A lettuce hem gives an attractive edge finish to your stretch fabric projects. It is not hard to work out where it got its name from, is it?
Traditionally this hemming technique is done on a serger but it can be easily and quickly sewn on your regular machine with a simple zig-zag stitch. Once you practice a few times you won’t be able to tell much difference between a serged and zig-zag lettuce hem.
LETTUCE HEM ON YOUR MACHINE
A lettuce hem only works on stretch fabrics. You will get the best results from stretch fabrics that are thinner and have a tendency to curl up.
See how my Riley Blake spot fabric is already curling at the edges? This is the kind of fabric that is perfect for a lettuce hem.
Make sure you are hemming an edge with the greatest stretch. Most stretch sewing patterns have the greatest amount of stretch going around the body so this should be no problem for most projects.
If you haven’t already read my article on how to sew stretch fabric, I suggest you do so before you start. There are a couple of things you will need including a stretch needle and a strong thread.
First, test a scrap of fabric to get your stitch length and technique correct. You don’t want to start on your finished project until you have had a practice.
Step 1: Roll the edge
Put the fabric under your presser foot with the raw edge rolled over once by 1/8 inch (3mm).
It doesn’t matter if the fabric is right or wrong side up as the zig-zag stitches will hide the edge.
Just go with the direction of the natural curl. My fabric wanted to roll over on the right side so I placed it right side up.
Step 2: Stitch
Put your zig-zag settings on a width of around 5.0 and length between 0.2-0.5. Your machine may have an applique satin stitch that will work perfectly too.
Stretch out the fabric as far as it will go holding it both in front and behind while maintaining the small folded edge.
The zig-zag will go off the edge and over the fold.
When you have finished, give the fabric a little time to relax back into shape. See what a pretty lettuce hem this gives.