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How To Sew Seams And Make Hems

How to Sew Seams and Make Hems


To seam means the stitching line that joins two fabrics together. Sometimes you can use it as a decorative feature, but its primary function is to create and form the structure of your clothing.

When doing the seams of any clothing, ensure that it is neatly and beautifully done, because there lies the final look of your clothing.

You don’t need to be scared to make mistakes, get your seam ripper and remove the stitches if you don’t get the desired look, and start all over again. It would take practice, but you will eventually get there.

Plain/Open Seam

This is the most basic seam to make, and you can decide to use your hands or a machine. To create this look, all you need to do is place one fabric on top of the other with their right sides and sew along the seam line a stitch line. Make sure to leave an allowance of ½ inch on the edge. 

See our detailed step-by-step tutorial on open seam.

French Seam

This is more complicated than the plain seams. For a French seam, you need to use two stitch lines to make your seam allowance carefully enclosed inside. Once you perfect the art, you would realize that it’s an excellent seam finish option for delicate materials. See our detailed step-by-step tutorial on French seams.

Check out more seams tutorials here.

seams and hems

How to Make Hems

Regardless of how simple your clothing is, you need to hem the edges. The only way you can escape not hemming your skirts, pants or shirts is if you are looking to achieve the frayed or selvedge look, which is cool. 

Sewing hems using a machine is extremely fast and exciting, although you can sometimes decide to sew your hems using your hands.

Before we discuss how to make hems, there are some things you need to consider:

  • Only sew your hems after you have done all stitching.
  • Make sure you mark correctly.
  • If you decide to adjust an existing hem, thoroughly pick out the old stitches to get a clean look.
  • Ensure you finish the edges of your fabric using any edge finishes. You can check our post on different fabric edge finishes.
  • When using lining, cut it one inch shorter than the main fabric.

measuring cloth

Get the Width of the Hem

The width of your hem is all up to you; you can go for a narrow or wide hem.

When doing a wide hem, 3 to 8 inches for a skirt or dress is acceptable. If you are sewing a wide hem on a curved edge, doing a faced hem would be suitable. In some cases, you can ease the edges using a basting stitch, and well, I do that a lot.

If you are going using a thin fabric, then a narrow hem would be perfect (rolled hem with rolling foot).

How to Easily Mark the Hem

You need first to be sure where you want the hem to be and then mark. Wondering how? Use a basting stitch, but if you feel it’s too much work, you can use a pin. When using a pin, horizontally press it every few inches, and make sure it is placed right above where you want your hem to be.

Interface the Hem. How?

Cut out an inch of hem allowance and use a ¾ inch interfacing strip. Position it ¼ inch away from the edge of the fabric and fuse it just right there. Fold it up the interfaced hem and make stitches on the ditch of the seams. The reason behind this is so your interface is more anchored. 

Types of Hems

Narrow Rolled Hem

You can do this with the narrow hemming foot, because it automatically folds the edge of the fabric into a double fold, and that’s 1/8 inches. For lightweight fabrics, I would pick this type of hem over and over again.

Blind Hem

Just like the name implies, it is not visible from the right side of the fabric. I use this majorly for pants, and once you perfect it, you would love to keep using it.

For a more detailed tutorial on how to make different hems, you can check it out here.

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