christmas gifts for dad customized rustic pillow covers How to Make a Rolled Hem on a Sewing Machine

Updated: 2019/09/17 Views: 91

There's always a certain amount of hemming and hawing about having to hem. Just about every project you do includes some sort of a hem, and there are so many techniques from which to choose. There is the simple double-turn hem, blind hem, faced hem, covered hem, taped hem, curved hem, single hem, narrow hem, cuffed hem, and bias hem. Then there are all the special hemming techniques for certain fabric types, such as leather, fur or lace, as well as projects with scalloped edges or pleats. Whew! But even with all these choices, there is one particular type of hem we receive more questions about than any of the others: the rolled hem. Since it's at the top of our You Asked 4 It listchristmas gifts for dad,?let's get rollin'.?

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Not to be confused with a narrow hem, the rolled hem is created using a special sewing machine foot, in our case: Janome’s Hemmer foot. A rolled hem can also be sewn completely by hand or on a serger. In this tutorial, we'll focus on how to sew a rolled hem on a sewing machine, along with a few other hints and tips to help you conquer this somewhat elusive technique.

From left: Double Gause Shawl with Pom Accents, Sequined Chiffon Scarf.

As with all areas of sewing, you must always consider the type of fabric you’re sewing. This will determine thread type and size, as well as the type and size of sewing machine needle to use. As a rule, you sew rolled hems on items that are made of lightweight to medium-weight woven fabrics. For these fabrics, we recommend using cotton wrapped polyester thread and a universal needle size 70/10 or 80/12.

You've seen rolled hems on all kinds of items. It’s msot commonly used on garments made of delicate fabrics, such as special occasion wear, lingerie, scarves or in heirloom sewing. A rolled hem on a garment is designed to weight the bottom so it hangs properly. In home décor applications, rolled hems are often the choice for window treatments; sheer panels are wonderful when finished with a rolled hem. Try one on our Romantic Retreat Layered Bed Curtain panels. Other items that look great with a rolled hem are napkins and tablecloths.?

Clockwise: Ruffled End Table Runner,?Boho Bandanas, and?Tasseled Chiffon Scarf.

When preparing your fabric, it’s important to account for the hem depth – no matter which kind of hem you plan to create. We recommend planning your hem finish prior to cutting your fabric. Sometimes, if you run into a mishap in your cutting and are a bit short, a rolled hem can save the day because it requires such a small amount of fabric.

In our example, we are using a woven cotton fabric that is easy to press. Your results may vary slightly, depending on the type of fabric you’re using. As with most techniques, sew slowly... in this case, it helps maintain the roll of the fabric into the foot as well as the accuracy of the stitching. Also, as usual in our demonstrations, we are using a solid fabric with a contrasting thread to best show the stitching. You would normally use a thread to match your fabric, unless you were aiming for a decorative look.?

Depending on the type of project you’re sewing, sometimes you need to start the rolled hem from a corner. In this case, it can be challenging to get the fabric sewn evenly from the edge. You can try one of two methods.

Placing a small rectangle of tearaway stabilizer underneath the fabric will help prevent the edge of the fabric from being pulled down under the sewing machine's needle plate. In addition, you can use the stabilizer to pull the fabric past the foot until you're just beyond the corner of the fabric, where you can begin to sew smoothly along the edge again.?

Another method to help start fabric at a corner is to use a hand sewing needle and approximately 10” of thread.?

If you are planning to sew a rolled hem on a slippery or silky type of fabric, you'll quickly discover these fabrics do not like to be pressed along the edge. You can try, but usually, the standard ?" fold we use in rolled hems, will simply unfold. This prevents you from getting an even fold inserted into the guide on the foot. For this, we have a great solution! All you need to do is sew a line of stitching approximately ?" (again depending on the width of your hemmer foot) along the raw edge. This line of stitching acts as a folding guide to allow you to more easily press the fold needed to sew a rolled hem. Once pressed, this seam also helps hold the fold in place.

If you decide to try sewing rolled hems on your next project, you may need to know how to turn a corner. You can approach this in two ways: a square corner or a mitered corner.?

A square corner is the simpler of the two techniques, but there will certainly also be situations that call for the more professional finish of a mitered corner. Regardless of which method you choose, you will sew each side individually.

NOTE: Depending on the fabric type, especially for a bit thicker fabric, you may need to add a few hand tacking stitches at the corner where you can't quite catch the corners evenly.

Since Janome is our exclusive sewing machine sponsor, they were kind enough to provide us with a selection of Hemmer feet for our S4H studio machines.?

The standard Hemmer foot is 2mm wide and comes standard with most Janome models. You can also purchase the optional Hemmer Foot Set, which contains two additional feet: a 4mm Hemmer foot and a 6mm Hemmer foot. We recommend visiting your local sewing machine retailer to find the appropriate feet available for your machine model and/or brand.

You can clearly see the differences between the Hemmer feet we have here in the S4H studio.?

You can get an idea of the width of the rolled hem you will achieve with each foot by looking at the underside. The channel under each foot allows the rolled hem to easily flow out the back of the foot.?

Determining which foot to use is fairly simple. The weight or thickness of your fabric will be your guide. The thinner the fabric, the thinner your rolled hem can be. Or, you may determine which one to use based on the depth of the rolled hem itself, especially if you are planning a decorative effect. Create a rolled hem with each size foot on a few scraps to test your decision.?

You do not have use a straight stitch for a rolled hem. You can also use a zig zag.?

If you look at the Hemmer foot more closely, you can see there is a wide opening where the needle goes through the foot.?

It’s designed this way in order to accomodate a zig zag stitch, because sometimes the kind of fabric we like to finish with a rolled hem is also the kind that frays easily, such as a sheer organza or similar. One of the best ways to combat this is with a zig zag stitch.

Prepare your fabric and set up your sewing machine the same as for a basic rolled hem, but instead of selecting a straight stitch, select a zig zag stitch. Your finished rolled hem will look like this.

NOTE: We definitely recommend practicing on scraps first to determine the width and length of your zig zag stitch.

Since we’ve mentioned it, we thought it would help for you to see what a rolled hem looks like when created with a serger. The premise is the same. The raw edge of the fabric is folded under and stitches hold the fold in place. However, since the nature of a serger is much different than a sewing machine, the edge of the fabric is trimmed, folded over, and wrapped with a 2-thread or 3-thread overlock stitch along the folded bottom edge all at one time – in one pass through the machine. This may look familiar to you from items you’ve purchased in stores.?

Our last words of advice are: practice, practice, practice!? Making a successful rolled hem takes a little patience, but the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Remember, you can always stop, remove some stitching, and start sewing again on an already rolled section until you can get the fabric rolling into the foot again.

Contributors

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