Discover Fast Hemming With The Wide Hem Foot
For a couple of months now, we have this great little set in our store, 3 wide hemmer feet. In this blogpost I tried to collect all there is to know about these feet.
Using a new tool can be a bit frustrating at first. But persistence and practice do pay off and it has become clear to me that using the right foot is the way to go. In this post, I’ll show you in detail how to keep your fabric feeding smoothly, how to deal with crossing seams, endings, and other hemming situations.
A wide hemmer foot makes accurate double turned and top stitched hems. No marking your fabric, no pinning, no pressing, just sewing! The foot turns the fabric under twice and stitches it down, eliminating all the preparatory steps. And.. you get professional looking turned hems for free :-)
With the wide hem foot set, you can sew hems of 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch and 1 inch wide. There is a foot for each width. The final width of your hem may vary slightly depending on the thickness and weight of your fabric as well as your sewing technique.
Some people might be more familiar with the rolled hem foot or the flat hem foot. The smaller brothers of these feet. They come with the 32pcs Ultimate Presser Foot Set (# 30 and #31). These feet both create a similar delicate and very thin hem for lightweight fabrics, perfect for finishing blouses or summer skirts. The difference between these feet is the final hem produced by #30 is slightly rounder, as it escapes the back of the foot through a curved groove. #31 creates a flattened hem.
The wide hem foot is a universal presser foot on which a guide with a small curled fabric folder is attached to prefold the fabric before it reaches the actual presser foot.There is a thumb screw to adjust this fabric guide. You can move the guide left to right to position the hem edge under the needle. You can reposition your needle as well to get the hems right.
The presser foot measurements: 2” x 1 ¾”
The fabric folder sizes: 8/8”, 6/8” & 4/8”
The thumb screw moves the guide 3/16” left to right
- With these feet, you can make 1 inch, ¾ inch and ½ inch double folded hems on different projects:
- Apparel: skirts, pants, shorts, blouses, shirts, ...
- Home decor: curtains, tea towels, napkins, sheets, tablecloths...
On long straight hems it’s really great and an enormous time gain but it can also be used for the curved hems of a skirt or a round tablecloth. Curved folds are always a bit tricky, so just like you would do without this foot, I advise you to baste stitch the circle first and trim a little to make the circular fold neat and tidy.
You don’t necessarily need a corner to start, the wide hem foot can be used perfectly for tubular hems.
Medium weight fabrics work the easiest but you can use a wide hem foot with a wide variety of fabrics. For heavy fabrics, use the wider hemmer feet, not the ½” .
I hemmed this Ikea curtain for a friend of mine with the 1 inch foot and a very lightweight tablecloth for my garden table with the ½ inch foot.
You can also use this foot with knit fabrics and even use a double needle, but the double line will be on the wrong side (the bobbin side makes the zigzag) so it’s not ideal. Use a zigzag stitch.
I hemmed 2 pajama shorts for my children with the 4/8” foot.
For a little doll’s skirt I even used the foot to make the loop for the waist band. I put a thin elastic in and closed the band..
I haven’t tried it yet but I found examples on the internet in which people used decorative stitches to hem. Really beautiful!
This foot fits...
It’s a universal foot designed for low shank snap-on sewing machines! For screw-on machines, Bernina and PFAFF machines and some Husqvarna Viking models and high shank machines you’ll need an adapter. So you can basically use this foot on any machine with the right adapter.
How to put this foot onto your machine?
The wide hem foot is a snap-on presser foot. You just snap it on and of your presser foot holder.
For some sewing machine brands you need to screw-on an adapter first.
The low shank snap-on adapter for a Pfaff, a Husqvarna Viking (some models) or a low shank screw-on machine.
The high shank adapter for a high shank machine.
You can find all these adapters in our store. The low shank snap-on adapter is a bonus adapter in the Ultimate 32pcs presser foot set. For more info on shanks and universal presser feet, read this blog post.
Screw on machine or Pfaff or Husqvarna Viking:
Instructions to use the foot
Sewing with a wide hem foot is not difficult, but putting your fabric in the folder can be a bit challenging, and ending when you’re sewing a tubular hem, and sewing over seams will be easier if you look at this information.
For getting the fabric in the folder at the start there are several methods and it might need some practice. Always test on a scrap.
For a flat hem starting at a corner you can try to slide in the fabric into the fabric folder and pull the fabric under the needle, keeping it double folded. Some people press the first inches into a double folded hem, then 'slide' the edge of the fabric into the guide of the foot. This is not always the most elegant part and I would rather call it: ‘wriggle' the fabric in the guide. Then pull the fabric backwards. This is not possible with tubular hems.
For this rectangular tablecloth, I used another technique to get the fabric in place. You can use this technique when you don’t start on an edge or you’re sewing a tubular hem.
Like the flat hem, you can start by pressing the first 3 inches with your iron. Make sure to press up the hem width twice. Then put the pressed hem under the foot, without using the fabric folder, just put the fabric underneath the curl. Put the presser foot down and sew a couple of stitches and backstitch. Put your needle down, lift the presser foot and wriggle the fabric in and around the fabric folder, keeping the sewn part under the presser foot.
Often I don’t even press the first inches.
You can of course use this technique for flat hems as well.
Either way, it is useful to have a stiletto, a pin or an owl at hand to help you pull the fabric through the fabric folder of the guide and up to and under the presser foot.
Never start on a seam.
Lower the presser foot and decide if you need to adjust the guide slightly left or right (loosen the thumb screw) or if you need to change your needle position right or left
For a normal hem, use a straight stitch appropriate for the weight of your fabric. Once you start sewing, the foot will do the turning under.
If you want to work with decorative stitches, you should start with a simple decorative stitch, something open and uncomplicated. You can use wing or hem stitch needles to have an original effect.
Begin sewing and allow the fabric to feed freely into the fabric folder. As you are sewing hold the fabric so it roles into the approximate width of the hem before it reaches the foot.
Feeding too much fabric in will result in a twisted hem.
Feeding not enough fabric in, will do the same and leave the raw edge not folded under. If you see you’re losing control, just stop help a little by pushing the fabric a bit between the needle and the folder.
It will take some practice to master this. And know that different fabric types will react differently
So always practice on a scrap.
If you have to cross a seam while hemming, it’s can be a little tricky.
Sometimes a seam passes the fabric folder easily, but often you have to push a little with your owl or a pin. You can also trim to reduce the bulk of seam allowances and maybe use a glue stick to keep the seam allowances flat during hemming. If you’re really stuck, you can put your needle in the down position, lift your presser foot, pull the fabric out the curl, double fold it, put it underneath the presser foot and sew away. Once you crossed the seam, stop again with the needle down, lift the presser foot up, wriggle the fabric back in the curl and you’re good to continue.
I use the same technique for the end of a tubular hem. With the end I mean where you reach your starting point.
If you don’t stop at a corner (the tubular hem), you have to stop at least an inch from the edge or your foot will be stuck in between your stitches. Put your needle down, lift your presser foot, pull out the fabric, put it underneath the foot, stitch and then meet up with the start of your hem.
To end at a corner, press the fabric toward the foot to keep the full allowance in the curl.
Backstitching with fabric in the folder is not advised, but with some fabrics it’s perfectly possible. Always test on a scrap first.
Sure, there are lots of different methods of finishing your raw edges - you can blind them, overlock them, use a contrast fabric, or even leaving it raw.... But there are many cases where you simply cannot beat a classic double folded hem - all smooth, neat, and incredibly professional looking. With the wide hemmer foot, your handmade garments will no longer look "home-made"!!
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