A blind stitch hem is a fantastic way to create an invisible hem for your projects. If you look in your cupboard you are bound to find several pairs of pants and a skirt or two that use this technique. Traditionally a blind stitch hem was done by hand but did you know that you can stitch invisibly on most modern machines?
Blind Stitch Hem
What is a blind stitch hem?
A blind stitch hem is simply a hem where the stitches are not showing on the outside of the garment. The invisibility is enhanced by using a matching thread and creating minute vertical stitches that blend into the fabric. It is particularly successful in patterned fabrics that are light to mediumweight.
When to use a blind stitch hem?
It is best suited to straight hems such as those found on a skirt or pant legs.
A blind hem should be used where you require a wider hem with an invisible finish on the right side of the garment.
If you have a round hem or are using a really thick fabric, you would be best to use bias tape to finish your hem rather than a blind stitch hem.
Blind stitch hem vs Ladder (Slip) Stitch
The blind stitch outlined in this article is purely for sewing the hems on pants and skirts.
If you are looking for an invisible stitch to sew seams shut with (for example on stuffed toys or on a lined garment), then you need a ladder stitch or a slip stitch which is created by hand stitching the seam with small stitches.
Here is a full tutorial on how to sew a ladder stitch.
Supplies to Sew a Blind Hem
In order to sew a blind hem, you don’t really need any fancy supplies. Here is a rundown of the essentials.
- The whole point of doing a blind hem is to make it invisible so make sure your thread matches as closely as possible. If you can’t find a match, going darker is normally best, but trust your instinct.
- Your thread should be strong since the stitches will need to be gently pulled through the fabric in the last step. (Read: Sewing thread types)
- Specialty blind hemming thread is available but I generally just use a strong polyester thread such as Rasant or Coats.
Sewing Machine Foot
Most mid-range machines come with a blind hem foot in their kit but you can also use an all-purpose sewing foot or a zig-zag foot
The main difference between the blind hem foot is that it has a guide to help you stitch straight. Equally good results can be found with a regular sewing foot and the careful use of a ruler. Having a good eye helps too – I always find myself drifting left when sewing so anything with a guide helps keep me on track.
All you need is your basics – a ruler, some pins and an iron!
(Read: Beginner sewing kit)
Adjusting the length of the pattern
Because a blind hem works best on wider hems of over 1 inch (2.5cm), you may need to add a little extra seam allowance to your hem if it was originally designed for a narrower hem.
Just check your pattern for the current hem allowance and adjust accordingly.
How to sew a blind stitch hem (By Machine)
Step 1: If you are using a lightweight fabric, press the raw edge up by 1/4 inch (6mm).
Alternatively, if your fabric is really bulky you could simply serger or zig-zag the edge. If you use your serger, just be careful to only cut the minimum amount from the raw edge.
Step 2: Press the edge up again by the seam allowance.
Here I am making a 1 inch (2.5cm) wide hem. Place pins along the hem vertical to the edge as shown.
Step 3: Fold the hem under towards the backs so about 1/8 inch (3mm) is poking out of the edge.
Step 4: Make sure your machine is threaded with a matching thread for the best results.
Now set your machine on the blind stitch setting. You will want a width of 2-3 and a length of 2-3.
This is what the stitches generally look like. There will be some variations between machine brands and not all machines will have a stretch fabric blind hem option.
Step 5: Most machines will come with a special foot for blind hemming. If your machine doesn’t have one don’t worry – you will just have to concentrate a little harder to sew straight.
Position the fabric underneath your machine so that the zig-zag part of the stitch just pieces through the folded top edge of the fabric.
If you have a blind stitch foot the guide will be aligned with the folded edge. Keep it aligned as you sew. Make sure you don’t sew over your pins!
Step 6: Fold the hem down. The stitches will pull vertically very slightly.
This is what it looks like on the front and back.
Final Tip for Sewing a Blind Stitch Hem
If you give your fabric a good press it will help meld the stitches into the hem making them even more invisible. Use some steam or water spray if it is a stubborn crease across the stitching anchors.
I used a contrast stitch so you could see what I was doing, but here is the same fabric with a matching thread. Invisible or at least nearly invisible!
HOW TO SEW HEMS 10 WAYS
- 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
- KNIT HEMS – Twin Needle
- SQUARE HEMS – How to Sew Mitered Corners