Friday, July 6, 2012

How to sew an invisible hem on a cotton skirt

 This style of cotton skirt with an elastic waistband is so versatile. One of my favorite staples in my closet. Many times, even when sitting at your natural waist, they are too long for today's fashions. Not that I like my skirts and dresses super short, but it's nice to feel like you're in modern clothes, not 100% throwbacks. Of all the alterations I do for myself, shortening vintage clothes to my liking is probably what I do most. In this tutorial you will learn how to replicate this alteration!

Skirt courtesy of Nicole at Pussycat Vintage.

You will need:
  • cotton skirt
  • matching thread
  • pins
  • scissors
  • chalk and ruler OR chalk hem marker 
  • needle or sewing machine
1. Start by examining the original hem. Notice how the raw edge on the outside is machine serged or zig zag stitched. Notice how it grabs the outside fabric of the skirt every 3/4" or 1". This is what you will try to replicate. (HINT: when altering clothes, always study and notice the original order of operations and way they are sewn. This will teach you A LOT!) 2. Get out your chalk hem marker or chalk and a ruler. I kind of cheated this time because I would rather use a chalk hem marker but time was of the essence today and for me this works just as well. Curvy girls use the chalk hem marker! I cut off 8", as I want almost 10" shortened. Remember to keep your seam allowance in mind. 3. Zig zag stitch the raw edge all the way around the skirt. 4. If you're machine sewing the hem, change to the zig zag stitch on your machine. 5. Pin about two inches of the skirt under and keep the pins as close to the bottom edge as possible. Pin all the way around. 6. Here is the trickiest part, the folding and prepping for sewing. Watch the animated photo below for a simpler view. You are folding the edge under with a small amount of the raw edge still sewing. When you machine stitch, you will mostly sew on the raw edge, grabbing the skirt every 1/2"-3/4".

What Zeus was doing the entire time I was sewing. Pouting because he wants to play. Notice the stolen cat toy next to his head. Silly boy.

Fold the bottom edge under with the raw edge still slightly showing. Because of technical problems with my Riccar sewing machine, I decided to sew this by hand. It's probably easier to sew by hand but a machine always seems easier, right? That's all personal preference. I remember my mother sewing these hems all the time when I was a child and it amazed me how the hem was invisible; she always used her machine, a Kenmore.

To sew by hand, start at a side seam. Anchor your thread on the raw edge. Every 3/4" to 1" go through the raw edge and a LITTLE BIT of the skirt. Not too much. Sew all the way around and tie off your thread. THAT'S IT! Press your skirt and wear it with something pretty.

Such a major difference in the overall appearance of the skirt, it transforms the feel of the entire outfit! I encourage even the most inexperience sewers to try this! You will be so surprised at what you can do with a little effort.

 Dress worn under the skirt handmade by Lana Stepul.

Omigosh, I love the finished skirt! I'm going to wear it the rest of the day, while Matt and I head on a little weekend getaway. We're headed to his Alma Mater, Auburn University to hang out with his college buddies and all their wives. Tearing up the town and enjoying the city of Auburn. I have never been and his college buddies are nuts so it should be an insane weekend! 

Happy Friday everyone!

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  1. Ohh thanks for posting this! I have a few pieces that need some hemming.
    xoxo Abby

  2. just stumbled upon your blog randomly, it's so cute! and funny enough, i go to auburn. it is such a charming town, i hope you enjoy yourself!

    1. It was so cute! I had the best time. : )

  3. Sally! Bravo!! It looks amazing and I absolutely love how you styled it! Thank you so much and I am going to try to hem the next skirt I find. I'll let you know how it goes! xo