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How to Sew a Rolled Hem

    • 15 posts
    January 16, 2014 2:53 AM EST

    Learning how to sew a rolled hem isn't too difficult, and can be a valuable skill for any sewer. Rolled hems are a great way to give your project a finished look without a lot of bulk. These hems work best on lightweight fabrics, such as silks, chiffons, and lightweight cottons. This technique is ideal for things like scarves, skirts, tablecloths and other projects where a large hem would be too cumbersome. Rolled hems can be done by hand, or on a sewing machine.

    By Hand
    When cutting the fabric for your project, allow a little extra at the hem edge. Baste a row of stitches at the place you want the hem to be, to act as a guide. Trim the fabric within a half-inch or a little less of the guide stitches. Begin carefully rolling the fabric down to the guide stitches, pinning in place as you go. If you wish, you can iron lightly to help hold the roll in place. Next, thread a small needle with fine thread. Use small, neat, even stitches to stitch to roll in place.

    By Machine
    Many sewing machines have a rolled-hem foot available as an optional accessory. This can be one of the more useful accessories for your machine, particularly if you enjoy working with more delicate fabrics.

    Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing the foot onto your machine. You may need to change the needle in your machine as well, as delicate fabrics require a smaller needle.

    Thread your machine with fine thread in the color of your choice. To prepare your fabric for sewing, start at the first edge and roll a small hem, making sure the fabric is folded over twice. Pin in place. Feed the fabric into the machine, lining the rolled hem into the scroll on the foot. Remove the pin. Hold the fabric taut as you begin sewing, guiding the fabric so that the fabric rolls into the scroll as you sew. Continue along the entire edge of the fabric, working slowly and carefully.

    Mastering the rolled hem takes some practice, but once you master this technique, you'll find it quite useful. It might be a good idea to practice on scrap fabric the first few times, until you get the hang of it.