Whether it’s sewing a hem on your trousers, putting the finishing touches to your favourite denim cut-offs, or creating the perfect finish for that skirt you’ve been working on, sewing a hem is one of those good, old-fashioned basics, that everyone needs to know how to do. Get this nailed, and you’re on your way to great things!
A double hem is the most common hem you will find. In fact it's so common it's usually just called a hem. It's called 'double' because you fold and press it once, and then do it all again so that the raw edge of the fabric is all tucked away, stopping any sneaky threads from escaping and ruining your finish.
Something that’s useful to know, is that when you’re grappling with your fabric, trying to fold that perfect straight line, giving the fabric a nice firm pull will show you where it wants to fold. This is the best way to find your hemline.
Step by step
Press the hem. Fold your hem over, 1 - 1.5cm or ⅝ of an inch is the standard width, and give it a good iron to press it in to place.
Fold and press again. Fold over again, and give it another press. This ensures that the raw edge is tucked away nice and snuggly, so none of those threads can get out.
Pin it in place. You can use as many pins as you like to help you feel like you’ve got it secure, but you shouldn’t need them more than 10cm / 3” apart.
If you place the pins vertical to the hem, then you can just sew right on over them with your machine.
Sew. Using the foot as your guide, sew a straight line along the edge of your hem. You can take the pins out as you get to them, or just sew right on over them.
Trim and finish. Trim off any loose ends, and you’re finished!
If you’re wondering how to sew a hem around the bottom of a trouser leg or the cuff of a sleeve with your sewing machine, usually there’s a piece that you can detach from the base of your machine that leaves a narrow section that you can tuck your cuff over, and sew around nice and easily. The only things that won’t fit over it are baby clothes!
If you want to sew a hem by hand, or sew a hem without it showing, then we have a full guide for that too.