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How to sew a faced or shaped hem

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Using a facing for a hem is a fun way to customize an edge. Add scallops, zigzags, or whatever else you can dream up!

Before we can sew, we’ll need to draft a pattern piece for our facing.

On your skirt piece (or whichever piece has your hem), draw the finished hem edge at the length you’d like. Use a ruler to add a seam allowance.


Trace off the bottom and side edges onto new paper.


On the sides, measure up from the bottom the width you would like your facing to be, plus seam allowances. Use a ruler to connect the marks. If your pattern piece is curved, mark several points up from the bottom and use a ruler to connect them.


Mark any grain lines, folds, labels etc. Repeat for any pieces involved in your hem (ex. skirt front and back).

Cut out your paper and fabric pieces. Apply interfacing to the facings. Before you fuse, trim the seam allowance off the bottom edge of the interfacing to get an extra clean edge when you turn it.

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Sew side seams of skirt and facings and finish. Grade facing seam allowances. Press all seams open. Finish top edge of facing.

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Pin facing to outside of garment, right sides together, aligning bottom edges.

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Stitch all the way around the bottom edge. Notch any outer curves and clip any inner curves and corners.

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Turn facing to inside. Use a point turner or chopstick to push out corners and edges. Press.

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Stitch along top edge of facing to secure using desired method.

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To switch it up a bit, make your facing out of a contrast fabric and attach it with its right side to the wrong side of the garment. Turn it to the outside, tuck in the raw edge and topstitch around the top.

What hem shape would you like to try?


Devon Iott

Raised on a farm in Ohio, Devon moved to Los Angeles for college and worked in the film industry for several years. She has taught sewing at various shops throughout Southern California and at the Craftcation Conference in Ventura. She now resides and teaches in Nashville. When not obsessively sewing she can be found knitting, baking, and drinking wine with her cat.


Carlee McTavish

September 22, 2014 #

Ahhh! What a great idea!!!


September 23, 2014 #

I’m looking forward to receiving your hemming guide book. I admire your sewing skills. Every project is so precise and clean. I’m trying hard to elevate my skills so that my wrong side looks extremely neat while the right side is completely professional-looking.


September 23, 2014 #

Eagerly awaiting the hemming book. It will be an invaluable resource in my sewing library. I’ve learned a lot already, and it will be great to have it all in one place.


September 24, 2014 #

Thank you so much for all the helpful “how to”‘s of your blog. It is priceless to me, little amateur seamstress… I have a question about the scallop hem, though, I have never done any but I thought I could make one more easily by only drawing the scalloped hem on the interfacing, leaving the 2 parts of fabric (garment + facing) blank, cut longer than where the edge will be. Then I could cut the interfacing along the drawn edge, fuse it on the facing (leaving a bit of fabric below the scallops), and I wouldn’t bother copying the scallops on neither the garment nor the facing, I would just stitch facing and main fabric following the edge of the interfacing. Then of course there will be trimming and notching and finishing as you explain…
I thought it would be easier this way, as only one piece (the interfacing) has to be cut exact and precise (vs. 3 pieces in your tutorial), but maybe I am forgetting something, what do you think about that ?
(I hope I make sense, english is not my mother tongue, and that’s a bit obvious, sorry !!)


September 24, 2014 #

I suppose you could do that! You would just have to make sure that you are applying the cut interfacing in precisely the right spot.


September 26, 2014 #

That’s so brilliant, and it seems obvious now you’ve showed us how to do it. But I never would have thought to do it on my own. This would probably be too cutesy on a dress for a woman my age but it would look fantastic on a blouse.