For my sewing tutorials I try to spend time explaining in depth how to create each project, not leaving out any details. But sometimes I wonder, when I simply write, “Hem the bottom of the shirt”, are there people out there who have no idea what I’m talking about? How would someone hem a shirt? In that case, I’ve failed y’all!
So, this is the first of many installments of my learning to sew – “It’s Sew Easy” – classes! I want to make sure that if I tell you to sew a dart into a shirt, this doesn’t turn into a game of throwing pointy objects… though you will need a needle for it…
Ok. What is a hem? This is the finished edge on any article of clothing you own. The fabric is folded over at the bottom of your shirts, pants, and the ends of your sleeves and sewn down to stay put. In some cases, you will see the cut edge of the fabric on the inside of your clothing since the seam was finished with a serger. Other times, the clothing was folded over twice to complete a hem with hidden fabric edges. I complete most of my hems with the double folded fabric method since I don’t own a serger. But if anyone wants to donate one to me, I will gladly show you how to use it!
Hems are important because they complete every look you will create! Without a hem, a clothing project will look like a craft project. The only time it is acceptable to not include a hem is if:
- You are using a lace fabric and you cut around the pattern so that you have a pretty floral edge
- You use a fabric with absolutely no shedding like a neoprene, though I still like to see some sort of finishing on the edge
- You are intentionally creating a fringed edge
This is probably the most important sewing tutorial you will need for most of my projects since it is included on all of them. Close seconds include threading your machine and creating a bobbin, but we’ll get to that later… Scroll below to see the full tutorial.
How to Hem a Shirt (or anything)
Thread to match your clothing item
Iron (not necessary but recommended most of the time)
1. Take the raw edge of the bottom of your shirt and fold it under once about 1/4″. Secure this with pins and run an iron over the fold to keep it in place. Ironing the seam makes for a much cleaner hem. Remove the pins and fold this edge over 1/4″ once more so that the raw edge of the fabric no longer is showing anywhere. This keeps the raw edge from shedding all over when you wash the shirt. Pin this fold and run an iron over it to keep it in place.
2. Set up your sewing machine with your thread to match your clothing item. Start at the side seam of the shirt (just to keep the start and end of the seam at a non-focal point) and sew a 1/2″ straight stitch a little less that 1/4″ from the edge of the bottom of the shirt to secure your fold. Sew backwards over this stitching in order to create a knot. Continue stitching forwards again and keep the stitches a little less than a 1/4″ from the edge of the fabric, pulling pins out as you go so you don’t sew over them. Continue all the way around the bottom of the shirt until you come back to your starting point. Then stitch backwards about 1/2″ to create a final knot. Cut the threads and you’re done!
Use this new skill to conquer basically any of my sewing tutorials, with some of the simplest being this maxi skirt or this pencil skirt. Check back weekly to learn a new skill to help you out with my, or anyone else’s, sewing tutorials!