Hemming tricky knits
The merino french terry that I recent sewed of M6992 (View D) is a delicious fabric, but I knew it had the potential to stretch out when hemming. I therefore threw all my hemming tricks at it. For those who are interested, I’ve recreated the steps below:
Step One: Stablise The Hem
I’m a big fan of stay tape, and my favourite is Emma Seabrooke’s SewKeysE Knit Stay Tape. This product is getting harder and harder to source in Australia, but you can make your own stay tape or your local fabric store may sell Vilene Stay Tape, in a few different widths and colours, by the metre.
Stay tape is fusible on one side (the rougher side) and is applied with dry (or low steam) medium heat. Always test on a scrap of your fabric first.
Apply the stay tape to the raw edge of your hem. I trimmed the width of my stay tape to 1/4″ (7mm) which is the approximate width of overlocking.
Please note, stay tape does exactly as the name suggests… it holds the fabric in a set position so it doesn’t stretch out. Please don’t apply stay tape to hems that require the ability to be stretched. I learnt this the hard way several years ago when sewing leggings for my girls… they couldn’t get their feet through the leg openings!
Step Two: Overlock The Raw Edge
Overlock the raw edge of your hem. You can skip this step if your fabric is not prone to fraying.
Step Three: Glue The Hem
I love hemming tape as much as I love stay tape! What is hemming tape you ask? It’s glue backed paper.
Vliesofix (sometimes known as Bondaweb) is my product of choice. It comes in three different widths… 1/4″ (6mm), 3/8″ (10mm) and 1″ (25mm) and I use the T10 and T25 (pictured above) the most.
To apply the hemming tape:
a) Use the tape matching your required hem width. On the wrong side of the fabric, iron the tape to the edge of the hem (smooth side up, rough side down) using a dry (or low steam) medium heat.
b) With the tape still in place, fold the hem up, using the edge of the tape as your guide, and iron in place.
On the right side, you now have a defined hem fold line.
c) Remove the backing paper.
d) Finger press the hem in place. The glue should still be a bit warm and tacky, but if it isn’t, you can jump to the next step.
e) Iron the hem to fully activate the glue.
f) If any adjustments are required… reheat the glue with your iron, gently separate the fabrics, re-position them and re-iron them in place.
Step 4: Stitch The Hem
Once the hem is glued in place, the hemming is oh so easy.
I’m a little big fan of securing hems with a twin needle. I’ve had great success with using woolly nylon thread in my bobbin, a trick I learnt from Shelley.
As you can see, a using little bit of washi tape as a guide makes stitching from the right side and catching your hem underneath a breeze.
Step Five: Admire
Now you can just sit back and admire your perfect hem… inside and out!