Bespoke fabric printing
Jersey fabrics UK
Dressmaking fabrics
Online dressmaking fabric shop
Online quilting store
Dressmaking kits
Craft fabrics
Quilting fabric shop
Quilting fabrics
Online quilting store

Fabric superstore
Eco Friendly fabrics
Corsetry supplies
Sewing Patterns for Children

Single Fold Hem

How to sew a single fold hem

A single fold hem is a useful sewing technique to learn.  Follow the instructions below to master it for yourself. 

How to protect the raw edge of fabric with a zig zag stitch

Zig zag stitch or overlock stitch along the bottom of your fabric. We’ve used an overlock stitch for this example.  You need to stitch right along the very edge of your fabric to stop it fraying.

Sewing a folded 1 inch hem

Turn up your hem and press – this example shows  a 1 inch hem.  Pressing will make the fabric sit in place for when you stitch it, making your hem more accurate.

Pinning a hem into place

Pin in place before stitching down. You can then either do a hand stitch (almost invisible) or a machine stitch (slightly visible but faster) finish.  

Hand Stitching a single fold hem

How to hand sew a single fold hem

Work from the back of the fabric. To start, put your knot between the hem and the fabric then pull your needle out towards you.  Insert the needle at right angles to the hem, picking up a few threads at the front of the fabric, just under the hemstitching and bring the needle out towards you through the overlock/zigzag stitch that you just did.

Beginner's sewing techniques - hemming

As you can see from the photo there are only a few very small stitches showing on the right side of the fabric.  If your thread was the same colour as the fabric they would be barely visible.  We used a contrasting thread so you can easily see the stitches – the blue thread is the hand stitching. When you do it you would use a matching thread so that it blends in and isn’t visible. 

To finish off at the end take a couple of stitches through just the hem allowance to secure your thread. The trick is to get regular stitches so it looks neat from the front.  Practice will help.

Machine stitching a single fold hem

How to machine sew a single fold hem
Machine stitched hem from the back
How hem a garment
Machine Sewn single fold hem shown from the front

Sew a straight stitch through the middle of the overlocking/zig zag stitch or just below.  You don’t want to get too close to the edge as it’s still quite a fragile edge.  Machine stitching is faster and ideal if you don’t mind slightly visible stitches on the right side.  Again if you match the thread as closely as possible to the fabric it will not be too visible. However if you want a completely invisible finish hand stitching is the best option.


This hem is more useful for thicker/heavier fabrics where you don’t want a double layer like you would get with a double turn hem,  for example sweatshirt material, coats, wool trousers, formal trousers etc. 


The fabric used in this tutorial is Baby Geo from the Foxfield collection by Tula Pink, the thread is Coats Duet.