How To Hem A Curve

5:00 AM

Hemming is usually an easy step when you’re sewing clothes.
But if its not a straight hem it can be a pain!

You can always hand stitch a wide hem on a skirt with a curved bottom, but there is an easy method if you’d want to do it on a machine.
The first time I really needed to know how to machine sew a curved hem was hacking my way through this jacket two years ago:
Equestrian Blazer
The ruffled “lapels” are a single layer of moleskin and do show on the underside, so I knew I didn’t want to hand sew under there, so I called my mom and little sister to get tips on hemming the curve by machine.

A few other projects that required the machine hem:

Peacock Dress with slight high to low hem

Pleated Satin Dress

Circle Skirts

adult circle skirt on the chevron ombre dress

and this little jumper I posted about yesterday.
This hem was only slightly curved. 
The pattern recommended using bias tape to finish the edge, but I was too lazy and just sewed the hem with the machine.


Basically rather than a regular double fold hem you can easily sew on a straight cut, you sew a single fold, then the final double fold as two separate seams.
The curved hem by machine does work better using a scant hem of 1/2” total or less, so if you have a garment that would do better with a thick hem, maybe it would be best to hand stitch it in place, easing the curve in.

So with the wrong side of your garment up, you’ll fold the raw edge over about 1/4” and sew around the hem.
If you have a bunch of excess fabric past the edge of your first hem, you can trim it off, as it will be folded into the hem and you don’t want a bunch of excess junk in the hem preventing it from laying nice and flat.

The next half of the hem is where it becomes a double fold. 
Fold the first hem layer you just sewed toward the wrong side of the fabric again, right on the first stitching.
At this point the first seam you sewed before becomes the final fold of your hem. 
You then sew the final hem 1/4” from the fold and have a scant, clean hem on a curve.

finchtop4**If the idea of having stitching along the fold of your finished hem irks you, you can always baste (longest stitch length) the first single layer hem, fold it, sew the final hem, then remove the first stitching basted thread for the final appearance of a normal double fold hem…but extra fancy being so polished on a curved garment.***

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  1. This comes at the perfect time! I have been putting off hemming a dress until this morning due to my stress over the curved hem. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  2. This comes at the perfect time! I have been putting off hemming a dress until this morning due to my stress over the curved hem. Thanks so much for the tutorial!

  3. Clever! I usually just ease the hem in with pins, like I did on this skirt:
    But your method would be so much faster!

  4. With this technique you can actually fold it much less - like 2 mm + 2 mm and make a really narrow and delicate hem. Works especially well if you have made a full silk skirt or something like that. Another way of hemming a curved garment is by making a facing (and put a bit of thin interlining on) that follows the same curve.

  5. A skirt pattern I made with a slightly curved hem had me sew 1/4" from the edge (no folding yet), then fold up along that sewn line and fold again and hem. It worked great.

  6. Nice! I just finished a curved hem and was cursing the tiny gathers and folds that were created on the wrong side. No one will see them, but I know they are there!

    Recently posted:


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