INTERMEDIATE STEPS – DRESSMAKING TECHNIQUES FOR THE PROFICIENT SEAMSTRESS 2/5
I learned so much from the Ray-Stitch workshop today. I’ve always wondered what some of the mysterious stitch styles were on my home sewing machine. Being able to sew a blind hem has always baffled me and I’m not one for hand sewing (who has time for that!) so finding out about the mystery of the blind hem was a real joy.
SEWING A BLIND HEM (ON A SEWING MACHINE)
First of all you’ll need to know if your machine has the settings for a blind hem stitch. At the Ray-Stitch workshop we were using Janome SMD5018 sewing machines and I have a basic Janome (disguised as a John Lewis machine at home) which has the blind hem stitch function. The stitch style looks similar to a heart beat (see picture further down which illustrates this), with good machines they may already come with a blind hem foot similar to this one:
Blind hem foot. Image courtesy of coatsandclarksewingsecrets.com
On our Janome machines the stitch style looks like this setting (helpfully it also has a picture of the foot needed), see G in this example:
G shows the blind hem stitch style and matching foot you should use for it.
If not you’ll need to buy a blind hem foot that suits your machine, plenty of those here.
An adjustable foot is useful (see the screw and plastic guide in the previous photo) to help you guide the stitches into the hem as you sew. Every third stitch goes into the hem creating the single ‘invisible’ stitch on the facing side.
Blind hems are perfect for cotton fabrics and trouser and skirt hem lines. Blind hems (with a sewing machine) do not work so great with man-made fibres as the stitches tend to bunch up, so cottons or linens are ideal.
In the workshop we were using a 3cm seam allowance, so we measured and pressed that. Turning the fabric (calico) to front facing, fold the flap back up so 1cm peeps over the top like this photo shows, the 1cm is peeping out on the right:
The first fold and press is the 3m seam allowance. Fold it back up 1cm, so 1cm of fabric peeps over the top reverse facing.
To start sewing you’ll need to adjust your blind hem foot so that the first two stitches only stitch the right side of the fabric and the third stitch connects with the fabric on the left. I found it useful to use the sewing machine’s handwheel to see where the first two stitches are going to hit the fabric. A little bit of adjustment of the screw to align the plastic guide will be needed to start you off. When I was sewing the plastic guide helpfully sat directly opposite the needle, but may not always be the case for you.
In this photo you can see the example of where the two stitches hits the right side of the fabric and then the single stitch (bigger zig-zag) on the left:
See where the two stitches hit the right side of the fabric and the single stitch hits the left. This is what creates the invisible stitch on the front facing fabric.
Turn your fabric over and press. In the example below (front facing) you can barely see the single stitches showing through (sorry calico and cream thread doesn’t show up so well in photos) but you can see where the fabric is pulled about two inches apart. It’s quite difficult to see in this photo which I’d say that was a success!
You can barely see the stitches on the front facing side of the fabric.
It was really useful to keep these examples as reminders after the workshop to know how to do them again. All three of us took notes throughout! I’ll definitely be using the blind hem on future projects. How about you?