Learn how to sew a wide hem on skirts and dresses 5 ways. A wide hem gives a professional finish and a flattering shape to the bottom of your skirts and dresses. It adds body and structure due to the thickness of the fabric and the width of the hem.
WHY USE A WIDE HEM?
The main reason to use a wide hem instead of a narrow hem is to give some shape to the bottom of a dress or skirt. It gives a flattering look and is a more suitable hem type for medium to heavy-weight fabrics.
See how the hem on this women’s skirt pattern holds out from the body, creating a flattering silhouette for all body types.
5 ways to sew a wide hem
There are 5 main ways to sew a wide hem. Grab some scrap fabric and experiment as to which style suits your garment the best.
Create a wide hem with a:
- Zig-Zag Stitch
- Double Fold
- Bias Tape
METHOD 1 – Sew a Wide Hem with a Serger
This method is great for thick fabrics as you only need to fold up the hem once.
Start by using your serger or the overlock stitch on your regular machine to finish the raw edge. Since the hem will only be folded once, you may need to trim a little off the seam allowance.
Press up your wide hem by the seam allowance and straight stitch across on top of the overlocking stitches.
METHOD 2 – Sew a Wide Hem with a Zig-Zag
If you don’t have a serger or overlocking stitch on your regular machine, you can get a similar result with a zig-zag stitch.
This method is best with fabrics that are thick but do not fray excessively.
Set your zig-zag to a width or 4 -5 and a length of 1-2. You can use a regular zig-zag or 3 step zig-zag.
Stitch along the raw edge about 1/4 inch (6mm) from the edge and trim close to your stitches.
Press up the wide hem by the seam allowance and straight stitch close to the raw edge and on top of your zig-zag stitches.
METHOD 3: Wide Hem with a Double Folded Edge
Traditional double folded hems are a great wide hemming method for thin to medium weight fabrics that fray as the edge is neatly tucked away.
Press up the raw edge by 1/4 inch (6mm) and then press the edge again by the seam allowance. Then simply straight stitch along the inside folded edge.
METHOD 4: Wide Hem with Ribbon
Using hemming tape or satin ribbon is a great way to hem skirts and dresses made from bulky fabrics or thinner fabrics where any serging or folding will cause a ridge to show on the outside.
Start by pinning and then stitching the tape to the right side of the fabric on the raw edge. You will want it to overlap by about 1/4 inch (6mm).
Then press up your wide hem and stitch the tape along its upper edge.
METHOD 5: Wide Hem with Bias
Using bias tape to finish a wide hem is a common method of hemming used for medium-weight fabrics that fray easily. I still remember my grandmother using this technique for her woolen skirts.
This method commonly uses 1/2 inch (12mm) wide single fold bias tape.
Start by opening up one side of your bias tape and pinning it to the right side of the fabric.
Straight stitch in the crease which will be 1/4 inch (6mm) from the edge.
Press the seam. Press up the hem by the seam allowance and straight stitch along the top edge of the bias.
What is your favorite method? Please share below.
RELATED: HOW TO SEW HEMS
- GENERAL HEMS – How to Sew a Hem
- 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