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How to Sew a Basic Hem

How to Sew a Basic Hem

Hey there! Spring is in the air friends and I’m thinking about the pieces that I want to sew this season to freshen up my wardrobe. I’m getting more comfortable sewing clothes for myself and I hope I can inspire you to begin sewing garments if you haven’t before! For most sewing projects, you need to know how to sew a basic hem. A double fold hem is a standard method of finishing – it gives a neat finish, prevents fraying, and adds some weight to the edge of the fabric. Today, I’ll show you the steps to master this simple sewing technique. Let’s get started!

How to Sew a Basic Hem


fabric to be hemmed

iron and ironing board


hem measuring ruler

sewing machine and thread

How to Sew a Basic Hem

1. We’re going to sew a 1/2″ double fold hem, which will result in a finished length 1″ shorter than the length before hemming. Place your fabric to be hemmed with wrong side up on your ironing board. Fold up the raw edge of the fabric toward the wrong side by 1/2″. Use a hem measuring ruler to accurately measure 1/2″.

How to Sew a Basic Hem

2. Iron the folded edge along the length of the edge you are hemming.

How to Sew a Basic Hem

3. Fold the edge up a second time by 1/2″, containing the raw edge within the fold.

How to Sew a Basic Hem

4. Press along the length of the hem again.

How to Sew a Basic Hem

5. Pin the hem in place, if desired.

How to Sew a Basic Hem

6. Stitch approximately 1/8″ away from the inner folded edge to secure the hem in place. Remove pins while sewing so that you don’t sew over them. Note that the bobbin thread will be what is visible on the outer side of the finished hem. You can alternately sew from the top side – be sure to maintain a 3/8″ seam allowance so that you are catching the folded edge in your stitching. Be sure to stitch backward a stitch or two at the beginning and end of your line of stitching to “lock” the stitches in place. When you are done stitching, iron the entire hem a final time.

How to Sew a Basic Hem

That’s all there is to it! Double fold hems are great for finishing pant legs, skirts and dresses, even sleeves. Mastering this technique will have you well on your way to sewing and altering clothing! I’d love for you to stop over at Girl. Inspired. and see what I’ve been doing to get into the swing of spring!

See you soon!

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  1. I got a sewing machine for Christmas and I haven’t used it yet. But I can’t wait. Thank you for sharing this. I need basic tutorials like this since I know nothing about sewing. Literally nothing haha. But so many things I want to sew!

    1. Go to your local fabric stores. Sometimes they offer classes. They’re great and you get to meet new friends.

    2. Korilynn…My husband bought me a sewing machine TWO years ago(at my request) so I could learn how to sew patches on my daughters’ Girl Scout uniforms. I sheepishly have to admit that he is the only one who has used it.I’M CLUELESS!!!! Maybe this will be the incentive I need to FINALLY haul it out and actually try to learn.GOOD LUCK TO YOU!

  2. I enjoy reading ‘ I heart nap time’  and will have a look at girl.inspired.

    My sewing machine is 38 years old and I think it’s time I treated myself to a new one. I hope to be making baby clothes before long. I love smoked dresses on little girls. I also hem a lot of denim pants. 

    I would really appreciate some advice on what machine to buy without breaking the bank. Any suggestions?