How to Hem a T-Shirt With a Sewing Machine

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Things You'll Need

  • Seam ripper

  • Iron

  • Fabric marker

  • Fabric measuring tape

  • Scissors

  • Fabric stabilizer

  • Paintbrush

  • Sewing pins

  • Matching thread

Alter the length of a T-shirt by creating a new hem with a sewing machine.

T-shirts are comfortable, can be dressed up and down and are the backbone in most wardrobes. Unfortunately, the common "Small," "Medium" and "Large" sizes don't fit everyone perfectly. It may be easier to find a T-shirt that complements your body shape and use a sewing machine to hem up the bottom. Removing the seam and shortening a long T-shirt will help you be comfortable and give you a great fit.


Step 1

Remove the bottom hem with the seam ripper. Insert it into the seam and cut the thread. Be careful to not punch or cut any holes in the T-shirt. Work around the bottom hem, completely removing the seam.

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Step 2

Unfold the creased bottom of the T-shirt and press it flat. Run an iron over the crease using the "Cotton" or "Knit" setting. Flattening the crease makes the material easier to work with.

Step 3

Put the T-shirt on. Stand comfortably and determine the desired length of the T-shirt. Use the fabric marker to make a dot, marking the new length. Take off the T-shirt.

Step 4

Lay the T-shirt on a flat surface right side up and press flat. Ensure that all of the wrinkles are removed. Measure straight up from the bottom of the fabric to the marker dot. Move the measuring tape around the bottom of the T-shirt, making several additional dots marking the measurement.


Step 5

Cut around the bottom of the T-shirt, about 1 inch below the dots. This will give you a 1-inch seam allowance for the new hem. Remove the cut off bottom of the shirt. Turn the T-shirt inside out.

Step 6

Apply a fabric stabilizer to the bottom 1/2-inch edge of the shirt. A fabric stabilizer will keep the edge straight and prevent it from rolling up or getting caught in the sewing machine. It will dry stiff and completely wash out. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for application. Some stabilizers come in an aerosol can while others are applied with a paintbrush. Allow the stabilizer to completely dry.


Step 7

Fold up the bottom hem of the T-shirt about 1 inch and pin into place. Work around the shirt creating the new fold and inserting pins. Use the fabric marker dots to ensure that the hem is straight. Crease the fold so that it lies flat.

Step 8

Thread your sewing machine and prepare it for use. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for set up. Set the stitch tension to the medium or middle setting to allow the knit fabric to hang comfortably.


Step 9

Sew around the hem about 3/4 of an inch from the bottom of the T-shirt. Remove the pins as you sew.

Step 10

Create a second stitch on the hem to hold it securely in place. Sew around the bottom of the T-shirt below the first stitch, about 1/2 inch from the bottom.

Step 11

Turn the shirt right side out. Launder the T-shirt as usual to remove the stiffness of the stabilizer.


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