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Tips & Techniques > Narrow hem in knits

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Posted by: Donna Likes Golf
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Member since: 11/29/05
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Posted on: 11/23/09 5:09 PM
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 18 people   
I recently sewed a full, fluid skirt in a poly lycra knit. When the pattern called for a narrow hem along the bottom of the skirt, I was not looking forward to it! I wanted to be sure I did not ruin the beautiful drape of the skirt and the fabric. Using a fusible or sew-in bias tape on a test scrap resulted in too much stiffness. So, I tossed the bias tape idea, set my sewing machine to a regular zig-zag stitch, adjusted the lower tension so the stitch wouldn't "tunnel", and sewed a scant 1/4-inch from the bottom of the skirt. I then pressed this stitching flat using a warm iron, and found this line of zig-zag stitching gave me just enough control of the fabric to be able to roll over a 1/4 inch hem (single fold), press it lightly, and stitch it down using the same zig-zag stitch. It worked great. The hem drapes beautifully, the zig-zag stitching accomodates the stretch of the fabric, and I didn't have to use any other notions but thread to make it work. Next time you have to sew a narrow hem on a knit, try this out. Test a scrap first to get the correct lower thread tension (and perhaps the stitch length and width - I used a 3 width and 4 length) to avoid tunneling the fabirc and remember to press lightly (knits can scorch!).

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JFranci97 said... (2/25/12 5:45 AM) Reply
Thanks for the great tip! I did the first zig zag on the raw edge. Then I turned it under as normal but did a straight stitch on the wrong side while slightly stretching and the lycra kept its stretch and shape.
mssewcrazy said... (12/1/09 10:08 AM) Reply
I think this is a really good tip especially if dealing with some weird color knit from the stash where you may only have one spool of thread that matches . I get in a panic when there is no thread to use the serger, coverstitch or a twin needle. Also some knits are difficult to hem like your skirt so this offers another choice that is available to everyone with a zigzag machine and one spool of thread. Thanks for the idea.
what is not taken said... (11/24/09 10:00 AM) Reply
Great tip! Thanks.
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