Sewing Glossary: How To Hem A Curved Edge

Sewing Glossary: How To Hem A Curved Edge

Today’s tutorial is a quick tip on how to finish the hem of a curved edge (a circle skirt or a rounded bottom hem of a shirt, for example). Since the curved raw edge is fuller than what you are trying to hem it into, the standard turned up twice technique is not ideal for such projects and can result in all kinds of wrinkles and puckers.

There are several ways to finish a curved edge: by hand, with a bias tape or a facing or even with a serger. However, not everybody has patience to stitch a full circle skirt by hand or owns a serger, which is why we thought we’d share with you a simple trick that gives the same finish as a normal turned up twice hem, but makes the whole hemming process a little faster and smoother while maintaining the perfect curve.

Materials & Tools

Fabric of your choice (we are using our beautiful yarn-dyed medium weight linen in IL051 Softened 100% Linen)

Matching sewing thread, pins, ruler (ideally a sewing gauge ruler), scissors, sewing machine.

Difficulty

Beginner

Time

1/2 hour

Steps

Note: Prewash your fabric and tumble dry it until it is still slightly moist, dry in room temperature. Iron the fabric so it is easier to work with.

1. Stitch a line of basting 1/4” from the raw edge, all along the hemline.

2. Using this line of stitching as your guide, press the hem towards the wrong side. Use plenty of steam and try not to stretch the fabric too much.

3. Now fold the fabric again ½” towards the wrong side, enclosing the raw edge within the fold, press and pin.

4. Lastly, working from the wrong side, edgestitch along the fold as close to the inner folded edge as possible.

If you have an edgestitching foot, now is a great time to use it. If not, your normal presser foot will do the job.

5. Give the hem a final press and admire your perfect curve!

Check out our selection of linen fabrics and make a beautiful button-down shirt using your newly acquired skill!

35 comments

  1. M-E Jinno

    Thanks for the hemming tip. Eyeballing it did not work for me either.
    Should I use a shade lighter or darker of thread if not the exact color. I do not want it to show up like asore thumb. Also looking forward to the shirt pattern. Does it have pleats or darts?


    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Hello! I think it’s best to use the same color thread. I used a lighter thread just to illustrate the process.

    2. crle

      My mom always taught me to use the slightly darker thread if your choices were slightly darker or slightly lighter than the actual fabric. That advice has always proven to be correct!

      And P.S. I love, love this hemming technique and use it all the time, rolling the first line of stitching just barely to the INSIDE of the first pressed edge so that it doesn’t show at all after the final fold and stitch. This method also works great for really narrow hems: stitch the guide line, fold along that stitched line and press, then carefully trim the raw edge down to about 1/8-inch or so, fold in one more time along that trimmed edge, and stitch. Beautiful.

  2. Loretta Hansford

    Thank you for the helping hand. Have struggled with puckers many times. You cannot iron them flat once their are there no matter how hard you try. Thank you.

  3. Mel

    I’ve been using this method for most of my sewing career. It works VERY well on every fabric I’ve ever had under my presser foot!

  4. suzanne spence

    does this work on other Fabric. have a circle skirt and it’s to long…..about 2″. . tys. other wise looks like it would work…..


    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Of course! This method works with any fabric and particularly well with slippery fabrics like silk or viscose.

  5. Cathy

    So I understanding correctly, after pressing raw edge in 1/4”, does one fold and press in an additional 1/4” for a total 1/2 “ or an additional 1/2” for a total 3/4” inch?


    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Dear Cathy, after pressing raw edge in 1/4″ you press additional 1/2″ for a a total seam allowance of 3/4″. However, if you’d like to have a larger/smaller hem, you can change that second measurement to whatever finished width you’d like.

      1. Sharon

        The second hem fold looks to me the same size (1/4 in) as the basting line. If one actually did do a 1/2 in hem, wouldn’t there be a line showing in the middle of the hem after pressing?


        1. Author
          Rima Khusainova

          Hi Sharon, yes, the second hem is folded 1/2″ to the wrong side and no, the basting stitch line wouldn’t show in the middle of the hem as you use it as a guideline to know where to press your first fold. Therefore it is actually on the first fold line and wouldn’t be visible no matter how wide you decide to make your second fold. I’m not sure if I’m making myself clear but hope this helps! 🙂

  6. Linda P

    This is one of those – “why didn’t I think of that!” Thank you for a great tute, making it look easy & professional!

  7. Emily Lindstrom

    While I was reading along I was questioning why you’d want to stitch a line when you can just eyeball it.. then I realized it’s to stabilize the areas that are on the bias so it doesn’t stretch out. Clever. =)

  8. Lynda

    I want this pattern! I’ve been searching for a blouse pattern like this for ages. May I ask where you got it, please? Thanks!


    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      Dear Lynda! Thank you very much for your comment and enthusiasm! This pattern will be available for free on the blog in one of our next tutorials. So stay tuned!

  9. Cynthia Quintanilla

    I appreciate this review! It’s amazing to remember how simple this technique is for curved hems, since I don’t do them often. Now you’ve given me an idea for a new project! Thank you so much?


    1. Author
      Rima Khusainova

      You are very welcome Cynthia! So pleased to hear that this little tutorial inspired you to sew something new!

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