep the layers together.  This new "tool" you made can now be placed either in front of or in back of the foot to keep it at the proper level as you sew evenly over the side seam bump.  It needs to be in back as you approach the bump and then moved to the front to keep the foot sewing at an even level until you get past the bump.

    1. User avater
      JunkQueen | | #2

      I am embarrassed to admit how many years -- many, many years -- I struggled with those seam bumps before discovering that simple solution to get around the problem.

      1. user-216215 | | #4


        Now that works!

    2. user-216215 | | #3


      Thank you!!! My efforts are not useless, I will try again, the same procedures, and hopefully it will work this time.  Thanks again Marlece

      Edited 5/17/2008 4:08 pm ET by Want To Sew

    3. sewingkmulkey | | #5

      Ditto all your suggestions!  You always have such good advice for the inexperienced sewer and your explanations are so clear!


      1. sewelegant | | #6

        Thank you.  I find it interesting that almost all the techniques I have learned and find useful are the same ones Sandra Betzina demonstrates on her tv shows.  I had heard of her, but did not see her show until sometime in the 90's when we moved to this area  and got cable for the first time.  She was on HGTV (I think that was it).  Everything she did was just the way I had been doing it.  She must have gleaned her knowledge from the same places I did, but that was numerous sources since I read everything I could find that interested me and purchased many magazines and books over the years.  Palmer and Pletch was a favorite and so was Nancy Zieman.  I loved Threads and Vogue Patterns magazines.  The area I am exploring now, but without much enthusiasm, is fitting.  It seems like I am not alone!  It is a problem because of my matronly figure and I think I am in denial!  I did finally draft a pair of pants from the Connie Crawford pattern making manual (I went to a seminar she gave in this area a while back) and by following a crotch depth measurement idea posted in one of these threads, I have come up with a fairly satisfactory pattern, for now anyway.  That manual was not cheap, but I have spent $100 on clothing that ended up not being worn so maybe it was a good investment.

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