How to Do a Factory Hem


Pants, skirts and even shirt sleeves normally come right off the rack in a store with a perfectly straight, even hem. That effect is a result of high-quality factory equipment and skilled workers who have hemmed thousands of garments. You can recreate that crisp, clean professional appearance on a wide variety of household projects and clothing, including your favorite pair of jeans, with just a few sewing staples and techniques. Practice is the key to success in this tailoring skill.

Things You'll Need

  • Pins
  • Iron
  • Thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Turn the garment inside out, or turn over the piece of fabric so that the wrong side is facing up. Place on an even surface.

  • Roll up 1/2 inch of fabric along the entire edge you want to hem and pin into place as you roll.

  • Turn an iron on to the correct setting and allow it to heat up. For example, if you are hemming jeans, ensure the iron is set to a hot cotton setting. If you are hemming a delicate fabric, make sure the iron is set to low heat.

  • Iron the 1/2-inch hem into place so that it is crisp and clean. Remove the pins as you iron the hem into place.

  • Roll the hem a second time, using another 1/2 inch of fabric. Pin the hem into place as you roll it. Iron the hem again so that the edge is crisp. Leave the pins in place this time. You now have a rolled hem in place that will hide the raw edge of the fabric and create the professional finish you want.

  • Set your sewing machine to a straight stitch and thread the machine with an appropriate thread. If you are hemming jeans, a bright golden thread that complements dark fabrics gives a distinctive look. If you want, use a thread that matches your fabric almost exactly to hide the hem.

  • Place one end of the rolled hem under the foot of the sewing machine and release the foot of the machine down onto the fabric.

  • Sew along the entire length of the hem, using a 1/4-inch seam allowance. Work slowly to ensure that you create a clean, straight line. Trim off any excess thread once you have finished sewing the hem into place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice sewing in a straight line on some scrap fabric before attempting to sew your garment.
  • Buy a thick, sturdy thread for jeans, canvas and upholstery fabrics.

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  • Photo Credit Maria Teijeiro/Photodisc/Getty Images
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