This site is supported by our readers. We may earn a commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through links.
Like a magician’s scarf, the blind hem stitch hides in plain sight.
Let its sorcery simplify hems on your next project.
We’ll review how to harness its power with both machine and hand techniques.
With a few folds, the right foot, and matching thread, the blind stitch vanishes before eyes glancing below.
Master this clever trick in five easy steps.
Table Of Contents
- Key Takeaways
- What is a Blind Stitch Hem?
- Preparing Fabric for a Blind Hem
- How to Sew a Blind Hem by Machine
- Tips for Blind Hem Stitching
- Hand Sewing a Blind Hem
- More on Presser Feet
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Prepare fabric edge by trimming evenly, pressing under, and folding hem allowance to desired finished length
- Fold pressed hem backward, leaving 1⁄8 inch of the fold showing
- Set blind hem stitch on sewing machine, adjust width between 2-3 and length as needed
- Stitch with fold guide aligned along folded hem edge, pressing as you sew
What is a Blind Stitch Hem?
A blind stitch hem creates an invisible hem typically used on skirts, pants, and jackets.
Unlike a ladder stitch, a blind hem stitch is sewn by machine using a special presser foot and zigzag stitch to encase the raw edge.
We’ll compare a blind hem to a hand-sewn ladder stitch and discuss when to choose one finishing method over the other.
When to Use
You’ll use a blind stitch hem for garments when you want an invisible finish along the hem edge.
It creates a clean look on dresses, skirts, pants – any garment with a straight hem edge that hangs freely.
Blind hems allow garments to drape smoothly without visible stitching.
They require wider hem allowances to fold fabric back and are best on mediumweight wovens.
Use blind hems when a tidy narrow hem is needed on a quality garment.
Consider hand sewing for lightweight or slippery fabrics where machine sewing could show through.
Vs Ladder Stitch
You’d contrast the blind hem stitch with the ladder stitch when hemming lightweight fabrics you’re sewing.
The blind hem stitch utilizes a machine and special presser foot to conceal stitches in the hem allowance. It works well on straight hems of skirts, pants, dresses, and other garments with ample hem depth.
Alternatively, the hand-sewn ladder stitch secures the hem invisibly without the need for special equipment. Carefully spaced tiny hand stitches secure the hem, useful for delicate and sheer fabrics.
Both techniques serve to create an unseen, durable hem.
Preparing Fabric for a Blind Hem
Before sewing the blind hem, you’ll need to prepare the fabric’s edge.
Trim the edge evenly.
Press under a 1/4 inch (light fabrics) or zig-zag/serge the edge (heavy fabrics).
Fold the hem allowance.
Proper edge finishing keeps the hem neat and prevents fraying once washed.
Prior to sewing, determine the desired finished length. Adjust the seam allowance accordingly to accommodate the wider blind hem stitch width.
When hand hemming, allow at least one inch for the folded hem.
For machine sewing, experiment with stitch width on fabric scraps to ensure the folds are caught in the blind hem stitches without showing through to the right side.
Consider the fabric weight and pattern when adjusting length.
You press the raw edge up by 1⁄4 inch (for lightweight fabric) or serge/zig-zag the edge (for bulky fabric) before sewing a blind hem stitch.
It creates a tidy folded edge to feed through the sewing machine.
For bulky fabrics, zig-zagging prevents bunching under the presser foot.
Proper pressing allows the blind hem to lie flat and invisible once complete.
Adjust seam allowances if needed before pressing.
When preparing to machine sew, fold the hem back with just a sliver of fabric showing to nestle into place.
Use steam and starch when pressing for crisp folds.
For the best finish, press as you go while sewing blind hems.
How to Sew a Blind Hem by Machine
First, press the folded hem flat to set the folds.
Next, fold the pressed hem backward, leaving about 1/8 inch of the fold showing on the right side.
Then, select your machine’s blind hem stitch, set the stitch width between 2-3, stitch length between 2-3, and stitch along the folded hem, keeping the hem guide aligned with the folded edge.
Press Folded Hem
You’ll then press your folded hem, creating a crisp folded edge for stitching.
With a hot iron, apply pressure along the length of the hem fold. This melds the folds together and provides definition for aligning the blind hem foot later.
A well-pressed hem also enables the stitching to sink into the fold for near invisibility.
Consider spraying water to avoid imprinting creases on delicate fabrics before pressing.
Fold Hem Backwards
You’ve pressed the folded hem.
Now fold the hem backwards, leaving about 1⁄8 inch (3mm) of the fold showing.
Align the folded edge with the presser foot guide.
Keep the fabric taut as you sew.
Adjust the stitch width if needed.
Check for even feed of both fabric layers.
This backward folding anchors the stitching and creates the invisible finish characteristic of a blind hem stitch.
Proper preparation enables the machine to sew an accurate blind hem.
After folding the hem backwards with 1/8 inch showing, select the blind hem stitch on your machine.
Use a stitch width of 2-3 and a length of 2-3.
Beginners should try blind hem settings on scrap material first to ensure even stitches and proper feed.
For light fabric, choose smaller settings.
For heavy fabric, choose slightly wider settings.
A blind stitch presser foot precisely aligns fabric layers.
Optional: Lower feed dogs for maximum control sewing tiny blind hem stitches by machine.
Stitch Along Hem
Begin stitching along the folded hem, keeping the guide aligned with the folded edge as you sew.
Slowly and gently guide fabric under the presser foot.
Watch for shifts in fabric layer alignment.
Adjust stitch width if needed.
Keep the folded hem cleanly aligned as you stitch for optimal results.
Monitor stitch formation and make small adjustments as needed for your fabric.
Proceed with care and patience for an invisible blind hem stitch.
Tips for Blind Hem Stitching
The type of presser foot and fabric can impact your blind hem stitching.
For best visibility while stitching, use a blind hem foot on your machine.
Patterned fabrics tend to hide stitches well for an extra invisible look.
Your blind hem stitching will be easier with the right presser foot.
After selecting the blind hem stitch on your machine, attach a blind hem foot to keep the fabric’s folded edge aligned as you sew.
The extended guide on a blind hem foot generates slack in the zigzag stitch for a freer hanging hem on your garment.
Sturdy presser feet designed for blind hemming help process even large amounts of heavy fabric smoothly and give a professional finish.
How smoothly can you blind hem stitch on patterned fabrics?
With printed designs, alignment becomes key for creative hemming.
Carefully fold, pin, and maneuver the fabric layers to match the print at hem edges before stitching.
Though fabric prints pose fun sewing challenges, take your time to produce quality results.
Finesse and precision serve well for stitching pretty patterned hems.
Hand Sewing a Blind Hem
First, fold under the hem and hide the knot so it’s enclosed in the fold.
Then, take very small stitches, about 1/2 inch long, catching just a tiny bit of the garment fabric in the fold.
Keep working your way along the hem this way, taking care to keep the stitches tiny so they disappear into the fold of the hem.
- Measure and turn up a double-fold hem, then fold it back onto the right side leaving about 1/8 inch showing.
With the fold created, knot matching thread and hide it within the fold.
Take a tiny stitch into the folded edge, move the needle left 1/2 inch, then make another small stitch into the main fabric to anchor it while keeping stitches nearly invisible along the hem’s edge.
Conceal the thread knot within the fold before catching a small bit of the folded fabric edge.
This creates a seamless finish, essential for invisible hand stitching.
Though unable to match machine precision, hand sewing allows more presser foot options.
Take care to catch just a sliver of fabric in the fold, then move your needle precisely half an inch left, taking a tiny stitch in the hem.
Keep stitches tiny and evenly spaced for the blindest hem.
After hiding the knot, you’ll catch just a bit of the folded fabric edge.
Then, move your needle 1/2 inch left and pick up a tiny stitch in the hem.
Use a sharp, fine needle and polyester thread for durability; cotton may snag.
Keep your stitches 1/8 inch or less, spacing them 1/2 inch apart.
Adjust length and tension for smooth, tiny stitches that grip fabric without puckering.
Staystitch slowly, keeping an even pace.
Use thimbles as needed and check fit periodically.
Tiny hand stitches beautifully meld into lightweight linens, cottons, silks, and more.
More on Presser Feet
You’d get better results with a specialty foot designed for sewing blind hems.
When it comes to presser feet, there are several options that can enhance your blind hem stitching experience.
One popular choice is the Blind Hem Foot, which has a guide that helps keep your fabric aligned and ensures consistent stitches along the folded edge.
Another option is the Adjustable Blind Hem Foot, which allows you to adjust the position of your stitches for different hem depths.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even explore creative applications using other presser feet like the Decorative Edge Foot or Piping Foot to add unique details to your blind hems.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and find alternative techniques that suit your style!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What fabrics work best for blind hemming?
Lightweight and medium-weight patterned fabrics are best for blind hems, as they allow the stitches to blend easily into the print.
Steer clear of bulky fabrics, sheers, silks, and materials prone to fraying.
Adequate hem depth helps produce invisible machine-stitched blind hems.
How wide should the hem allowance be for a blind hem stitch?
I would gently advise a hem allowance of at least 1 inch for proper blind hem stitching.
This provides sufficient fabric to fold cleanly and ample room for the ladder stitches to grasp just a sliver of the hem edge.
Narrower allowances risk visibility and durability.
A wider hem enhances the discreet nature of this useful technique.
Can I sew a blind hem on a serger/overlock machine?
What needle and thread should I use when sewing a blind hem?
Picture a tightrope walker,
their every step precise,
their balance unwavering.
Choose your needle and thread
with the same care.
A sharp, fine needle
glides through fabric like a dancer,
while strong, fine thread
disappears into the seam like a whisper.
How do I troubleshoot puckered or wavy blind hems?
Check your tension.
If it’s too tight, it causes the fabric to pucker.
Loosen the top thread tension and sew again slowly.
Ensure the fold lies flat and even against the blind hem foot guide.
Readjust as needed until smooth.
With practice, you’ll work magic disguising hems with the blind stitch.
Match thread colors and lengths to truly make your hem vanish.
Master this clever technique, and unleash your inner tailor on any project needing an invisible finish.
It takes patience, but with our guidelines, you’ll be sew-very-impressed with your new blind hem sorcery.
- Press well
- Fold evenly
- Mind fabric patterns
- Stitch slowly by hand or machine