It’s interesting how projects evolve. In Hem My Skirt, Part 1, my main objective was to cut off the stained lower edge of my white linen skirt, to at least make it wearable (albeit 6.5″ shorter). The challenge was to mark and cut the skirt to its new length— said skirt being bias-cut, with a curving, A-line-verging-on-semi-circular hem. End of Part 1 found us with a newly-trimmed skirt, hanging for a couple of days before hemming (a necessity when working with bias-cut garments).
However, once I started working on preparing the trimmed-and-hung skirt for the sewing of the new hem, I realized that, along with getting rid of the stained part of the old hem, I could also improve on the finishing of the machine-stitched hem. Here’s how it looked originally, folded under twice, then sewn:
As I mentioned in Part 1, when working with a bias-cut garment, careful and minimal handling is my main goal; the more you work with it, especially with a cut edge like the hem on my skirt, the more it’s liable to stretch out. This is most likely the reason for the rippling effect on the edge of the original hem (above photo). And for me, this does not create a finely-finished look. So the goal now, when stitching the new hemline, is to improve on the original finishing. (My mother always said to leave things better than how I found them.)
Here’s how I decided to handle it:
1) Carefully serge the raw hem edge;
2) Turn up and press a 1/4″ hem (about twice the width of the serged edge);
3) Machine-stitch the new hem with a fairly long stitch (stitch length = 3 on my machine)
Steps 1 & 2: Serge, fold, and press. (This is a basic 3-thread serged edge.)
Step 3: Sew. I did this very slowly, with the wrong side facing me, using the line on the presser foot to the right of the right-hand red mark as a guide for the folded edge of the hem. Because I’m working with a combination of a bias cut and a rather loosely-woven fabric, I chose a stitch length of 3. (Most machines default to 2.5.)
Here’s how the new hem looks on the inside:
So after starting with the simple goal of removing a stained part of the skirt so that I could wear it again, this project turned into more of an exercise in improving on its original state, specifically in the stitching of the new hem. I do think it looks so much better! And I might add also that it was less work overall— yes, it had to be stitched twice (counting the serging), but it only had to be pressed and folded once. This is significant to those of us who’ve burned our fingers doing those twice-folded narrow hems.
And now, ladies and gentlemen of the blogosphere, I present to you… the all-new (and improved), machine-stitched bias hem!
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September 23, 2014 at 9:41 pm
Is the seged hem done on an ordinary sewing machine please? I’ve used the zig-zag stitch but this looks different. Thanks
September 30, 2014 at 5:47 pm
Hi Anne! The serged hem is done with a serger, not my regular sewing machine. You can use your machine’s zig-zag stitch for the same purpose, though (to finish the raw edges); it will look different than if you used a serger, but it will get the job done!