How to Mark and Sew a Hem

Sewing a hem thumbnail

I recently finished Gabriel’s crib skirt (finally; yay!), and there was a LOT of hemming. I REALLY don’t like hemming. I always end up making it lopsided. However, I decided to approach it a bit differently for this project and this method worked really well for me! (If you’re wondering how the finished product came out I’m afraid you’ll just have to wait. I’m saving pictures for my coming-eventually nursery tour. Consider this my second sneak peak. If you’d like to see the first one check out this post.)

So the first thing I did was set up my iron and ironing board. Then I laid out my fabric and placed my pattern on top. I moved it up a bit from the edge and marked it at the fold line.



Then I moved it up a bit more, made sure it was aligned with the edge of the fabric, and marked again.



Now, here’s were I almost hit a snag. This is where I sewed the border trim piece to the body of the skirt, and as you can see the edges weren’t quite even. If I lined up my pattern piece with the edge my new marks wouldn’t be even with the first ones.



Enter my trusty printer paper! (I used this thing a lot; you’ll see). I lined it up with my first marks and made my new one.



Then slid it up and repeated.



Now the instructions called for me to fold the fabric over 1 inch, then fold again on the pattern’s fold line. So next I went in and marked 1 inch from the edge.



Repeat a little higher.



Use your trusty paper again to line up and continue marking just like you did the first time. Now we need to press your hems. You’ll want something with a straight edge that is very thin to press the fabric over. I used my trusty printer paper. I’m not necessarily recommending this since it could potentially be a fire hazard. That’s what I had though, so that’s what I used. Line up your flat edge with your marks at the bottom of your fabric.



Fold your fabric over and press (being careful to avoid the straight edge).



You may need to stop and move your straight edge up if it isn’t as long as your project.



When you’re done remove your edge and press again to make sure your press is crisp.



Remember how the trim piece was longer? That will be a problem for the second fold if you don’t take care of it. Check and make sure your fabric doesn’t overlap your second set of marks. If it is you’ll need to trim it.





No more overlap! 🙂



Repeat the ironing steps for the second fold.





Being sure to line up with your marks.





And don’t forget to press again after removing your edge.



Now just pin it down and you’re ready to sew! I flipped mine over because I wanted my top thread on the front of my work. Be sure to decide something like that before you pin.



Marking and pressing may seem like a lot of extra work, but in the long run it makes everything so much easier, and ultimately saves time since you’re far less likely to have to rip out stitches. Also, the pressing holds everything in place and makes it easier to pin, as well as making everything look more polished and professional when it’s done. I really love the way my crib skirt turned out because of the ironing! (And that’s coming from someone who studiously avoided pressing in her sewing projects for years. :P)

How do you handle hem sewing? Think you’ll use this method? Have an easier/quicker way? I’d love to hear your thoughts!



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