How to- narrowest rolled hem

I used to dream of tiny delicate rolled hems and despair over my inability to make a rolled hem foot work on anything but straight edged pieces of sturdy cotton. I was somewhat consoled when, while at work for an opera company, I learned of the “rolled hem” capability of some sergers. Still, I didn’t have one of those so the despair continued…
I moved to Arizona and got a job in a bridal shop working for the best seamstress I’ve ever laid eyes on. (and I’ve seen a few) I started as a basic dress wrangler, Suzi doesn’t let just anybody take needle to her gowns. After a few months though, I wasn’t just anybody anymore and in the heat of bridal season even the best need extra hands. Hands that can execute a killer hem.
And that is how this dream came true for me.
Now, I’ll share it with you.
Start by folding the edge of your fabric, just once, about a quarter of an inch. Don’t bother pressing that fold, it will slow you down and make things harder. Just fold as you go along.
Put it on your machine and stitch as close to the fold as you can get without running off the edge. That will be about one sixteenth of an inch.

When you’ve made it all the way back to your starting point, pat yourself on the back and admire your work. Here’s what the inside should look like.

If you have any bits like this, don’t sweat it.

Just trim them off. Also, if you notice any places where that raw edge is notably wider than the rest, trim that down.

Now get back on that machine!
Fold your hem in one more time. Your previous seam should be just to the inside of the fold. Keep-a-goin’ till you get back to the starting point,

And Ta Da! Rolled hem perfection!
Wrong side

Right side

Doh! This is what it looks like if you missed trimming a trouble spot before you stitched down the second fold. It’s really not a big deal, just trim it now and you’ll never know the difference.

Now you’re going to want to press the whole thing to smooth out any ripples that might have occurred as a result of the hemming process.
The fabric I was working with here was stretch chameuse cut in a circle. You can bet there were ripples going on when I finished sewing. They didn’t stick around though.


Happy hemming!

10 Responses to How to- narrowest rolled hem

  1. Thank you so much!! I was just dealing with this. I tried and tried to get the rolled hem foot on my machine to work with me, but it won't. This is a great piece of info for me. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Sandy,
    hmm, I usually leave a seam in the back of my circles. Also, most of the circle skirts I do are for babies and I close with buttons rather than zippers. I have a few ideas floating around my head though, now that you brought it up. I might give it a try just because I love a finishing challenge.

    Thanks for you comments everybody! I'm glad it was helpful.

  3. Ok so I have a serger and Ive done the rolled hem on that. Its a pain in the bum…This looks soooo much easier. No removing the second needle. no fidgeting with the knife that cuts the excess fabric. and then when you're done with that hem.. you have to replace the second needle and rethread one of the lines.. pain in the …….uch!

  4. To insert a zipper couldn't you: Measure the waist opening two to one and a half inches narrower than you need, cut out a half circle of coordinating fabric, make a slit from the waist to to the diameter of said circle minus one inch, fold circle in half and stitch it in, inserting the zipper between the skirt and half circle? I was taught to sew in a costuming shop at college and by my grandma, so I am not a professional, but I don't see how it couldn't work.

  5. oh thank god! i just spent two hours raging with my 1/8″ rolled hem foot to no avail. this saved me and my beautiful chiffon. 🙂


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