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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Monday, November 6, 2017

Sewing and hemming knits Exhibit E

Before we move into the exciting world of cover hem machines I think it is appropriate to pause and consider the possibility that sometimes the best hem of all is no hem.

Let's face it.

The issues with knit hems tend to be most acute with those knits that are light weight and very stretchy. There are lots of things you can do to change these characteristics of course, like fusing a lightweight knit interfacing into the hem area, but sometimes it is best to go around that problem than try to solve it.

This is what I mean.

A few years ago I made the Sewaholic Renfrew top - a knit top with a well-deserved reputation as a successful sew particularly among new sewers.

I actually worked with a group of new sewists as they worked with this pattern and I can attest to both the quality of the draft the great results everyone in the group got with this pattern.

One of the pattern's secrets of course is that there is no real hem in any view. The bottom of the top is finished with a band, a more or less 1-to-1 band, rather than the pulled in rib bottom we are used to seeing in sweat shirts and rather than a turned and stitched hem.

Since the band is attached more or less like just an extension of the garment, it functions to both add some weight to the bottom of the top, since the band is doubled, and to avoid any real hemming stitching too.

Here are the pattern line drawings:

And here is one of my versions in a light silk knit ( the ultimate travel top BTW- I swear you could pack this little number in a teacup, that's how much silk jersey compresses):

When on my body this bottom band lies flat and smooth

There is of course no reason that you couldn't just do the same in any knit top in fabric you find challenging.

I will use this approach in hemming a cardigan I have planned for some very droopy and loose, but quite lovely, sweater knit I have backed up on the runway.

In fact I have even found a pattern that uses this approach Burdastyle#111 from 03/2014:

Interesting idea to think about isn't it?

If you can't lateral think your knit sewing when can you?

Even more hemming tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I've been pondering this approach (without realizing it was used in such a well known pattern as the Renfrew) - thanks for this discussion! If I ever manage to get over my current bout of inertia I'm going to try it.


Jodie said...

I use this technique ALL THE TIME! I feel that it gives the best finish and look (and finished edges since I use my serger). As you said, also adds weight to the hem. Looking forward to tomorrow's post!

Debbie Cook said...

Loving your hemming series. :-)

Had to mention the other "no hem" option, which is literally *no hem.* Leave the edge raw. I don't advocate this for every knit project, but sometimes it does actually work well and look pretty good. Plus, all the cool kids are doing it. (Joking!)

Catherine p said...

Love this conversation. So many options! Never think about the banded hemline. Pause for thought for next knit top.

Sydney Brown said...

Like Debbie Cook, I have many casual knit tops on which I don't do any hem treatment at all.

Anonymous said...

Now if I could just find some silk jersey. (sigh)
Lovely top and more great hemming tips. I love the Renfrew pattern.

Donna E

Laceflower said...

I was wondering in which of your posts to put this in, like Debbie, I've done no hemming at all. I've got a longish top that has a ruffle around the bottom and on the sleeves and I cut neatly and left without hemming. It isn't advisable in all situations but it does work. Sewists always look at this finish askance because, well, you haven't hemmed!!!