Flash Hem Sewing

25 Feb

I bought a shirt online and it’s great and I love it. However, it was waaaaaay too big.

I put in through the wash and then in the dryer until it shrank, but it retained the length. To be able to wear it I needed to cut about 5 inches or so (about 12 cm) off the length. And of course, I needed to make it look neat so I had to sew a hem.

I thought I’d take a few photos and put it on the blog because, hey,  it’s still a project, right?

First thing I did was work out how much to chop off. The problem with cutting stuff is that you can’t make it longer if you make a mistake. It’s important to make sure that the length is right before you start sewing or cutting – like they say, measure twice, cut once.

To do this, I estimated the length, tried to get it as equal as possible all the way around and then pinned it up. I then ironed the edge flat so that it would not only show how it will look, but also so it stayed in place to a degree.

The next step is to check that it’s right. You can’t do this enough as it’s hard to change once it’s been finished. However (and I did this only once) if it’s not right, you can re-pin and re-iron to make sure it’s right.

Just be careful of the pins…

Right, so once the length is right and even, it’s time to hit the sewing machine. I decided to sew first and then cut because I thought it might be easier to fix mistakes that way. Luckily it all went smoothly. Anyway, since the shirt is pinned and ironed, the edge of where you’re sewing is pretty straight. I measured about the same distance as the original hem (pic below: on the left) and then used the grid on the sewing machine (pic below: metal plate just to the right of the needle) to make sure it stayed straight.

Using a straight stitch, I follow the shirt right around and made sure it was level by following the guide. Once I’d gone the whole way around the shirt with the first stitch, I then moved the shirt to the right the width of the foot of the needle and started the second line. I kept that one parallel by using the edge of the foot as a guide.

Once you go right around with the second parallel stich, you’re done with the sewing bit – easy, huh? It should look something like below.

So now that it’s sewn, it’s a good idea to try it on again – no pins this time 🙂 – just to make sure it’s even. Just tuck the extra bit up and you should see a pretty good indication of how it will look once it’s finished.

If everything is good, it’s now time to do the final step – the cutting. Now, you should turn the t-shirt inside out and then cut as close to the outside stitch as possible, but without risking that the stitch will come undone. Just be really careful that you don’t catch up the other part of the shirt and put a hole in it!

Once you’ve cut right around, it’s done! Now you’re ready to wear it, but if you don’t need it straight away, it’s probably not a bad idea to wash and iron it if you want.

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Posted by on February 25, 2011 in Sewing


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