This is why I've always hated hemming.

I used to think that pattern makers sat around and though things like “This pattern goes together too easily, lets give it a narrow hem at the bottom so the poor schmuck who tries to sew it burns the crap out of their fingers trying to iron the hem. Mwah-ha-ha” As it turns out, trying to fold, iron, pin and sew a “scant ¼ inch hem” isn’t as hard as I always thought it was. You just have to skip the folding, ironing, and pinning.

Look! It's actually narrow! And neat!

Say what?! The solution was there in my sewing room all along. The clouds parted, a ray of sunlight sparkled off the metal, angels sang, and I discovered the solution to scant hems. Of the various contraptions I discovered with my donated extra sewing machine, I found a rolled hem foot. A rolled hem presser foot fits onto your regular machine, but it’s shaped so that as you feed the fabric through the machine, it rolls the fabric over barely 1/8th inch, just enough to be caught by the needle as you sew.

With this tool in hand, I took a second look at a Butterick Connie Crawford pattern for a flared skirt with a slit that has a circle ruffle edging it. I made it once about a year ago, but picked a bad fabric and my clumsy hemming just made the whole thing look… bad. Very bad. Awful, in fact. But this time I picked a silky type fabric with a bold black, white, and bright pink graphic print (It’s very 80’s, and this is about as far as I’ll go toward following fashion fads in my sewing). It cut out and sewed up very quickly. Like in an afternoon. Thanks, in no small part, to the speed with which I was able to finish edges with this rolled hem foot.

Now I don’t typically like tools that only do one job. But this particular tool does this one job so efficiently and well, that it’s worth it to track one of these babies down and give it a home in your sewing room. A few things to caution you about though. If you’re going to cross a seam, before you start hemming, clip the seam allowances down close to the stitching before trying to run it through the rolled hem. Diagonal cuts with the narrowest part at the hem edge will help prevent too much fraying and get the job done. And this will only work on lightweight fabric. Silkys, calico or lightweight cotton, and shirting weight fabrics at the heaviest. I used to deliberately avoid Silkys simply because hemming them was a pain in the rear. Now I’ll consider them, even though I still try to avoid polyester most of the time.

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