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This is part of the Back to Basics Series of tutorials sponsored by Coats Crafts.  

Single Fold Hem

Back to Basics sewing

Another useful hem technique to learn, this time with a single fold.


Step-by-step to a single fold hem

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.


Tutorials for hems

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.


Pin a hem ready for sewing

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

Hand stitch 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.


Learn hand stitching techniques

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. 


Step by step to sewing hems

In this image on the right is the contrast stitching and on the left I’ve used a matching thread so you can hardly see it.  

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

Machining a single fold hem

Sewing a machine stitched hem

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.

Back to Basics sewing skills