There are lots of ways to hem a garment, and sewing a blind hem on the sewing machine is both fast and easy. The goal of hemming by machine is to have the stitches that hold the hem in place be invisible (or almost) from the fabric right side.
If your machine has a blind hem foot, install it on the machine in place of the all-purpose presser foot. The foot may have a vertical edge guide to help determine how much of the blindhem stitch actually catches into the fabric—the smaller the better. Some machine brands have feet that are adjustable for differing fabric weights.
Machine blind hemming works best on textured medium- to heavy-weight fabrics. The texture of the fabrics helps hide the thread from the stitches. On lightweight fabrics, the stitches will show more, which may lead you to select another hemming method.
Select an all-purpose thread, like Coats Dual Duty XP, that closely matches the fabric.
Most machines offer two blind hem stitches—one for knits and one for wovens. The knit blind hem stitch is comprised of multiple narrow zigzags and a single wide zigzag; the woven blind hem stitch has multiple straight stitches and a single wide zigzag.
To prepare for machine blind hemming, finish the hem’s raw edge if the fabric ravels. This can be done using a zigzag stitch, a serging stitch or by folding the edge to the wrong side 1/4″ (.64cm) and stitching it down. On knits, it’s not necessary to finish the edge, as the fabric doesn’t ravel.
Fold and press the desired hem distance to the garment wrong side. Fold the garment back onto itself, exposing about 1/4″ (.64cm) of the finished hem edge. Pin the fold in place. Adjust the width of the blind hem stitch so that the large zigzag takes a small bite into the garment fabric fold. The width of this bite will determine how much shows on the right side. If you have an adjustable blind hem foot, slide the edge guide to the desired distance.
Sew around the hem, allowing the bite of the large zigzag to minimally catch the outer garment fabric. Then re-press the hem into its normal position.
TIP: Practice the technique on scraps of your garment fabric to get a feel for how much fabric should be caught in the wider stitch before you begin stitching on your project.
About the Author
Linda Griepentrog is a writer, editor and designer who lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband (a long arm quilter) and dog, Frank. She loves all things fabric! Linda also leads fabric shopping tours to Hong Kong. Contact her at email@example.com.