A sewn edge is the finished edge of a cloth. The hem of a dress is an example of a stitched edge. The hem is formed when the edge of a piece of cloth is folded narrowly and sewn. The edge of the fabric is sewn into the hem to prevent it from unraveling.
A seam is also a good illustration of a sewn edge; only this time, two edges are sewn together with a hand or a machine to enclose the raw edges and keep the fabrics from fraying.
A sewn edge is also called edge finishing, which helps keep the edge neat, pleasant, and flat. An edge finish not only prevents the fabric from unraveling but also adds to its aesthetic quality.
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How do you sew a hem?
You need to sew your hem, or your fabric will slowly and literally go down the drain. The type of hem depends on the kind of material as well as its function on your garment. Here are five types of hems that you can do with the help of a sewing machine.
- Double Fold Hem
- Narrow Rolled Hem
- Blind Hem
- Zigzag Hem
- Bias Tape Hem
- Decorative Hem
This hem is most often used in the sewing industry because it is simple but gives a professional look at the fabrics used.
To make the double fold hem, fold the raw edge of the fabric by ¼ inch. Make another fold, which is ½ inch. Then, stitch close to the open folded edge with a matching bobbin. Ensure the bobbin has the right sewing machine tension before you start sewing because you will see the stitches from the bobbin on the right side of the fabric.
As the name suggests, this hem is a narrower one. The concept is similar to the double folded hem, only thinner. A narrow-rolled hem is usually used on garments with lightweight fabrics like blouses. The narrow-rolled hem is also an excellent choice for the curved edges of circular skirts.
Turn up the edge to the smallest size you can or around the measurement of 1/8- ¼ inch. Watch out for your fingers as you iron the hem as it can get hot. It can get quite difficult to direct a narrow fabric area. Press the hem up again by 1/8 – ¼ inch, then stitch close to the top edge.
Another way to sew a narrow edge is to use unique machine feet, automatically turning up the edge by 1/8 – 1 /4 inch. It is built with a narrow channel in front of the foot, which can roll the edge to a narrow diameter, so there is no need to press the hem before sewing. The special foot is called a hemmer foot or a rolled hem foot.
A blind hem is almost invisible that you cannot practically see it from the fabric’s right side. It is an excellent hem to use on the bottom of slacks and skirts and garments with wider and straight hems.
You can sew the blind hem using the blind hem stitch on a sewing machine with or without a hemmer foot.
Looking through your store-bought wardrobe, you will see that they make the hemming with a zigzag pattern. The zigzag hem, also called the overlocked hem, is an excellent hem option for bulky and hard to press fabrics. You can also use it to sew curved edges. The Zigzag hem is achieved by using the combination of a serger and a regular sewing machine.
Serger or zigzag the edge, then fold it up once by the hem allowance. Stitch across the top of the finished edge.
There are many types of bias that you can find in the sewing shops, but the most commonly used size for hems is the ½ inch single-fold bias.
To make the bias tape hem, open one side of the bias tape and pin it to the right side of your garment. Stitch in the crease of the tape, which will be ¼ inch from the edge. Next, press the bias to the wrong side of the fabric; the seam will now be at the fabric’s edge. Sew the top edge of the bias tape to the wrong side of the fabric by hand or using a machine.
Hems are basically done to enclose raw edges and prevent the fabric from unraveling. But hems are also used to make simple clothing look more attractive. Using a bias tape hem with a color that contrasts with the main fabric can make a plain skirt look exciting. You can sew other creative elements on your edges like pompoms or lace trimmings.
What are the uses of edge finishing?
Edge finishing is used for various purposes. The first thing is to make the edge of the fabric look neat. More often than not, the best measure of an exceptionally made garment is neat edge finishing.
Different fabrics are made of various materials, and they have unique manners of unraveling. The edge finish of your garment depends on the type of fabric. Some fabrics are closely woven and do not fray as easily as others may. The technique and the finish should match the quality of the fabric.
Edge finishing is also used to decorate an edge where specific techniques are applied for finishing necklines and armholes.
What is edge stitching on a sewing machine?
An edge stitch is the line of stitches used to make an edge or seam look neat. Edge stitching done on a sewing machine helps in keeping the edge nice, flat, and sleek. The typical edge stitching is 1/8 inch from the edge. Edge stitching is commonly seen on the edge of denim seams to add strength and aesthetic quality.
What are the types of edge finishes?
- Zigzag Seam Finish
The zigzag seam makes the edges of a fabric neat to avoid the raw edges from fraying. Most machines have the zigzag stitch function to make sewing edges faster. Set your sewing machine to zigzag stitch and run it along both sides of your seam edges. The zigzag seam finish works for any fabric because it does not make a bulky finish.
- Serged Finish
You will need a serger machine for this type of seam finish. The serger enfolds the edges of the fabrics inside a thread casing, adding a lot of strength to the seams. This type of seam is ideal in sewing children’s clothing.
To sew the serger edge finish, maintain your fabric to the left of the needles and serge along the fabric edge. The thread will wrap the raw edges and create an elegant finish.
- Edged Stitch Finish
The edged stitch finish uses a straightforward technique, a running stitch close to the seam’s edge. It is most effective when done with a pinked raw edge. Pinked seam finish is one of the basic ways of preventing fraying of the fabric. The seam finish is made using Pinking shears, a specific type of scissors that gives a zigzag pattern on the raw edge.
In making an edged stitch finish, you must first keep the right sides of the fabric together. Stitch a straight seam, then press the edges open—pink both the raw edges. Make a straight stitch about 1/4 inch from the pinked edge. Repeat this process on the other edge.
- Bound Seam Finish
The bound seam finish, which is also called Hongkong seam finish, uses bias binding tapes to enfold the seams, creating a flawless and professional look. You will mostly see this kind of finish in high-end couture. Ensure that the bias binding tape you buy is made of lightweight fabric else it will make your seams look bulky. You can use contrasting-colored binding tapes to make your clothes look more interesting inside and out.
- Overcast Seam Finish
The overcast finish is the improved version of the zigzag finish and a versatile one, meaning you can apply it to any fabric type. To make the overcast stitch, set your sewing machine to the overcast stitch setting that you need and sew the entire length of your seam.
How do you edge stitch by hand?
You sew edge stitches to make the edges of hems and seams neater after finishing a sewing project. Sewing machines mostly do edging stitches nowadays, but there are edge finishing that machines cannot make. Decorative hems and edges are still sewn by hand. Here are basic and decorative edge stitches which you can do by hand.
- Overcast Stitch
The overcast stitch is the simplest edge stitch. To sew the overcast stitch by hand, you have to roll the fabric edges first by hand. If the fabric is difficult to roll, you can dip your fingers in water and wet the cloth a little. Roll the edges as you make long slanting stitches on the edges catching both sides. Go back and make slanting stitches in the opposite direction creating an X.
- Blanket Stitch or Scalloped Edge Finish
The scalloped edge finish or better known as the blanket stitch, is also a simple and easy edge stitch. It is the most commonly used decorative edge stitch. It is usually done using a contrasting thread by enclosing the fabric’s edge with a blanket stitch. The blanket stitch is both decorative and prevents the edges from fraying as well. This edge finish is best used on handmade tablecloths and other sewing projects but not attractive on most garments.
- Buttonhole Stitch
The buttonhole stitch is a blanket stitch with a knot. In making the blanket stitch, make a loop by bringing the thread around the needle in a counterclockwise direction. The resulting edge is not so simple but a lovely hem.