Alright sewing friends....I'm assuming you are stopping by because you have not yet discovered or mastered the AWESOMENESS of the blind hem stitch. Or you find it incredibly intimidating and are afraid to give it a try....
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Don't be intimidated...it is quite easy!
As with a lot of sewing terms and techniques, things that sound fancy and difficult are not always. Remember the French seam you learned how to make in Sew a Pillowcase: A Tutorial for Beginners using French Seams....that wasn't hard! And I was intimidated and terrified of French seams for years, which in hindsight was soooo silly!
A lot of sewing techniques and skills require special presser feet or have fancy formal names which make them appear intimidating and unmanageable. Don't let it fool you! Learn how to use the tools needed and how to get your folds in place, and you will master that skill in no time flat!
What exactly is a blind hem?
You might be thinking to yourself, when would I need to use a blind hem stitch?
Anytime you need to make a hem and you don't want obvious stitching on the right side of the finished project.
You can see in the picture above, that you can barely see small little ticks of white thread along that hemline. That is the only stitching that shows on the finished side of your project...making it almost invisible to the naked eye from a distance. Sweet right?!?
Examples of projects in which I have used this stitch with great results:
- curtain panels
- roman shades
- pillow covers with envelope closures
- bed skirts
Special tools needed:
Here is what you need to get started using this awesome stich:
- sewing machine with blind-hem stitch setting
- blind-hem stitch presser foot
- machine operation manual
Blind Hem Presser Foot
I am blessed to have a sewing machine that came with a gazillion specialty presser feet upon purchase. Really it was like 9...but it felt like a gazilion as a beginning sewer! If you want to learn more about my awesome machine, check out the post Sewing Machine Basics: Choosing a Machine for Beginners.
This is the blind hem stitch presser foot and I don' think it can be used for any other purpose. It is hard to see in this picture, and I apologize for that. There is a metal guide foot attached to a divider that guides and separates the stitches in place when sewing.
It's like magic I tell you!
My best buddy...she might become yours too...
Not sure if your machine offers a blind hem stitch? Consult your sewing machine operations manual...or as I refer to her, my best buddy.
She's always there for me, never talks back or gets sassy, and always seems to have the answer I'm looking for. A good friend right?!?
There should be a table of contents listing all the stitches available on your machine. Most modern machines do offer this stich, but also make sure that you have the presser foot!
To the left is the Blind Hem Stitching info page found in my machine manual. No, I do not expect you to be able to SEE any of the details here.
This is where the information specific to your machine will be found. If you have the same Brother cs6000i machine and lost/misplaced your best buddy, you can get an electronic copy of it here.
There are also a few sketchy diagrams (which are not all that helpful) found on the info page. I did use these guides, together with my sewing posse's knowledge and guidance, to figure out this stich. But I realize that I am lucky to have a posse, and one who knows so much! So I thought a post on this stitch would be helpful to folks who are not so lucky!
Learn about your machine, its presser feet and stitches!
Presser feet are labeled with numbers or letters, depending on the brand. My Brother presser feet have letters which correspond with different stitches on my machine.
The chart on the top of the info page, tells me which presser foot to use for this stitch and also which machine setting to use. The blind hem stitching presser foot is labeled R and corresponds with stitch function #9 or 10 on my machine.
Also notice the electronic display panel in the above photo. This is my double-check feature. You can see that it verifies stitch #9 is selected, and that I should be using presser foot R for that stitch selection.
It really makes learning the specialty functions so much easier!
On to the example project...
Alright, so you verified that you have a blind hem stitch on your machine and the corresponding presser foot. You have become reacquainted with your machine manual in the process...
Now on to the fun part...the creating!
I was making a very basic, unlined, curtain panel for my daughter's closet in this example. Has she noticed that her hems are beautiful and practically invisible? Heck no....but I utilized the blind hem stitch down both sides and across the bottom hems, because I am anal-retentive and I have a blind-hem stitch foot : )
It's kind of an addicting stitch once you start using it....
Prepare a double fold hem
To get started, we need to prepare our hem, upon which we will stitch our blind hem stitch.
The process is started by creating a double fold hem. Make a fold to the wrong side of the fabric and press. Twice (Hence double fold ; ). I used a 1 inch fold for this project.
See fold #1 and fold #2 below...
This is where the magic happens. The fold.
Take the double fold hem, prepared above. Fold it back towards the right side of the fabric, leaving a 1/4 inch "flap" of hem exposed.
That skinny "flap" is actually the fold of the first hem you made and pressed. The raw edge of the hem is still enclosed inside the folds.
This "flap" is the area that most of the stitching will be made. The "blind" part of the stitching will grab just a sliver of the fold (the wrong side of fabric exposed in picture).
Pin this fold in place, make sure to keep the "flap" width consistent along the length of your hem.
Take to your machine and place under pressure foot. See that little metal divider running down the underside of the foot? This is your fabric guide. The fold (wrong side of fabric exposed) should be flush up to this guide when you start sewing.
This will ensure that the needle catches the sliver of fabric along the fold, which is needed to hold the stitch together. You may need to adjust your stitch width to make sure you are catching the right amount of fabric on your fold.
You can see (photo to the right), that when I initially started my stitching, I was not catching the fold for several stitches.
It is important that you check your stitching after a few stitches, so that you can make these needed adjustments.
Since the needle was not catching the hem fold, I needed to adjust my stitch width.
My manual recommends adjusting my stitch with the " - " button for my stitch width, if the needle did not catch the hem fold. I followed this recommendation and the rest of my stitching caught the hem fold perfectly!
The opposite is true for my machine....if the needle catches too much of the hem fold, then the stitch width would be adjusted with the " + " button.
My manual had detailed guidance on what adjustments to make if you catch too much or not enough of the hem fold. I followed them and they work great! Consult your manual...
You can see that after making that adjustment, my stitches caught the hem fold just right and the rest of my hemline turned out perfect : )
Above left, you see the completed stitch line still folded as it comes out of the sewing machine. You can see that the "slivers" caught the folded edge of fabric.
Above right is the fabric folded into the finished position. You will notice that the visible stitching is noted on the right side of the fabric, but the wrong side of the finished project. Cool right ?!?
To the left is the finished blind hem, showing the right side of fabric on the finished side of the project. This is what will be visible to the eye. However, when it is done well, it is not that visible and "blind".
Well that's just about it....I told you it was easy!
It is a really good idea to practice/experiment with this stitch and the presser foot, on a scrap piece of fabric. I recommend using the same fabric as your project, since the weight of the fabric does effect how much of a "sliver" you need to catch to hold the hem together.
It's a really, really great stitch for drapery. I have made MANY curtain panels and roman shades using this stitch, with fantastic results! That is a multi-step tutorial series for another time....but stay tuned...
What are you going to put a blind hem on, now that you know how to do it? Like I said...it's addicting! Show us what you create....
Be safe & stay well,