Sewing a hem on a dress is a fundamental skill that allows you to give your garments a polished and professional finish. Whether you're shortening a dress or repairing a worn-out hem, this tutorial will guide you through the process step by step. By following these instructions, you'll be able to achieve a neat and durable hemline on your dress.
Sewing machine or needle and thread
Iron and ironing board
Step 1: Prepare Your Dress
Before you start hemming, make sure your dress is clean and pressed. Lay it flat on a table or ironing board and smooth out any wrinkles or creases. If the dress is too long, try it on and determine the desired length. Keep in mind that you'll need to add extra length to accommodate the hem.
Step 2: Measure and Mark the Hem
Using a measuring tape, measure the desired length from the bottom of the dress. Mark this length with pins or tailor's chalk all around the hem. For an even hemline, it's essential to measure from the same point on the dress, such as the bottom edge or a specific seam.
Step 3: Trim the Excess Fabric
With the dress still laid out, carefully trim the excess fabric above the marked line, leaving an allowance of about 1 inch for the hem. If your dress has a curved hemline, make small notches along the edge to help distribute the fabric evenly.
Step 4: Fold and Press the Hem
Fold the bottom edge of the dress along the marked line, aligning it with the wrong side of the fabric. Use an iron to press the folded edge, creating a crisp and clean fold. Ensure the entire hem is pressed uniformly.
Step 5: Pin the Hem in Place
With the hem folded and pressed, secure it in place by inserting straight pins vertically through the folded edge. Space the pins about 2 inches apart to prevent the fabric from shifting during sewing. Take care not to pin through both layers of the dress to avoid creating visible marks on the right side.
Step 6: Choose Your Sewing Method
You have two options for sewing the hem: using a sewing machine or hand sewing. If using a sewing machine, select a matching thread color and set your machine to a straight stitch. If hand sewing, choose a thread that matches the dress color and thread your needle.
Step 7: Machine Sewing
For machine sewing, remove the pins as you go and stitch along the folded edge, keeping the stitch close to the folded edge. Backstitch at the beginning and end of your stitching to secure the thread. Continue sewing until you reach the starting point.
Step 8: Hand Sewing
For hand sewing, start by knotting the end of your thread. Insert the needle into the folded edge of the dress, hiding the knot between the layers. Take small, even stitches along the folded edge, spacing them about 1/4 inch apart. Secure the thread by knotting it again when you reach the starting point.
Step 9: Finishing Touches
After sewing the hem, carefully remove any visible loose threads. Give the hemline a final press with an iron to ensure it lies flat and neat.
Congratulations! You've successfully sewn a hem on your dress. With practice, you'll become more skilled at achieving professional-looking hems. Remember to take your time, measure accurately, and follow the steps carefully. Now you can confidently alter or repair dress hems to suit your style and ensure your garments look well-finished and tailored.