Make A Tiny 1/8 inch Couture Hem for Sheer Fabrics

easy method for hemming sheer fabricsWhen I was making a bridal gown I took a class from master couture sewing expert Susan Khalje. I learned a technique from her which I will share with you. Have you ever had  problems hemming sheer fabrics like organza, chiffon, or cotton batiste? You can’t sew a normal hem because it will show through and look bad and a serger hem looks mass produced. Mrs. Khalje doesn’t think very highly of sergers, I might add. I for one have a rather unfriendly relationship with mine! One method of hemming sheer fabrics is a rolled hem which is done by hand but this tiny machine hem method is a faster and easier method. For some reason I have never read about this method in any of my sewing books. I believe it is a couture secret. I hope she doesn’t mind my giving it away!
1. Start with a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Fold over the hem 3/8 of an inch and iron to the wrong side.
2. Now stitch with about a 2mm length stitch with a very thin machine needle as close as you can to the fold. About 1/8 of an inch from the fold.
3. Take some small scissors and trim as close as you can to the stitch line you just made.
4. Finger fold the hem over one more time as small as you can, between about 1/8 and 1/4 of an inch to cover the raw edge and stitch again. The stitch line will almost be at the hem fold and will barely be noticeable.
5. This is how it will look from the right side. As you can see from the tape measure it’s about 1/8 of an inch.


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  1. emily says

    I wish that I had come across this before I had finished a bridesmaid dress with a regular hem. I did not know that I could have used this. Next time though I will because of this post.

    Thank you!

  2. Leta says

    Thank you! I had to put a tiny hem in a bridesmaid dress and had no luck with my rolled hem foot on this slippery fabric. Your trick works like a charm, I was finished in no time.

  3. Elizabeth says

    Thanks so much. I was not happy with anything I tried on a sample of the material, so wen’t looking on the internet, and there you were. You saved the day. I have been sewing for many years and have never run across this.

  4. Kim Curtis says

    I think you may have just saved me. My daughter’s wedding dress has two layers of organza and I need to bring the hem up a bit for her. Our seamstress backed out at the last minute and budget is at its limit, so it’s up to me to do this!! Thank you so much for this brilliant explanation!

  5. Barb Lankes says

    Just the trick I needed for adding some sheer sleeves to a Mother-of-the-Bride dress for my daughter. My applique scissors (which I’ve hardly ever used for applique) made easy work of cutting the initial hem very close. Thanks for the expert advice!

  6. Charlie says

    This is so helpful. Your instructions are very readable and the pictures are well photographed. I have so much sewing I need to get to now!! Thank you!

  7. Dorothy says

    I need to hem a dressy,sheer fabric, full skirt. The hem needs to be rolled and a fishing line inserted to make the hemmed skirt ruffled like. Can you help?

    • Keena says

      For the fishline, if using your sewing machine, set it to a narrow zigzag stitch and use your rolled hem foot, then as you are sewing the rolled hem feed the fishline through the foot and the machine catches it in the hem. HTH

  8. says

    I was taught this at the london college of fashion! It’s called a “pin hem” for anyone interested!

  9. Vickie says

    Thank you for this. I’m a beginning seamstress. I am shortening the sheer material on my daughters winter formal dress. Its one of those that has a short under skirt and a floor length sheer over that. She wants it only about an inch longer tops. I can’t get it 1/8 of an inch, but at least I can maybe sew a decent hem on it!