All you need to know to hem fluttery fabrics …
Oh, the fun of all things summer! Cookouts, lemonade, flip flops and lightning bugs. There’s something almost magical about it. And the weddings, lots of weddings, with laces and chiffons and all the fluttery fabrics. Somehow, they’re both elegant and carefree all at the same time. Until you have to figure out the best way to hem fluttery summer fabrics, then it can be a little scary!
I have to admit, last month I was given a chiffon wedding gown to hem and even after all the years of rolled hems and alterations, I was a bit nervous that I would mess it up somewhere. Good thing there’s no pressure when it’s pretty much the most important dress a girl will wear!
My big concern was that the hem would try to roll out as I’ve had them do in the past when I used my rolled hem foot. I was so excited with this method that I’ve since used it to hem a knit cardigan and it worked like a charm. This weekend I have the honor of witnessing this sweet bride and her new husband make their wedding vows, So today seems like the right day to share the hard-learned tips I’ve discovered along the way.
A rolled hem without a rolled hem foot
If you’re fortunate enough to have a rolled hem foot, then you know how easy it is to make a small hem for napkins, handkerchiefs and the like. But a narrow hem on an A-line chiffon gown is a different story. Even when you’re extremely careful, there will be missed spots and then the tendency for the finished hem to try to roll out. It’s not pretty y’all!
So, when it comes to chiffon and other lightweight fabrics, or even uncooperative knits, there’s an almost fail-proof way to create a narrow hem.
It does take a little more time than using a rolled hem foot, but once you try it but, you’ll be so pleased with the results and the simplicity of it that you may find yourself searching for other things to finish with a narrow hem. Seriously!
Pinning the Hem
Mark a line about 3/8” – 1/2” below your new hemline and fold your fabric under on that line. (Fyi – some of these pictures are for the slinky underlining on a chiffon gown)
You can lightly press it, using a low setting and a handkerchief over your fabric to ensure that you don’t burn the chiffon.
The pink tape around the seam gauge was my own reminder of how much I wanted to turn up the hem. It’s a quick help when the seam gauge slider is missing or the hem is too deep to use the slider.
Stitching the Hem
Next, stitch 1/8″ – 1/4″ from the folded edge, as close as possible without going off the edge of the fabric.
TAKE YOUR TIME on this step. You want to trim as close as possible, being careful not to clip the fabric above the seam line.
Instead, pull the top threads from the first and last stitches to the back of your fabric and tie them off. This way you won’t even have the visual bulk of extra stitching on your finished hem.
Hopefully, my rolled hem mistakes over the years will help save you a bit of time and frustration when you need to make a rolled hem without a rolled hem foot.