Fix It Friday - Torn Hems

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Have you ever looked at the bottom of your garment and found it looks a little wonky along the hem? It's a torn hem, and if left unfixed the garment could end up slightly longer!  

What's a hem?

Hems are found at the bottoms of the legs of trousers and shorts, skirts and dresses or tops. It is where the fabric is folded over to give the edges a clean finish. If we didn't have hems our clothes would have frilly edges!  

In my opinion, hems usually get torn when we are not careful when we put on our clothes (ever tried pushing your leg down the trouser leg and suddenly hit a snag?), or it is a result of a tangled mess in the washing machine. Hems are really easy to repair. All you need is thread, needle, tailor pins and an iron. Oh, and a little patience!

Step 1 Iron and Pin Hem

Remember to use the right heat setting on the iron.  You can use the crease along the bottom of the garment as a guide. Use tailor pins and pin perpendicular to the hem. You can skip the pins if the area to fix is small.

Step 2  Thread Needle

Choose a suitable coloured thread - match it or a similar colour. There is no need to double up - a single thread is sufficient.  I always leave about 1" tail after the knot.

Step 3 Sew a Blind Stitch

I like to do a zig zag (herringbone) blind stitch between the folded hem and the panel of fabric. The key tips to mending the hem are : 

a) to take small nicks of the main fabric so that the stitches don't show - see diagram below
b) not pull too hard on the thread or the fabric will pucker and the hem will have little dimples!
c) not to have your stitches to wide apart. You are trying to keep the hem up. If the stitches are too wide apart the hem will not be reinforced and very soon you could end up with a torn hem again.

I have used grey thread here so that you can see the stitches.  Here's a schematic of the stitching. 

a) Needle goes through 1 up through the fabric
b) Needle goes down 2 to the right side of the fabric and comes back up 3 a few milimeters away.
c) Needles goes back down to 4 then back up through 5. The pattern is then repeated.

Have you tried using a sewing machine to fix hems? I have always used handsewing for mending hems as machine doesn't have this option, but I'm wondering whether it is faster with the sewing machine, or is using hand sewing just as good. Share here!

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