Sewing School Day 13 ~ Narrow Hem


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Welcome to Day 13!


 Today I’m going to show you how to do a narrow hem.  This is by far my favorite hem because it is so fast and easy to do.  This is especially good when you have a circle skirt, or any kind of curved hem.  It will save you from having to ease the hem in (one of my least favorite things to do!).  You can do a narrow hem either by hand, or by using a narrow hem foot.


If your sewing machine has a narrow hem foot as an available accesorry, I highly recommend it!  Mine was only $13, and I cannot even begin to tell you how many hours of hemming by hand it has saved me!


You don’t have to do any prep work to your hem.  Just slip the fabric in and it does the work for you!  Hopefully you can see from this pic how the narrow hem foot works.  It rolls the fabric under for you and stitches it in place at the same time!


Okay so let’s get started:




Simply follow the instructions that come with the narrow hem foot to attach it to your machine (mine just snaps on like all my other feet).  Set your stitch to a straight stitch with a reinforcement stitch rather than the reverse stitch (a reinforcement stitch means your machine just does a stitch 3-4 times in the same spot to make a knot rather than reversing over stitches).  Next, set your needle to the center position.  With the right side of the fabric down, slip the raw edge of the hem into the foot, as pictured above.  Slowly push the fabric until it is under the needle, then lower the presser foot.  Reinforce the stitch, then, stitch as normal, folding the raw edge over as you stitch.  The raw edge should stay even with the left guide and the folded edge should stay even with the right guide.  Reinforce again at the end of the stitch.


This can be a little tricky to begin with because you are having to keep two spots in the fabric (the raw edge and the folded edge) against two different guides, but once you get the hang of it, this is the quickest way to hem something, IMHO.


If you don’t have a narrow hem foot, or you are working with a thicker or stretch fabric you may have to do a narrow hem by hand. (I have a tutorial coming up where I do a narrow hem on a stretch cotton, and I will give some more tips and hints in that post, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!)


Fold raw edge of hem up 3/8″; press.


Fold the raw edge under to meet the fold; press.


Edge stitch the hem in place.  DONE!


Here’s a front view.  Any questions??



  1. Janet says

    Guess what I’m getting the next time JoAnn Fabrics has a good coupon?! I didn’t even know these existed; I thought I’d need a serger or do by hand. Thank you!

    • April says

      @Danielle what sort of pillow covers? Do you have a link where I could see them? Without seeing it I can’t say for sure, but I really cannot think of any reason why not.

  2. Jenifer says

    Is this the same as a rolled hem? I’ve got that foot and have used it a few times with varying results. I find it really tricky to get started and end up getting it all caught up in the foot – Do you ave any advice about starting? How do you get it to sit under the needle through the foot?


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