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For today’s Feature Friday, we invited Pat English to share her tricks and tips for hemming. It might seem like a basic skill but after all the many questions about how to do this task, Pat stepped in to guide us on the basics of hemming. One of the techniques Pat demonstrates pairs beautifully with the Cartwheel Collection for Girls 2T-14. Check out her adorable option for hemming that springy and fun pattern, and get the whole collection today only (3/1) for just $5 during our Feature Friday sale!


Hemming: Tips and Tricks

For those new to sewing, hemming can be a daunting thing!  Really, it isn’t as hard as one might think.  And you don’t need expensive machines to do a decent hem, although once you’ve been sewing a while, they can sure give you a professional look.  A few little tips and tricks can take all the mystery out of the process, so let’s look at the various ways to make hemming easier. I’m going to start with the basic hem and finish off with the ultimate “girly girl” hem I do for the Cartwheel Collection skirt – which is on sale today only for just $5 – don’t miss out on this super pattern!




Straight Hemming

These are the easiest and great for the Vanguard Tee.


Flip over 1″, pin, and press

Flip your fabric over the required amount – Love Notions hems are usually 1″ deep – pin in place and press.  I always use really long pins so the heads are out of the way of my iron. And don’t skip the pressing because irons are essential to a good result in sewing.  




Select your longest stitch

If you are using a sewing machine, choose your longest stitch.  Put the folded over fabric wrong side up under your sewing machine’s foot.


Use tape to guide

See where it sits under the needle and stick some painter’s tape on the machine for your guide.  Turn the fabric over to the right side with the edge up against your tape marker and stitch away – watch the tape guide not the needle.  If your knit fabric has good recovery, you can even stretch it every so slightly.


Press well

Now give that hem a good press to take out any waving and that’s it!



Curved Hemming

This one is a little trickier and is perfect for the hem of the L’il LDT.



Turn hem allowance up and pin

Turn up the hem allowance first at the seams and pin with the pin heads off the edge of the hem.  Then at the mid points.  Then about every 6″ or less in between.  You’ll see little bulges between the pinning – don’t worry!


Steam Press

Now take it to your iron.  Put the garment on the ironing board wrong side up and steam press.  Just put the iron straight down on the hem.  Now you know why we want the pin heads off the edge!  The steam makes the fabric contract a little.  If there are little tucks, it won’t matter because they won’t show on the right side.



Sew the hem

Now you’re ready to sew the hem just as you did for straight hems.  I did this one with my coverstitch machine, but your sewing machine does just as good a job. On the right side, the hem is perfect. You can also run a gathering stitch on the edge and draw the edge in.  Or if you have a serger, you can serge the edge with the differential turned up.  Others like to run glue stick under the edge or to apply hem tape.  I like my method because it’s quick and easy.




Lettuce Hemming



The perfect hem for the Cartwheel Collection!

Nothing says “girly girl” like a lettuce hem and my granddaughter absolutely loves it!  The Cartwheel Collection full-circle skirt is perfect for showing off this hem finish and it’s really so easy.  For this one you do need a serger and the fabric must be knit to get the stretch you need all the way around the edge.



Remember your settings

I always start by taking a picture of the settings of my serger before I change them – I don’t do this hem often and I want to be able to go back to normal settings with ease.


Consult your manual

Now you need to consult your manual to get the right settings for your machine.  You do a lettuce hem with 3 threads – the right needle and 2 loopers – the stitch needs to be really short to cover the edge and the differential needs to be set as low as possible to give you that stretch.  Make sure your machine is threaded with a colour that enhances the skirt fabric, especially the loopers because those are the threads that wrap the edge.  You can even use wooly nylon in the loopers for the best cover.


Stretch as you feed the fabric

I always start just before a seam and I stretch the fabric as it feeds in.


Just keep doing this all around the raw edge – and before you know it, you’re done.



The Cartwheel Collection skirt can be done in one or two layers and of course my granddaughter wants every layer she can get.  With this skirt, I made the top layer stretch lace and just left the raw edge unfinished.  The under layer has a lettuce finish.



The Cartwheel Collection, skirt and built-in shorts

I made this skirt when she was going through a modesty phase – it not only has 2 layers of skirt with a lettuce hem, it also has built-in shorts!  The amazing fabrics in this post come from l’oiseau fabrics, a Canadian online shop that imports its fabrics from Europe.



Try blind and split hemming

There are more hems to explore.  The Duet Trousers can be done in woven with a blind hem and the Boyfriend Cardigan, Terra Tunic and Driftwood Shirt all have split hems.  The directions for doing them are right in the patterns.  And if your knit fabric doesn’t roll – you don’t have to hem at all!



Get the Cartwheel Collection on sale, today only!

If you don’t already have the versatile Cartwheel Collection, grab it today while it’s on sale!  It has patterns for a shirt, tunic, dress, skirt in either single or double layer, shorts and capris – a whole wardrobe in one!  Warm weather is on the way and this is the perfect addition to a girl’s spring outfits.  And definitely give that lettuce hem a try!

The Cartwheel Collection 2T – 14

hemming straight curved lettuce


Author Tessa

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