Monday, May 9, 2016

Tutorial: Tiny Machine Hem for Sheer Fabrics

Some of you asked me to show how I achieve a narrow machine hem on a sheer fabric. I learned this technique back in the early 80s and I'm not even sure from where, but I did not originate it. The finished hem, as tiny as it is, contains three rows of stitching. This adds the tiniest bit of weight to the hem, to a very nice effect.

It has been suggested (in the comments) that this technique originally appeared in a Threads article many years ago. That may be where I learned it as I was a voracious Threads reader back in the 80s. One reader remembers that it was attributed to Calvin Klein. Maybe someone can look it up in their Threads Archive and let me know!

I rushed to get these pics after work and before I lost the daylight.

Step 0: Prepare and press fabric. I rough cut this strip very quickly which is why it's a bit ragged.

Step 1: Run a line of machine stitching. Press. (Press at every step!)

Step 2: Fold the raw edge under, with the row of stitches just slightly towards the back side. This is called favoring the seam or, in this case, favoring the right side of the garment. Run another row of machine stitching just along the edge—as close to the edge as you can while keeping it at a consistent distance from the edge. In order to make this process easier, I move the needle position closer to the edge of the fabric. Press.

Step 3: Trim the raw edge, as close as you can to the stitching. Go slowly. This is a good time to use your duckbilled scissors, if you have them. I don't know where mine are, so I used my Kai scissors. Press.

Gingher Duckbilled Scissors

Trimming complete. Again, I was in a rush.

Step 4: Turn the hem under again, as close as you can. I don't use pins. With practice, you can get the finished hem to be 1/16th to 1/8th of an inch. Run a final line of stitching to secure the hem. Press.

Completed hem. I did this in a rush, so it's not my narrowest hem.

I also used this technique here.

If you want to use this technique on chiffon, first stiffen it with Perfect Sew or liquid starch. I am a fan of Perfect Sew and have blogged about it.

Also, I did not serge the seams on my duster. Serging adds a lot of thread and makes a seam more obvious in a sheer fabric. I used a traditional seam for sheer fabrics: I stitched a normal seam, then I stitched a second row of stitches 1/8th of an inch from the first seam. I then trimmed very close to the second row of stitching. This results in a more subtle seam.

Thanks for all of your kind feedback on my duster!