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Message Board > Sewing Techniques and Tips > Best hem technique for shortening a RTW rib knit top? ( Moderated by MissCelie)

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Best hem technique for shortening a RTW rib knit top?
I want to shorten a T-neck hem without adding bulk
marjoriekh
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marjoriekh  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/19/13 8:29 PM

I recently read somewhere (here?) the news that turtlenecks are now considered unflattering on everyone. This spurred me into action, as I suddenly remembered that close fitting rib-knit turtlenecks are flattering on me. I ordered two RTW on sale after Christmas.

As usual, these RTW tops are way too long for my taste, so I want to take about 3 inches off the hem of each. They are rayon/nylon blends.

One method would be to trim them and hem as I would any knit top I've made on my SM: folding up a hem, using knit tape as stabilizer and sewing with a double needle or stretch stitch. Problem is, this will add bulk at the hem, and I don't think a turned hem looks so great on a good quality rib knit. (The hems are knitted-in on the sleeves and body now, and look very sleek and polished this way.)

Can anyone suggest another method that would not involve turning the hem? (I've thought of a lettuce edge, but I haven't been able to get my SM to do one reliably yet, and I'd hate to ruin these tops trying. I'm also not sure I want that frilly look.)

Thanks for any ideas!

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marjoriekh

Elona
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Date: 1/19/13 10:17 PM

I'm suspecting that a serged narrow hem or rolled edge, with careful attention to feed, might prove the best solution.

Do you have enough fabric to experiment with?

SandiMacD
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Date: 1/20/13 8:26 AM

I saw a Sewing with Nancy show where she sewed on a strip of cotton to use in the hem of a sweat shirt. Perhaps you can first sew on a 2in cotton band at the edge where you want your hem. Then cut off the bulk of the rib knit below that seam. Then turn under the woven band which is not bulky and serves as your hemming fabric.
It might need to be hand stitched to the rib knit. You can add a top stitch with your sewing machine if you want a flatter looking hem line.

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marjoriekh
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In reply to Elona <<


Date: 1/20/13 1:30 PM

I haven't got a serger, or I'd try the serged hem first. Is there a stitch on an SM (I've got a Bernina 930) that would do a similar job to a serger?

I think I can cut a strip of about 1 1/2 inches off the hem to start, and can experiment with that.

Oops -- edited to say Thank You to Elona!
-- Edited on 1/20/13 1:33 PM --

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marjoriekh

marjoriekh
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Date: 1/20/13 1:32 PM

Oh -- I forgot that I did this once on a very bulky sweater knit and it worked beautifully. I used a strip of rayon/lycra knit as the hem facing. There is still a little bulk right where the hem is turned, but the thin facing really does make a difference. Thanks for the suggestion.

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marjoriekh

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Date: 1/20/13 1:55 PM

If the current hem on the shirts is a separate rib from the body (as in sweaters), you can do a variation of the jeans hem. Fold out the desired length above the ribbed hem, pin, and stitch. A ribbed hem is generally created such that there is a clear delineation between the hem and the body; sew with the hem side up and stitch in the delineation. This preserves the ribbed hem, so there is no extra bulk at all at the bottom of the shirt.

Once the length is right, trim off the excess (body) fabric you folded out. You don't have a serger, so I'd trim it close and zigzag, and then see whether it looks better pressed up or down. You could also try leaving a larger seam allowance and pressing it open, if that is less bulky.
-- Edited on 1/20/13 1:57 PM --

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Quickie
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Date: 1/20/13 3:15 PM

I don't see the material but if it's sort of fine a folding elastic might also be an option

marjoriekh
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Date: 1/20/13 10:12 PM

nicegirl, the hem is not a separate rib, but I want to consider whether something like this might work anyway. I'm going to play around with it. Maybe several close tucks, to make a design feature?

Thanks for the idea.

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marjoriekh

marjoriekh
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Date: 1/20/13 10:15 PM

quickie, this might work for the navy one -- navy FOE would be easy to find. The other one is an unusual red-violet, so maybe impossible to match. I like this idea, though. If I did this, I could add FOE to the sleeve hems as well for continuity. Thanks!

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marjoriekh

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