Is a curved hemline really different than straight hems? Yes, the shape does make a difference in the sewing technique you should use. I’ll be demonstrating three different methods you can try. What makes a curved hem tricky? It’s like a circle, so the circumference increases the further out you get. This means you’re trying to fit a greater length of fabric in a smaller circumference. If you attempt to hem the normal way, you might end up with creases, wrinkles or darts.
The first method is easing a hem. At your sewing machine, select the longest stitch length. Baste ¼” away from the raw edge. This is a single layer of fabric, I’m not sewing anything together. Now turn the edge to the wrong side at your hem allowance amount. Press on the bottom folded edge. Turn the top raw edge under at the basting stitch. If you have an area where the fabric is not lying flat, use a needle to gently pull the basting stitches.
You don’t want to pull enough to gather the fabric, instead you want to slightly ease the fabric so it fits the area better. Machine or hand stitch the hem into place by stitching at the same folded edge with the basting stitch. Here’s how it looks on the front and back once the hem is completed. The next method is the rolled hem, which works best for lightweight fabrics.
Stitch at your hemline minus ¼”. So if your hem allowance is 1”, stitch ¾” away from the raw edge using a regular length straight stitch. Fold up the fabric to the wrong side so your stitches are close to the folded edge and press. At my best sewing machine stitch next to the fold, getting close to the edge Trim your fabric so you end up with about⅛” left. Turn the fabric again about ⅛”-¼”. It’s probably too small to pin so you might want to fold as you’re stitching it into place.
Here’s what a rolled hem looks like when finished. Next, I’ll do more of a decorative finish which you can do with ½” wide ribbon. Trim any excess hem allowance off your project until you are left with a ¼” hem allowance. Pin your ribbon to the bottom edge of the fabric, wrong side of ribbon to the wrong side of the fabric. The edge of the ribbon should go past the edge of the fabric by ¼”. Stitch on the edge of the ribbon that’s on top of the fabric, using a regular length straight stitch.
Flip the ribbon over to the right side of the fabric, pin, and stitch on the unstitched side of the ribbon. Here’s what the finished hem looks like with a decorative border. If you want the ribbon on the inside, start with pinning the ribbon to the right side of the fabric instead of the wrong side. And here we have all three examples: eased, rolled and decorative ribbon hem.
Using one of these methods will make hemming curved edges easier for your projects. We hope you enjoyed this post.