How to Hem Knits

Tips for hemming knits

We do 90% of our sewing with knits.  We love to wear them and we love to sew them.  In fact M will only wear knits.  If I do  make her something with a woven it needs to have a very soft knit-like fabric in the lining.  So today I will give you tips and tricks to hame hemming your knit top a breeze.

The Cecilia Puff Tee has sleeve bands and a neck band, so no hemming there.  The bottom of the shirt is the only part you need to hem.  Our preferred method of hemming is to use a double needle.  Simply press under the amount of your hem, in this case 1/2 inch.  Place the folded, pressed edge of your shirt on the 3/8″ marking on your machine and stitch all the way around.hem 1

On the front you will see two lines of nice straight stitching and the back looks like a little lightning stitch. hem 2

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I lengthen my stitch when top stitching.  Machine settings are all different so you may want to experiment.  I usually sew on a 2.4 with my Janome and lengthen the stitch to a 3 for top stitching.   Rachel has a Brother machine and uses a 3-4 to top stitch on knits.   Most machines will accommodate a double needle.   They come in different sizes with different distances between the needles.   Find a variety of double needles HERE.  You want your stitch to stretch with movement so we also recommend wooly nylon thread in the bobbin.  This will give your hems a little extra stretch at the stress points.  Use your regular thread in the needle.

If you do not have a double needle, the next best option is to use a medium zig zag or lightening stitch.hem 3

There are also several types of hem tape out there.  Some are fusible, so you turn under your hem allowance and press.  Then lay the hem tape between your two layers and press again.  This will hold  your hem in place while you stitch or your if you prefer, don’t stitch.  Your hem will be fused.  Personally, I don’t like to use this method with knits.  I feel there is too much room for stretching your hem out of shape with all that  pressing.  Some can be sewn to the bottom of your shirt and then turn over and stitch.

Of course knits will not ravel, so if you are making multiple children’s tee shirts, you may just want to leave the edge as is, especially if you are using a light weight knit that has a tendency to curl.    It has been our experience that the littles out grow their shirts so quickly, and they are washed so often, that sometimes we just leave the bottom without hemming.

There is the serge the edge and turn under and stitch with your regular single needle machine.  This is a quick an easy end to your knit shirt.  Always remember to use a stretch stitch if your machine has one.

If you are looking for a fully professional finish, you will want to use a Coverstitch machine.  Neither Rachel or I own a overstitch machine.  We have heard only good things about this Jamome,  but at this time it is simply not in the cards for either  of us.

Now that you have finished your Cecilia Tee, be sure to share.  We are very excited to see all of your shirts.  Join us on Facebook

Happy Sewing,


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Sew Along

Monday- Layout and Cut your fabric

Tuesday- How to Gather your sleeve properly

Wednesday-How to Sew perfectly matched seams

Thursday- How to Sew a Neckband

Friday- How to Hem Knits

Sew a Cecilia Dress! Find the Dress tutorial here.

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