Since our patterns are meant to be made as professional wear as well as casual wear, a blind hem is nearly always a valid hemming technique. It is professional, doesn’t show on the right side, and can be done by machine. Because the blind hem will be a common occurrence in our patterns, we thought posting a tutorial on how to sew a blind hem by machine would be helpful. We are always trying to finish all our garments without using any hand sewing, just like in ready to wear. In fact, the only hand sewing I do is shank buttons…but only because I have not figured out how to sew them on by machine! I sew the two and four hole buttons on by machine every time. But that is besides the point. Here is how to do a beautiful, invisible, blind hem with your machine. This is a great finish for all hems where you want an invisible finish.
First, figure out your hem allowance. On this garment, a Sugar Plum (to be debuted on the blog soon!), the hem allowance is 1 1/4″. So I set my seam gauge for double that at 2.5 inches and marked all along the wrong side of the hem. Also, if you have a fabric that frays, you might want to serge or finish the bottom edge prior to marking and sewing your blind hem. Because this is a knit, I have not finished the bottom edge since it will not fray.
Next fold up the hem to the line you marked.
Press your hem in place. You can use pins as long as you use them vertically and closer to the fold of the hem as shown in the picture below.
Next we are going to fold the hem backwards. This is the part where it gets tricky and confuses everyone so just follow the photos closely. After you do it a few times, you will never forget it. Look at the prior picture and how it is folded. Then look at how this picture is being folded backwards. This is an in progress picture of me folding the hem back under.
Here is a picture of the hem completely folded backwards.
And here is another view of the same picture so you can see the layers of the fold.
And here is one more picture. Here I added pins to show how you would pin if you like to use pins. I only use pins on a blind hem if I cannot get the hem pressed well enough in place.
Now we are ready to sew. Your machine probably came with a blind hem foot and has a blind hem stitch (assuming it is not a straight stitch machine.) The blind hem foot has a blade in the center. I have used it in many other tutorials as I use it for topstitching accurately as well as blind hemming. Here is a picture of the foot.
Then choose the blind hem stitch setting on your machine. This stitch will do several straight stitches and then one zig to catch the edge of the fold. Here are the settings I use on my machine.
Next set up your fabric on the machine. You want the fold of the fabric to be running along the blade of the foot. The picture below illustrates this.
The blade goes along the fold of the fabric. The straight stitches will stitch on the part of the fabric against the machine. This part will never show and will be inside the garment. The zig zag catches a tiny part on the fold and that is what holds the hem in place. Here is the same picture from another angle so you can see how your hem should be placed on your machine.
Now stitch around the entire hem making sure to run the fold of the fabric along the blade of the foot. The rest of the work is done for you! Your hem is nearly finished! It only needs a press.
Here is a picture of the finished hem from the right side of the garment. The stitches are so small that they should disappear as long as your thread matches your fabric well.
And here is what the hem looks like from the wrong side. You can see the straight stitches and the zig zag here on the inside.
That is all there is to it! I find this hem much easier than a traditional hem since you don’t have to fold up twice and pin as much. It goes much quicker and is my preferred method of hemming. I only use other methods when the fabrics warrant it such as a tailored shirt or t-shirt or a really slippery fabric. You all know our hemming method for slippery fabrics don’t you?!? It is one of our most popular posts! Definitely the most pinned of all our tutorials. If you missed the tutorial on how to hem slippery fabrics, you can find it by clicking the link. You can also find any of our previous tutorials by clicking on the tutorial page on the main menu.
I hope this helps and that you can refer to this for any pattern when you need to sew a blind hem. We are all about finishing garments completely by machine and this tutorial should get you one step closer!