I've spent most of the afternoon today shortening some bridesmaids dresses, what fun in the heat! As they are made from some very nice but quite slinky jersey I thought I'd document how I did it and make a little tutorial for anyone who's interested.
I've been sewing knits for years, and didn't realise until I started reading sewing blogs that you were supposed to be scared of sewing knits! I never have been, mind you I spent years making roller skating outfits out of leotard lycra on a normal machine.
The only bit that sometimes catches me out these days is hemming, and I've therefore devised a method that works for me. I'm sure I'm not the only person who does it this way, but here goes.
You will need:
- The garment you want to hem.
- Thread, and 2 bobbins wound with the same thread (or 2 reels of thread and 1 bobbin).
- A twin needle. Mine is a 3mm one.
- 1/2" wide strips of lightweight iron on interfacing.
First, insert the twin needle into your sewing machine and thread it up. You'll find your machine comes with a spare removable spindle for a second reel of thread. Mine goes in a little hole in the top, like this:
Next cut strips of lightweight iron on interfacing just under 1/2" wide, enough to go around the hem of your garment.
Trim and level the bottom of the garment, making it 1/2" longer than the desired finished measurement. I wanted this dress to be 1 1/2" inches shorter, so I cut 1" off.
Carefully apply the interfacing to the wrong side of the hem. I say carefully, because you need enough heat to set the glue on the interfacing, but not enough to melt the synthetic jersey. Of course, if you're using cotton jersey then this is not such a great concern, but do a small test piece on an off cut first, just to be sure.
When you've applied your interfacing all the way round, it's time to turn up the hem. You will find that the fabric will quite naturally want to fold at the top of the interfacing, giving a nice smooth edge.
Pin the hem in place. If you're feeling brave you can probably skip the pins, but I like to use them just to make sure things don't move out of place while I'm stitching.
As we're using a twin needle we want to stitch the hem from the right side, so put your pins in that way. This always seems strange, because it's the opposite of what you'd normally do.
Position your hem under the machine foot and start stitching. I used the edge of the foot as my hem guide and stitched slowly. I find twin needles sometimes skip a stitch here and there if I go too fast.
And here's your finished hem:
This is what the hem originally looked like, so you can see that from the outside at least you get a fairly similar result. The stitching on the original hem is slightly wider apart, I think 4mm rather than the 3mm twin needle I have. I forgot to photograph the wrong side, but it looks like a little zig zag stitch.
I hope you've found this little tutorial helpful. If you use it and it works, I'd love to know.