How to Finish Fabric Edges — Part 4

Item # X-HT-200624

Welcome to the Learning to Sew Series! This seven-part video series takes you through all the stages of sewing — from learning how to set up your machine all the way to sewing a pillow with a zipper! Though this video tutorial series was created with the very basic beginner sewer in mind, anyone will find this series useful. If it's been a while since you've sewn or you're looking for a refresher course, these videos cover every part of the sewing process. In this video, we're discussing how to finish fabric edges. Join us!

Sailrite's Learning to Sew Series

This is Part 4 in our Learning to Sew Series. Now that you’ve gotten to know your machine, sewn a few stitches, and learned how to seam, we’re ready to move on to a sewing skill you’ll use in almost every project: how to finish the edges.

In this video tutorial, you will learn:

  • How to Create a Single Hem
  • How to Use Sewing Pins
  • How to Create a Double Hem
  • How to Create a Rolled Edge Hem
  • How to Sew Binding With a Binder Attachment

Learning how to sew hems is a basic skill every sewer needs to know. Raw fabric edges can fray and don’t look very nice on a finished piece. To hide those unsightly edges, you can create a hem or add a binding. In this video you will learn how to hem fabric edges and how to sew binding to a fabric edge using a binding attachment for your sewing machine.

There are three types of hems we will discuss and demonstrate in our video tutorial: the single hem, the double hem and the rolled edge hem. The single hem consists of folding the edge of the fabric under once and sewing a single row of stitches. This is the easiest hem, but it will leave the raw edge of the fabric exposed, so there might be certain sewing applications when you don't want to use this hem.

The double hem consists of folding the edge of the fabric over once, then folding that doubled edge over again to create a double-folded hem made up of three layers of fabric. The double hem will use up more fabric, so take that into account when planning your project. With this hem, the raw edge of the fabric is hidden inside the fold. Double hems are useful when installing grommets, snaps or other hardware along the edge of canvas because the raw fabric edge is hidden and there are three layers of fabric providing extra strength.

Sewing a double hem

Seen here, the double hem hides the raw fabric edge giving your project a nice, clean look.

Similar to the double hem, the rolled edge hem hides the raw edge of the fabric within the folded hem. However, the rolled edge hem does not double the folded fabric entirely the way that the double hem does. This means that the rolled edge hem uses up less fabric in creating the hem than the double hem. The rolled edge hem is more complicated than the single hem, but it adds a beautiful finished edge to your project without the added stiffness you get from a double hem.

Lastly, we'll show you how to sew binding over the raw edge of fabric. This is another option for hiding fabric edges. We use the Sailrite® 1" Swing-Away Binder to finish the edge of some Sur Last® fabric. Binding in a complementary color adds a beautiful, professional finish to biminis, dodgers, awnings and other marine DIYs.

Once you’re feeling comfortable with these hem styles, you can find tutorials for more specific, project-based hem styles in our video tutorial, "Hem Construction Techniques" (#200550XHT).

Continue on in our Learning to Sew Series with Part 5: "How to Sew a Zipper" (#200623XHT).