20 Oct 2011

Finishing the hem with bias tape

How to finish a hem if you don't have a dress form?
Having a dress form can certainly come handy if you are at the last phase of making a garment, the hem finishing. It makes the measuring easier. I don't have a dress form, but I figured out a way to get the hemming right very quick and accurate. I like my skirts just falling on/above the knee.
I like to finish a hem with a contrasting color bias tape or ribbon. On my blue dress I used a dark blue bias tape, since the shop run out of the pale pink one I started with (isn't it ridiculous?)

How to get the length right?
- I pin the seam allowance of the hem in place
- I put the dress/skirt on and adjust the hem seam allowance one side of the dress in front of a mirror (just with a few pins)
- I take the dress off and measure how long the skirt should be at the mid front, mid back and at the sides (For me it is usually 1 cm shorter at the mid front than at the sides and back)
- I pin the hem again, measuring at every 10 cm from the waist down
- I put the dress on and check if the front and the back length are even and the right and left side are even
- Take the dress off again

Bias tape finishing:
- I press the hem from the wrong side of the skirt (with the pins in place)
- I remove the pins and cut the excess fabric, leaving 2 cm from the fold:

- I sew the bias tape with the usual seam allowance of 1.5 cm (5/8''), placing the bias tape with the right side to the right side of the skirt:

- Cut 1/2 of the excess fabric (0.6 cm=1/4''): 

- Fold the hem and press again:

- Catch-stitch the bias tape:

This leaves small dots of thread on the right side of the fabric, practically invisible from a distance, but I really like the way it looks:

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