Hey guys! I’m back today with a short tut on the narrow hem foot. Sewing a narrow hem on your sewing machine isn’t fiddly or tedious when you have a narrow hem foot. In fact, once you get used to the foot, narrow hems can actually be a quick and easy finish for you to have in your sewing arsenal.
I’ve been having fun, playing around with shooting video lately so I have a video tut for you below (if it doesn’t play for you for some reason here it is on Youtube). If you prefer text, just scroll below the video for the tut.
Narrow hem feet come in a few different sizes, usually 2 mm, 4 mm, and 6 mm. I’m using my 4 mm (~1/4″) one for this tut because it was less fiddly than the 2mm and therefore easier to get pictures.
The foot has a curly little contraption on the front of it that is called the curl. The Curl is what folds the fabric into the narrow hem. To the right of the curl is a little projecting part called the toe. The toe works as a guide, helping you keep your fabric aligned. On the bottom of the foot is a groove. The width of the groove is the same size as your finished hem will be.
Since I’m hemming a flutter sleeve for this tut, I’ll be hemming a slight curve. It works the same as if I am hemming a straight line, it’s just a bit more fiddly in that I have to be extra careful that I’m feeding the fabric in evenly. If you are trying to hem a really curved piece like a circle skirt, it’s a good idea to stay stitch along the raw edge (as close as you can get) first so the bias of the fabric doesn’t cause the hem to get all wonky on ya.
To get started, I finger press about an inch of the hem. First I press the whole hem allowance to the wrong side and then I fold in the raw edge to make the hem. Since this hem is 1/8″, first I pressed 1/4″ to the wrong side, and then I fold half of that under to make a 1/8″ hem. Then I squeeze the daylights out of it to make it stay put. (If you really want to be precise you can pull out your seam gauge and iron and go to town, but I always just eyeball it because you can use the groove on the bottom of the foot to check the hem width before you start)
With your fabric wrong side up, slide the finger pressed hem under the narrow hem foot. You can see a little bit of the groove when your foot is on your machine (it’s circled in the picture below). Fit the hem you finger pressed into the groove and check that it’s the right width. If it’s not, just pull it out, adjust it, and try again. If it is the right width, lower the foot and let’s get the needle lined up.
Adjust your needle so that it just catches the fold. Lower your needle and keep it there.
Now that you have the needle holding the edge of your hem in place, lift your foot, unfold the hem towards the front of the foot, and gently guide the fabric into the curl.
Once you have the fabric fed into the curl, lower you foot and line the fold up with the toe of your foot and the raw edge up with the opening of the curl on the left side of the foot. Sew one or two stitches, backstitch, and then keep on sewing nice and slow, making sure the fabric is feeding into the curl nice and evenly.
Hint: If your machine is being a PITA and insists on trying to eat your fabric, you can cut a small strip of tear away stabilizer, and stick it under your fabric to get the hem started. Once you are finished, just tear it away.
Keep on sewing and adjusting your fabric as you go. If you are sewing a slight curve like me, you’ll just have to stop and adjust your fabric more often. Sew all the way to the end and back stitch to lock your stitches.
Now give that hem a good press and admire your handy work!