The Complete Guide on How to Hand Sew a Hem

If you’re looking to add some flair to your wardrobe, try learning how to hand sew a hem!

You have been sewing for a while now and have the whole straight stitch thing down pat. What about those hems?

Hand-stitched hems are an essential part of any sewing arsenal. A hand stitched hem will make your garment look like you spent a lot more time on them—which is great because you don’t want to spend all day working on your next project!

Hand-stitching a hem is an art that has been practiced for decades. They are a detail that adds a touch of class to your garments. They are time-consuming, but the effort is worth it.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through everything you have to know about hand-stitching hems. You will learn how to hand sew a hem in different ways. It’s not as hard as it looks—and it will make you look like a pro!

Let’s get started. 

What is a hem?

A hem refers to the edge of a piece of fabric that is folded over and stitched down to create a finished edge. A hem is created by folding the raw edge of the fabric twice and sewing it.

Hems are commonly used to finish the raw edges of garments, curtains, tablecloths, and other fabric items. They serve multiple purposes, including providing a neat appearance, preventing fraying, and adding weight and stability to the fabric.

How to Hand Sew a Hem: Easy Tutorial

Hemming different types of clothes by hand is not tough, but it does take some practice. 

If you want to learn how to hand sew a hem on a skirt or pants leg in a simple way, then this section will show you how it’s done! 

How to hand sew a hem

Image Source: Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

Step 1: Press the Fabric

Pressing is one of the most important steps of the “how to hand sew a hem” tutorial. It gives you a clean edge that lays flat against the garment.

To press, take your iron and place it on top of the types of fabric where you want to sew your hemline. Then, use your iron to move back and forth over this area until it is smooth.

The wrong side of your fabric will be facing up when doing this step. Make sure any marks from pressing do not show on the front side after it has been sewn down later.

Hand sewn hem tutorial

Image Source: Mary Jo’s Cloth Design Blog

To avoid marks showing through onto the finished product when using iron, as described above, use a pressing cloth under whatever item you’re working with. That way, just the underside gets pressed. 

Step 2: Lift a Narrow Section of Fabric, Fold It Over and Pin It in Place

Repeat this process on the other side of the garment, then flip your garment over so that you can hand sew hem on both sides at once.

Make sure you fold the fabric to the right side of your garment. 

Step 3: Whipstitch the Folded Edge

Use a sewing needle and thread to whip stitch the folded edge. Insert the needle into one side of the hem and bring it out at the top. Then insert it again at the bottom and bring it out at the top.

How to sew a hem by hand

Image Source: Megan Nielsen Patterns Blog

Now pull on both ends of your thread, so they come together in one spot at either end of your hemline. Secure by making three small knots with each end on opposite sides of where they meet up inside your hemline

Trim excess fabric near where it meets up with another row of stitches. Repeat until you’ve completed a row of stitches parallel to your original stitch line. 

Step 4: Check to See if You Need to Adjust the Fold

If your hem is crooked, use an iron (set on high) and a pressing cloth to press out the wrinkles. Then, check again.

    • If your hem has yet to come up straight, try turning it over and sewing it again.
    • If your finished hem is too long or too short, trim off excess fabric with pinking shears.

Step 5: Secure the Thread and Trim Excess Fabric

The last step of “how to sew the edge of fabric by hand” is to secure your thread by sewing a few stitches over the hem. This will ensure it will be done when you cut the excess fabric off.

Cut away excess fabric above your hemline (1/4 inch is ideal). This is important as it prevents fraying when you wash or dry clean your garment, so remember!

How to hand sew a hem step by step

Image Source: The Craft Sessions

Press along the hemline with an iron on medium heat settings. Check-in between each pass so there are no folds or creases in the fabric from using too much pressure with your iron (or vice versa).

Once you have learned how to hand sew a hem, you will be able to save time and money by sewing your own clothes. You will also be able to customize your wardrobe with unique and personal fabric.

If you’re looking for a way to make your clothes stand out, why not go with woven labels, hang tags, or care labels from Super Label Store? These clothing labels are a great way to flaunt your unique sense of style and give your garments a professional touch. We also have a wide range of options available, so you will be sure to find something that suits your style. 

How to label clothes

5 Best Ways to Hand Sew a Hem

Hand stitching can be done on almost any garment. Be it jeans or evening gowns. Sewing a hem by hand is a fantastic way to make your garments unique.

A hemstitch is one of the easiest stitches to learn to sew, and it adds a beautiful finishing touch to every piece of clothing.

How to hand sew a blind hem

Image Source: The Sewing Garden

Here is the best way to hand sew a hem. Some methods are more time-consuming, while others may be easier but require more patience. 

Blind Hem

A hand-sewn-blind stitch hem is a good choice for finishing the edge of a garment, like jeans or skirts. This hem technique is also known as an invisible stitch hem.

Blind hem stitch by hand

Image Source: Yesterday’s Thimble

To learn “how to sew a blind hem by hand,” follow these steps:

    • Fold the hem under twice, so the fabric covers itself and creates a seam. Pin in place if necessary.
    • Next, fold the hem back towards the right side of the garment, ensuring that approximately ⅛” (3mm) of the folded fabric is visible above the top edge of the hem.
    • Place your needle into the fold and bring it out 1/8 inch away from where you started stitching.
    • The next step of “how to sew a blind stitch hem by hand “ is to pull on the thread until it forms a loop and continue to stitch forward as normal.
    • Keep going until you get to the end of your hem—you can stop here or keep going around again for more coverage!

To add a variation, you can employ the same technique but enhance it by sewing a catch stitch to create a blind catch stitch. This modified stitch will provide slightly stronger reinforcement. It works exceptionally well with a double-fold hem since the majority of the stitching remains concealed within the upper fold of the hem allowance, resulting in a clean and seamless finish.

Slip Stitch Hem

The slip stitch hem is another best way to hand sew a hem. It’s easy to finish edges on clothing, curtains, and other projects. It’s also easy to do by hand, with just a few stitches.

How to slipstitch by hand

Image Source: Tilly and the Buttons

To learn how to sew a slip-stitch hem, start stitching a straight stitch along the hem edge of your fabric. Make sure to leave a long tail at one end of your stitches for later use.

Using a needle and thread, sew a small running stitch along the length of each row of stitches on the bottom edge of your fabric. Use knots at either end, so you don’t pull them through when you’re finished stitching off your threads later! 

To finish things off, grab a small portion of fabric using your needle. Shift to the left approximately ¼” to ½” and grab a small portion of the folded hem. Repeat this process, moving to the left each time, and grab another small section of fabric. Continue this pattern all the way around the hem.

Scalloped Hem 

If you’re looking for how to make clothes with a scalloped hem, you first want to make sure that your fabric has been folded in half and pressed. You can use an iron or roll over it with a rolling pin to help flatten out any wrinkles.

Scalloped hem easy tutorial

Image Source: Seamwork Blog

Take your needle and thread and start at the bottom of your hemline on one side of the skirt or pant leg. Zigzag up towards where you want the first scallop to begin, but stop before reaching it so that there isn’t extra material sticking up above.

Turn over and sew back down until you reach just above where you started sewing on the second side of your garment. 

Repeat this process by going back up toward where another scallop will begin, but stop before reaching it so that there isn’t extra material sticking up above. Repeat this process until all of your desired number of scallops have been created! 

Braided Hem

You may have heard of this type of hem called the braid hem. A braided hem is a decorative way to finish the edge of a garment.

How to hand sew a braided hem

Image Source: Sewing with Scooby Snacks

To learn how to do a braided hem by hand, measure the length of the hemline you want to braid. Cut two pieces of thread that are one-third longer than this length. Fold each piece in half and knot the ends together so that you have two loops with loose ends sticking out.

Take one loop and place it over one edge of your garment. Use a ruler or tape measurer to mark where you need to start braiding. Then start braiding: move your needle up through the fabric, around the loop, and then down through the fabric again. 

Don’t forget to pull on both threads each time you go up through the fabric. This way, they will be tightened against each other in an alternating pattern until you reach the end of your marked section. 

Then pull them tight once more before moving on to another row of stitches. Do this until all rows have been completed. 

Blanket Stitch Hem

The blanket stitch hem is a simple and quick way to sew a hem. It’s also a very attractive finish that can be used on many different types of fabrics.

Blanket stitch hem

Image Source: Stitch School

To do this blanket stitch hem, you’ll need to start with your right side facing outwards and work on the wrong side of your fabric. This will ensure that when you flip it over, you’ll have a pretty seam that looks professional and neat. 

There are other popular hem stitch techniques available that you can employ like Double Fold Hem, Rolled Hem, Faced Hem, Piped Hem, etc.

Hand Hemming or Machine Sewing Hemming: Which Way to Choose?

Hemming can be done by both hand and the sewing machine. When determining whether to opt for hand hemming or using a sewing machine, it’s important to consider the nature of the project.

For instance, when dealing with a circular skirt and bias binding, it’s generally more efficient and precise to use a sewing machine. However, when working with a draped silk jersey dress, you might prefer the elegance and control of hand-sewing a blind hem.

Frequently asked questions

What Is The Best Stitch For Hemming?

For sewing a hem on your sewing machine, the ideal stitch to utilize is a medium-length straight stitch. If you opt for hand sewing, the recommended stitches are the slip hemming stitch or the blind hand stitch. These stitches possess the remarkable quality of being nearly imperceptible on the garment’s exterior.

How do you hand stitch evenly?

For achieving even hand stitching, a useful technique is to measure and mark small lines on your finger using a pen. This way, you can compare your stitches with the marks on your finger as you progress. Over time, as you gain experience, you will reach a point where you no longer rely on this method.

How should I use the previous stitch when hand-sewing a hem?

When making a new stitch, start by inserting the needle through the fabric, close to the folded edge. Then, catch a small amount of fabric from the previous stitch before pulling the thread through. This will create a continuous line of stitches, securing the hem neatly.


Hand-sewing a hem is a skill that every sewist should know. It just looks so much better than a machine-stitched hem!

With the above information, you have understood how to hand sew a hem in different ways. You can use this skill to repair your clothes or make new ones that fit you. This article will be helpful if you’re making something for yourself or a friend.

If you still need to figure out your hand-sewing abilities, try practicing on a pair of old jeans before tackling your new dress. You don’t want to ruin your nice clothes.

Happy stitching!