How to Hem Knit Fabrics

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One of the advantages of sewing with a knit fabric is that it won't fray. Even though hemming isn't always necessary with knits, finishing your garment with a nice hem will make your handmade outfit look much more polished and professional. So the next time you're sewing with a knit fabric, elevate your project to a whole new level of expertise by using one of the following techniques to create a beautiful hem.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Things You'll Need

  • Sewing machine
  • Double ball point needle
  • Single ball point needle
  • Coordinating or contrasting thread
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Pins

Create a Hem Using a Double Needle

To create a professional looking hem without special equipment, use a twin needle, two spools of thread and one bobbin. You install a double needle the same way you would a single needle. Thread the left needle just as you would thread a regular needle, using your regular upper thread. Place the extra spool pin on the bobbin winder and place the second spool of thread on top, then thread it through your sewing machine, and thread the end through the right needle.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Tip

  • If your machine doesn't come with an extra spool pin, you can place both spools of thread where you would place your single spool of thread, or place the second spool of thread in a small cup nearby. Then thread the machine as usual with the second thread.

Step 1

Since knit fabrics won't fray like a woven fabric, you only need to fold 1/2 inch of the edge of the hem over once toward the wrong side of the fabric. Press the fold with an iron.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

Use straight pins to hold the hem in place.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 3

Sew the hem with the double needle from the right side of the fabric. Be sure to remove the pins as you sew.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

The right side of the fabric will have two parallel lines of straight stitching.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

The underside of the hem will have a zig zag stitch to give the hem some stretch.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Create a Hem With a Zig Zag Stitch

Creating a hem with a zig zag stitch is another easy way to hem a knit garment. Change the stitch settings on your sewing machine to a medium length zig zag stitch.

Step 1

Fold the hem edge under 1/2 inch, then press with an iron.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

Pin the hem in place, and then sew the hem in place, removing the pins as you sew. The front side of the hem will have a zig zag stitch, which can be used as an interesting detail if you choose to use coordinating or contrasting thread.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

The underside of the hem will also have a zig zag stitch.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Depending on the look you'd like to have on your garment, you can choose a smaller or a larger zig zag stitch to create the hem.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Create an Accordion Fold Hem

This next technique will create a sturdy hem that looks like it was created by an expensive serger.

Step 1

Fold 2 inches of the edge of the hem over with the right sides together, then fold 1 inch over again with the wrong sides together to create an accordion fold.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 2

Press the folds in place with an iron.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 3

Pin the folds in place with straight pins.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 4

Sew the accordion folds 1/4 inch away from the raw edge using a zig zag stitch.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

This is what the stitches will look like.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 5

Fold the raw edge under so the folded edge is on the outside and the raw edge is facing up.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 6

Press the hem in place with an iron.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Step 7

Topstitch close to the seam and on top of the raw edge to keep it in place.

(Image: Beth Huntington)

Tip

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