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Adding Visual Interest to Hems

March 31, 2013

Every year, I churn out a handful of skirts and dresses out of cotton prints for warm-weather dressing, just to keep some fresh pieces in my wardrobe rotation. But I always hate hemming those projects. Even a simple hem just irritates me. (Do you hear me, magic sewing elves?) To keep things interesting this year, I decided to work some faced hems into the process to add some new shapes to the bottom of my garments. 

For my first hem, I made a quick shape template card. To get started on it, I first marked out two 4-inch segments on the edge of a piece of heavy paper.

Next, I used a saucer to fill in the spaces between my marks with a curve.

2-shaped-hems.jpgHere's the paper with the curves drawn in. Next, I cut out those curved segments.

3-shaped-hems.jpgI used the cut template to trace the curves onto my fabric with a fabric marking pen, working my way around the bottom edge of the garment.

4-shaped-hems.jpgThen, I just stitched along those drawn lines with a facing along the bottom edge, right sides together. Then I just clipped my curves, turned my facing, and gave the hem a good pressing. I used the selvedge edge of my facing fabric -- which is just a solid quilting cotton -- so I don't have to worry about a raw edge. Then I stitched along the edge of the facing to finish my shaped hem.

5-shaped-hems.jpgDepending on your fabric, you may not need to make a template for tracing. For my second go at shaped hems, I just followed the line of the fabric's design, which I could see from the wrong side of the fabric, to stitch the facing to the hem.

6-shaped-hems.jpgHere you can see the stitching along the curves of the Prince Charming Snail Scallop print. (I am crazy in love with Tula Pink prints.)

7-shaped-hems.jpgAgain, I just clipped my curves before flipping my facing.

8-shaped-hems.jpgHere's the facing pressed to the back of the hem:

And this is the hem on the finished skirt. I used McCall's 6706 for both this skirt and the next one.

10-shaped-hems.jpgThis is a better view of the scallops. You might have noticed that my fabric is actually upside down. Since the snail detail is subtle, I decided it would be fine to flip it. Also, this way it's right-side up to me when I look down at my skirt. When stitching down the facing, I followed the fabric design again to minimize visibility of the stitching.

11-shaped-hems.jpgAnd here's the skirt I used my template on, out of After Dark from Alexander Henry. I know this might not be a spring print for everybody, but I celebrate Halloween year-round, so it's perfect for me!

12-shaped-hems.jpgHere's the curved-pointed hem. Unlike the snail print skirt, I just stitched the facing with a straight line around the hem so you can see the difference. Since this print has a lot of visually-heavy design elements, I don't think the black stitching stands out all that much.

Shaped and geometric hems can be a fun way to shake up the finish on your garments. They're great for kids clothes, and you don't have to stick to skirts -- pants and shorts can get shaped hems, too. Any shape you like can be used, as long as you can repeat it. Triangular zig-zags, squares, asymmetric curves -- anything goes!

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This page contains a single entry by Holly Frey published on March 31, 2013 8:57 PM.

Striped Hat- Free Knitting Pattern Download was the previous entry in this blog.

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