How to Sew a Machine Blindstitch Hemcomments (11) October 7th, 2008
Blind hems were once standard procedure, but we've grown accustomed to our mass-produced clothing having visible, topstitched hems. What I bet you don't realize, though, is that your very own sewing machine has a blind-hem function that can save you hours of hand stitching and give you professional-quality invisible hems. Now you're probably thinking, "Not MY machine!" but the odds are that even your machine, no matter how old or cheap it may be, does it. Take a look at the stitch symbols and look for one like the #28 below:
It's basically a straight stitch with one zigzag every four or five stitches. Who knew? Here's how you use it:
1. Prepare your hem. The key to this simple technique is in the preparation. Fold up (toward the wrong side) your hem by about 1/2 inch and press. Then fold another 1 inch or so and press again. These measurements are somewhat flexible, but you'll need a minimum of 1/4 inch for the first fold and 1/2 inch for the second.
2. Pin the hem. The placement of your pins is important for this stitch to work properly, so pin exactly as I did in the photo below: Pins are perpendicular to the hemline and placed at least 1/4 inch down from the upper fold so that the whole hem can be flipped up to expose its top edge for the stitching.
3. Ready to sew! As I said, once you've pinned the double-folded hem, flip it up (toward the right side) so that when you are looking at the wrong side, you will see about 1/4 inch sticking out from underneath your (flipped) fold.
Most of the stitching will take place on this flap; this is part of the hem (not the garment), and the stitching will not show from the right side. Begin stitching so that the straight stitches are approximately centered on the flap.
Use your flywheel so that you are stitching in slow motion until the first zigzag. Before the needle comes down, check that it will be nipping into just one or two threads of the fold.
If not, lift the presser foot and move the fold over so that the needle will just barely catch it. This fold is the garment itself, and the stitches that zigzag into the fold will show from the right side. (Note: For demonstration purposes, I used a dark brown thread in my sample, so that the stitching is clearly visible. You should work with a matching thread to make a truly invisible hem!) Once you have worked out your placement, continue sewing the entire length of your hem.
4. Press your hem. When you are done sewing, flip the hem back down to its original position and press. From the right side, you should only see tiny dot stitches where the zigzags stitched into the fold. The farther into the fold the stitch reached, the longer the stitch. Practice on some scraps until you're comfortable, then try your new technique on a skirt or some dressier pants. Once you get the hang of it, you'll be amazed by how "invisible" a hem can be!