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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Sewing Tutorial: Narrow Rolled Hem Foot

Ever look at the feet that came with your sewing machine and just go ???? Well today I am going to teach you to use a VERY useful foot- the narrow rolled hem foot (some people call it narrow hem(mer) foot, some call it rolled hem(mer) foot, so I'll just combine the two for this tutorial)! This is a great foot for doing small hems- like on ruffles! :) And you know how we love our ruffles here. Even though I have a serger, I still choose to use this foot sometimes. This is great when you don't have the color wooly nylon you need, or when your ruffle is small and you don't feel like changing the threads and settings (not lazy at all). Also, some of the serger rolled hems I have done on the bottom of pant ruffles have become fuzzy, so I choose to do this on those ruffles, too.

As it turns out, there are two ways to use this foot! I have only used it for a narrow hem, but I learned about doing a rolled hem while talking to one of our fans in the group the other day.

Here is a picture of a finished narrow hem. Front:


There are many ways to do the narrow hem, but this is what I prefer to do. First things first; let's get our machines ready. Put your narrow hem foot on, and change your stitch to the appropriate one. Here is what the stitch looks like on my machine:
Now, clean up your hemline- get rid of threads and make sure the weave is not coming undone along the hem. I like to cut off any thread trails you may have from sewing pieces together:
It is easiest if you iron the beginning and any seam. Take your fabric to the ironing board and fold 1/8", iron, then fold 1/8" and iron again in those two places (you can iron the whole thing if you want to be really precise and not worry about messing up, but if you follow my steps you don't need to. And not ironing sounds GREAT to me!).


Raise your presser foot and simply place the fabric under, lining it up with the needle in the right place. It's going to be pretty close to the top of your fold.

Lower your presser foot without inserting the fabric into the roll part. You are going to sew and backstitch with it out.

When finished, stop with the needle in the fabric. Now shimmy the fabric until the folded edge is feeding directly into the roll part of the foot.

You are ready to start sewing! You are going to use your right hand to maintain the roll. Just twist the fabric slightly making sure to keep it the same width as it is going through the foot.

 This is not enough- there is no roll:

And this is WAY too much:
 With your left hand you are going to want to make sure to pull the fabric taut. Not hard, just enough to keep it smooth and straight.

You can also use your nail to tuck the edge under if needed.
 I couldn't do both and take pictures, but ideally your left and right hand will both guide the fabric. Once you get to the end, you are going to repeat the steps from the beginning. Put your needle into the fabric, raise the foot, and take the fabric out of the roll part. Lower the presser foot and then finish sewing and backstitching. Ta-da!! You are done!

Now your front and back should look like the example in the beginning. If you didn't roll enough, you will have raw edge out like this picture:

For that you will need to get out your friend the seam ripper and try again in that section. If your roll was too wide, you will have a nice roll but underneath your raw edge will be sticking out.
Again, your handy dandy seam ripper can help you fix that!
Here is a video that shows all of this in action (y'all ignore my errant thread. Pull the thread behind your presser foot like normal- I was concentrating on talking and didn't even notice).

Now, this is completely new to me. A fan posted that she did a rolled hem with a zig zag stitch, and I had to investigate! You can only do this if your foot has a big wide space that allows the needle to move side to side.
You can do this on regular woven, but this is apparently also a good technique for hemming flowing fabrics, like organza. It gives a hem without giving too much structure. You want the threads to encompass the whole hem (technically you can also use it as a decorative stitch on a narrow hem, too, as shown below. To accomplish that, just play with the placement of your zig zag. I used stitch width 1.5 and stitch length 1.5. Kinda cute, huh?). 

Ok, back to the traditional rolled hem. You will need to practice on scraps to see what stitch length and width you prefer. In this tutorial, I used a stitch width of 3 and a stitch length of either .6 or .8. I prefer the look of the .6 but thought you could see what your stitches are supposed to do better at the .8.

This is the inside of the garment at .8: It starts at the very top of the hem and then wraps all around the hem. It will not be piercing your roll at all. It's just giving it a nice big hug! :)
And this is how it looks with the .6 See how much fuller it is? I tried smaller but it was difficult on my machine- the feed dogs had a hard time pulling it. Try it on your machine if you would like! (Adds a cute pop of color when using contrasting thread, no?)

 This is the outside at .8:
And here's the .6:
You are going to do everything the same as you did with the narrow hem. This time, however, your job is to make sure that when the needle moves to the left of your roll, it misses the roll. When it moves to the right of the roll, it need to also miss the roll. It should go right next to it both times. :)

Here is a video on sewing a rolled hem with a zig zag stitch:

I hope this blog has helped you understand your rolled hem foot better! Give it a try, and let me know how it goes!

Happy sewing,

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