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Forum > Beginner's Forum > getting even hems and pockets...what's the trick? ( Moderated by EleanorSews)

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getting even hems and pockets...what's the trick?
Jenniel73
Jenniel73
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Date: 10/23/13 3:17 PM

Hi all. I'm a new sewer. For the life of me I cannot figure out how to get even folds to press under when making pockets and hems. For instance I'm working on my 6 year olds halloween costume. it is a cheerleading uniform so i'm using a thick knit (polyester?). The instructions said to fold under a 1/4 inch and press. I couldn't get the folds to stay, even when pressed! so when i went to sew i had to try and hold the fold which as you might imagine ended up in quite a mess.

I have similar issues when trying to construct pockets. How do you fold to such a little measurement in order to create the outer edges????

I stink and keeping hems straight as well.

I've done a bunch of google searches and library book reading and nothing seems to work!

Thanks in advance!

------
Jennie, Washington DC

Debbie Lancaster
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Date: 10/23/13 3:32 PM

Here's one ingenious tip about getting pockets right, from Pam Erny's blog: Perfect Pockets

And another: Twin Pockets

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Debbie

Jenniel73
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Date: 10/23/13 4:17 PM

Those are both good ideas but how in the world you keep those little tiny edges from becoming uneven during the press process???

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Jennie, Washington DC

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 10/23/13 4:17 PM

Well, for folding to the little edges, I use a seam gauge to get the perfect (tiny) amount, usually about a quarter inch, as you said. (Well, to be honest, at this point I've done it enough that I can eyeball it and know what is 1/4". But in the beginning I always used a seam gauge.) And then I use a chopstick to hold it in place while I press. I have also always pressed with an iron as hot as the fabric will safely allow.

Now for keeping hems straight, again, there may be a more modern knack or nifty tool for it, but I use the old-fashioned method. I hem at my ironing board. I stand there with the item to be hemmed, the hot iron, and the seam gauge or hem gauge, and just work my way around, bringing the fabric to the proper hem depth and pressing it firmly into place. For some fabrics, I may use pins to help hold the hem in place. I've used hem clips (but for me, it was just one extra step).

If there's a lot of fabric or it's slippery or in some other way it's a tricky hem to keep even, you might consider investing in one of those chalk hem markers. It helps when you have no one else to help you mark the hem while you're wearing the garment. It's a handy device that marks the hem evenly all around the fabric with a little "puff" of chalk. You would just want to stand quite still as you were marking.

KathleenS
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Date: 10/23/13 4:45 PM

It sounds like your fabric is not helping. A cotton would press much more nicely. You could do a line of stitching along the intended fold line before you press which acts as a sort of crease and may help. Using a damp press cloth for steam may help too. Otherwise I would baste the mini-hem in place by hand before stitching (and then remove the basting).

aprilla
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Date: 10/23/13 5:07 PM

There's a sewing tool called a 'clapper' that helps with pressing. After you press/steam you put it down on the just ironed bit of fabric for a little while.
I don't have one but on occasion I've used my sleeve board as a makeshift one, placing it upside down onto the fabric, and it really does help get a nice press. Now and again I've even used my lower arm (yes, my arm), though I don't recommend this as you could get burned.
If loads of pins and good pressing didn't get the fabric to behave I might resort to a little fusible hemming tape to keep it together for sewing.

CM_Sews
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Date: 10/23/13 5:07 PM

I assume this is a patch pocket. I've pretty much given up on the "fold over the edges and press" method. I do some variation of a double-layer pocket, similar to this Two-minute Patch Pocket tutorial.

You do not need to use the same poly knit for the inside of the pocket. You can use anything you have on hand, preferably something lighter or thinner.

CMC

Debbie Lancaster
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Subject: getting even hems and pockets...whats the trick? Date: 10/23/13 5:27 PM

For turning the edges for patch pockets (and for hems), I use a ruler and chalk mark on the wrong side a line twice the depth of the seam, then fold up to the chalk mark and press. Sometimes I pin, but a glue stick or Wash-a-Way Wonder tape can also help.

Or you can line the pocket. Or you can use the tip about Twin Pockets, press well, then separate the pockets and discard one. It's not much fabric, after all!
-- Edited on 10/23/13 5:28 PM --

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Debbie



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Subject: getting even hems and pockets...whats the trick? Date: 10/23/13 9:08 PM

I take a different approach. I line the pockets using a 1/4 inch seam. I leave a few inches open to turn the pocket but basically sew it all around. Turn the pocket and press and that's it, a lot less fussy, IMO. Besides, lined pockets feel really nice.

ShantiSeamstressing
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Date: 10/23/13 9:51 PM

Quote: bunnypn
I take a different approach. I line the pockets using a 1/4 inch seam. I leave a few inches open to turn the pocket but basically sew it all around. Turn the pocket and press and that's it, a lot less fussy, IMO. Besides, lined pockets feel really nice.

Simple....but genius!

This is wonderful. Thank you!

::mumbles to self:: Now why didn't I think of this after more than a decade of sewing?
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