Hem tapes come in various types. There are some you can sew over, while there are some you can apply right away. Get to know the types of hem tapes that you may consider using for your next sewing projects.
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Can you sew over hem tape?
You can sew over hem tape on garments to secure the raw edges of the fabric. It might seem like an extra step that you need to do. But if you think about its benefits, the extra time and effort will be worth a lot.
Hem tape not only secures the raw edges of the fabric. It also prevents cuts or tears that can cause your hem to sag or need repair over time. Sewing on hem tape is also an ideal choice when using bulky fabric that you need to hem. You will be able to avoid the thickness of many folds.
You can find two types of hem tape in craft and fabric shops, the fusible and non-fusible. Non-fusible hem tape needs sewing. Fusible hem tape uses an adhesive to keep the fabrics in place.
Your decision in choosing what type of hem tape to use depends on whether you want it to be temporary or permanent. If you think you still need to change the hem of your garment in the future, the non-fusible hem tape is a better choice. Fusible hem tape is easier to apply. But it is the type that will stay on your fabric despite frequent washing.
Hem tape is also called binding tape. You can find various colors and widths of hem tape that you can match with your sewing project. They come in solid, printed, or lace-type to add a bit of design to your hem, whether outside or inside the garment.
How do you sew on hem tape?
Hem tape is a quick solution for finishing the raw edges of your hem. Sewing on hem tape makes the hem look neater and more professional.
Sewing on hem tape is an excellent choice to create a clean hem for bulky fabrics. With hem tape as finishing for your raw edges, you will create a smooth and comfortable hem. It is ideal to use on more textured and irritating fabrics.
Sewing on hem tape is also a valuable technique to create the best results for your various hemming projects. Samples of which are sewing a delicate neckline or skirt edges.
Sewing on hem tape on a sewing machine is quick and easy. Here are a few steps that you can follow.
- Press up the hem allowance. You can use an iron, or you can firmly press the hemline with your thumb.
- Overlap the hem tape along the hem (right sides facing up) so that the raw edge runs along the middle of the hem tape.
- Sew the hem tape using straight stitches to secure it to the hem of the fabric. Do not forget to backstitch at the start and finish of your hem tape to secure your stitches.
- Fold the hem allowance up, then sew the other edge of the hem tape onto the fabric.
- Finally, iron the hem after sewing for a smooth and clean finish before using or wearing your garment.
Depending on the garment you are sewing, you may want your hem stitches to be visible or invisible at the front. You can also choose to sew your hem tape by hand or use the machine.
If you want a neater hem, use your sewing machine to sew the straight stitches on the hem tape. Your stitches will be visible as a regular hem at the right side of the fabric.
To make your stitches invisible on the outside of your garment, you can use the blind hemstitch. It would also be best to change your universal foot to a “d foot” to sew a blind hemstitch.
Directly sewing a hem is simpler than sewing with hem tape, which involves an extra step. But this extra step is important because the hem tape can successfully secure the raw edges of the fabric and make it look cleaner.
Sewing on hem tape is useful when you need to trim clothing, such as making a dress or pants legs shorter. It can also serve as a decorative element on an armhole, a neckline, or edge of a garment that needs a neat hem.
It is a good thing that hem tape comes in a wide range of colors. You can match your fabric or add a pop of color with a contrasting one.
Does hemming tape last?
Hemming tape can last a long time. Some types of fusible hem tape can bond your hem permanently. Fusible hem tape that needs heat to activate the glue is the strongest. It can endure frequent washings without losing grip on the fabrics.
Hem tape turns into a permanent fixture on your fabrics. When you heat it with iron, the tape melts to bond the fabrics in place.
A fusible hemming tape is a great option if you are not into sewing. But it is a quick way to hem, repair, or bind two fabrics together.
There is a wide range of hem tapes available in craft and fabric stores. Consider the type of fabric you will use it on before you buy.
Using a fusible hem tape on your garment is a permanent thing, so you must make sure to apply it right. Read on for the easy steps to follow in adding fusible hem tape to your garment.
- Pre-wash your fabric.
- Measure your hem tape.
- Apply the hem tape.
- Press the iron on the fabric.
The first thing to do is to wash the garment that needs the hem tape. Please make sure not to use fabric softener as the adhesive may not become effective. Pre-washing your garment is also necessary because the fabric might shrink.
Measure the length of hem tape that you need before cutting. It is advisable to add one and one-fourth inches to the hem for seam allowance to shorten a pair of pants or a skirt.
When your fabric is ready, cut the hem tape according to the length needed for hemming. Apply the hem tape between the hem and the wrong side of the fabric. Arrange the hem tape carefully since it will bond the fabrics together permanently.
Before you press the iron on the hemmed fabric, turn to the setting that matches the fabric type you are working on. Press the hem in place. The heat from the iron and the adhesive on the tape seals the hem. You hemmed the fabric without sewing.
You can leave the edge raw, or you can finish the seam with a zigzag stitch. You can also use pinking shears to cut the edge in a zigzag pattern which can lessen fraying.
Using fusible hem tape does not need sewing to seal the fabric edges. The adhesive on the hem tape is enough to bond the fabrics and prevent fraying.
Fusible hem tape can effectively bond fabrics when you iron the hem tape properly. Here are some tips and guides on how you can apply your hem tape with an iron.
- If you need to hem a long edge, it is better to do it in small portions.
- The iron needs to be hot. It would be a good idea to use a pressing cloth (preferably cotton) between it and the fabric you are hemming.
- You should press down the iron firmly, hold it briefly down, then remove it.
- Refrain from ironing the fabric over and over.
- Always use a pressing cloth for delicate fabrics.
- Make sure your iron is hot enough so that the hem will not peel away.
- Make sure not to expose any part of the hemming tape as you iron. It will stick to the hot iron and can be difficult to remove.
- It would be best if you kept the hem tape smooth at all times. Avoid letting it get twisted.
- Iron both sides of your hem to make sure you have a nice finish to your hemmed edge.
Can you remove hem tape from fabric?
You can still remove the hem tape that bonds your fabrics together. The heat from the iron that activated the adhesive can help you loosen and remove the hem tape from the fabric.
The effectiveness of hem tape to hold the fabrics together makes it hard to remove them. But it is still possible to do so without ruining the fabric.
Here are a few tips you can do to remove the hem tape from the fabric.
- Iron the hem.
- Pull out the hem tape.
- Remove the remaining residue.
The heat from the iron activates the adhesive on the hem tape. It is also heat that can loosen the bond of the adhesive to remove it from the fabric.
Set your steam iron to the hottest setting that is safe for your fabric. Press the hem for about 10 seconds, making it very hot.
Use your fingers or a small knife to pry open a part of the hem to expose the hem tape inside. If you cannot open the hem, use the end of a seam reaper or a toothpick. Then, try sliding it from side to side to make an opening.
Keep applying heat with the iron until you can open the whole length of the hem. Be careful not to touch the exposed hem tape with the iron, or it can leave a sticky mess on your iron. If you accidentally get any adhesive on the iron, let it cool first. Then, wipe off the adhesive with rubbing alcohol.
When you open the hem and you can see the hem tape, you can start pulling the tape from the fabric. You can try to pull the tape off with your fingers, the edge of a credit card, or a small knife. You can also use tweezers to pull off some pieces of the hem tape. It is also possible that the hem tape may easily come off.
If you cannot remove the tape, you can heat it again using the iron. This time, place a piece of paper or scrap fabric between the iron and the hem tape. The hem tape may stick to the paper or scrap fabric.
Try removing the tape by ripping off the paper or the scrap fabric with the hem tape on it. If it does not come off, continue scraping until you remove all the hem tape.
Some sticky adhesive residue may remain on the fabric after you remove the hem tape. If you will hem the garment again by sewing and conceal the residue, you need not remove it from the hem. If it affects the texture of the fabric, you can remove the sticky residue. You can either use a fabric-safe liquid adhesive remover or rubbing alcohol.
Use a corner of a soft rag with rubbing alcohol or a liquid adhesive remover. Wipe the fabric in the areas where there is still the residue of the adhesive. If residue remains, apply the rubbing alcohol directly onto the fabric. Then, let it soak for 30 minutes.
With continued rubbing, all the residue must come off. Wipe away the loosened residue. Wash the garment immediately to wash away the product.