Hemming tape is a very useful invention. This form of securing a hem uses a double-sided thin, strip of webbing with a heat-activated glue. It comes in a roll of tape and has the ability to stick fabric on both sides. It is ideal if you are in a hurry and for emergencies when you need to make a quick repair to hems. Simply measure the spot to hem, put the tape in-between the garment and the hem, and press in place. The heat of the iron and the bonding on the tape does the trick of sealing the hem. No-sew hems!
How to Use Hemming Tape
Is Hemming Tape Permanent? Good quality hemming tape is permanent and is designed to be washed.
Where to buy hemming tape? Hemming tape is widely available at any fabric shop or haberdashery. Also, check your local supermarket or department store if they have a small sewing section. For online options, try Amazon, eBay or www.fabric.com.
Follow these steps for the simple process of applying hemming tape.
Step One - Preparation
PREWASH - Make sure your fabric or garment is pre-washed and ready to accept the hemming tape. Avoid using fabric softener for the first application because it will affect the bonding glue, and the tape will not stick as firmly.
SHORTENING - If you are using hemming tape to shorten a pair of pants or a skirt, measure your required length and then add at least 1 ¼ inch (3cm) for seam allowance on the hem. Most hemming tapes are 1 inch (2.5cm). For jeans, don't forget to wash them first in case they shrink.
FINISHING - The edge can be left raw or if you have a sewing machine, finished with a zig zag stitch. Sergers are often used to stop the edge from fraying. Pinking shears cut the edge in a zig zag pattern reducing fraying.
For those of you who are not sewers don't worry too much about leaving a straight raw edge. The hemming tape will do a good job of sealing the fabric edges and minimizing fraying in most fabrics.
Step Two - Cutting
Cut the tape the length of the fabric that needs hemming. If it is a repair to a hem, measure the portion to be repaired and cut the tape accordingly.
Press the hem area and insert the tape between the hem and the wrong side of the garment. The hemming tape is the same on both sides.
The hem should be pressed up by the width of the tape and ⅛ inch (3mm) extra. My tape was 1 inch (2.5cm) so I pressed the hem up 1 ⅛ inch (2.8cm). You don't want any of the tape to come above the hem as it will ruin your iron.
Follow the pressing instructions. If there is a long area to be hemmed press and hem in small portions. The iron will need to be hot so use a cotton pressing cloth between it and the fabric if your garment is delicate or made from anything synthetic. You don't want to melt your fabric!
How to Use Hemming Tape Tips
- Practice on a scrap to get the iron temperature and the fabric, as well as tape insertion all correct.
- Press down with the iron firmly. Hold for a short while and then release.
- Do not iron over and over, this is a press and release motion.
- Use a pressing cloth for delicate fabrics.
- On your test sample let the fabric cool and see if the hemming tape has set. If the hem peels away the iron was not hot enough.
- Take care NOT to have the hemming web exposed. It will stick to the iron. The glue of the hemming web is difficult to remove.
- When you feel confident to apply the tape to your hem, start the process in stages. It is important to keep the tape smooth at all times and not let it get twisted.
- Gently iron on both sides of the hem and be sure there are no wrinkles or tucks that may spoil the overall look of your hem.
ACCIDENTS - What if I make a mistake, you might be thinking. Hemming web is permanent. You may be able to pull it apart and then use some fabric cleaner to remove the glue. However, it is made to stick and the residue of the glue stays on the fabric. This means it is important to be as careful as possible.
How to Use Hemming Tape for Knit Fabric
Hemming tape can be used for knit fabric in exactly the same way. See the difference it can make to the puckering on knit hems. It gives stability and a firm edge to even sewn edges.
Alternatives to How to Use Hemming Tape
If you can't get hemming tape then the next best option is a simple hand stitch. Read hemming stitch for 7 easy options. If you are an absolute beginner at sewing, skip straight to the running stitch section of the article.
How to Use Hemming Tape - In Conclusion
Hemming tape can take some practice, but once you have mastered this delicate tape, it is a very useful addition to your sewing basket. It travels well too and could be just the right thing for any little repair job while you are away from your trusty sewing machine.
MORE HEM ARTICLES
- GENERAL HEMS – How to Sew a Hem (This is the best article to read if you are not sure what kind of hem you need. It gives a rundown of all the most common types)
- NARROW HEMS – How to sew a narrow hem
- ROLLED HEM FOOT – How to use a rolled hem foot
- WIDE HEMS – How to sew wide hems
- CIRCULAR HEMS – How to sew circular hems
- BLIND HEMS – How to sew a blind hem | blind hem foot
- RUFFLED HEMS – Lettuce hems
- KNIT FABRIC HEMS – How to hem knit fabric, catch stitch
- KNIT HEMS – Twin Needle
- SQUARE HEMS – How to Sew Mitered Corners
- HAND HEMS – Hemming Stitch
- NO SEW HEMS - How to Use Hemming Tape