Now that the Holidays are approaching, many of us probably have Holiday dresses in our sewing queue. And blind hems are just a small detail that help take the quality of our sewing up one notch.
A blind hem is a hem that is practically invisible from the outside. The line of stitching, and therefore the hem isn’t easily seen and the fabric looks like it just extends to the edge of the dress with nothing to visually break up the skirt. You’ll find these kind of hems on suits, pencil skirts, and fancy dresses. And sewing them is pretty easy with a stitch that is increasingly common on sewing machines.
Thread your machine with thread the very closely matches or blends in with your fabric.
Find the blind hem stitch on your machine. On this machine it is stitch 064. But I also have it on my more basic machine that only has 15 stitches. It looks like a zig-zag stitch with several straight stitches in between each of the zig-zags–like a Zig-zag stitch that dropped a couple stitches. However, the straight stitches are intentional.
Prep the raw edge of your fabric by serging, zig-zagging, or ironing under 3/8”.
Then iron under your hem. If you need a 1” hem, iron it up 1” with the wrong sides for the fabric together. The fabric you iron up should be on the inside of your dress/skirt/pant.
Next, with the ironed up hem on the bottom, fold the top fabric back (right side of fabric folding towards right side of fabric) until you can see 1/4” of the finished hem edge you ironed up. Iron the fold into the fabric. At this point, your fabric is starting to resemble one of those accordion fans you make out of paper.
Now for the stitching. I highly recommend trying this out on a scrap fabric to test out the correct placement.
Place the fabric under the presser foot so the straight stitches only stitch on the finished hem edge. 1 layer of fabric. Turn the hand wheel on your machine to see where the widest part of the stitch will hit. Adjust your fabric so on the “zig” the needle barely pierces the folded edge. It will go through three layers of fabric here.
Ideally, the needle only catches one or two threads of the fold. That may not be realistic especially as you start out, but the more of the fold you catch with the needle the more visible the hem stitches will be. Pay attention to where the finished edge of the fabric hits your seam guides so you can use that seam guide as you sew. It helps keep the stitches consistent and where you want them. You’ll get better at catching less of the fold as you get more experience.
Some machines have a foot just for sewing blind hems. It has an adjustable guide on the front of the foot. The guide fits right against the fabric fold and on top of the finished fabric edge.
Turning the white dial on the front moves the guide from side to side so that you get your needle piercing just the right spot–barely on the fold. Then as you sew, keep the fold running right along that guide to get nice consistent (and hopefully small) stitches. The blind hem foot helps but isn’t essential. I’ve sewn many blind hems with a standard sewing foot.
When you get all the way around the skirt, back stitch overlapping the beginning of your stitches.
Unfold the top fabric back over the finished edge and iron the hem flat. All along the hem from the right side you’ll see small vertical stitches. Again, the less of the fold you catch, the smaller and more ‘blind’ the vertical stitches are.
And that’s all there is to it!