Today you’re going to learn all about how to sew a blind hem and if you really need a blind hem foot or not.
So you’re just getting used to your sewing machine, a
nd you see this funky zigzaggy straight stitch combo stitch. You’re thinking, what on earth is this and why would I use it?
Behold, the blind hem stitch. This versatile little stitch requires a little know how in its execution. Once you know how to sew a blind hem, you’ll be using it more than you’d ever guess.
In this tutorial, we’ll talk about what a blind hem stitch is, what it’s used for, and then I’ll show you step by step how to sew a blind hem with and without a blind hem foot.
And stick around, and I’ll show you a blind hem foot hack that has nothing to do with blind hemming that you’ll use 10 ways to Sunday.
So dig out your sewing machine manual and find your blind hem settings for your machine and let’s jump into this.
Table of Contents
What is a blind hem stitch?
A blind hem stitch or an invisible hem stitch makes a hemming stitch that is virtually invisible on your finished project.
Straight out of your machine, the stitch looks like a single zigzag followed by a few narrower zigzags.
You accomplish the invisible stitch with a special folding process before you sew the hem. The stitch then sews a few straight stitches near the hem fold followed by a single wide zigzag. The zigzag takes a tiny bite of the fabric that holds the hem in place.
Once you press the hem, those tiny stitches show up only as a tiny dot at intervals around your hem.
When you use matching thread, the stitches will sink into the fabric and be nearly invisible. Even with thread that doesn’t match, you can see how tiny the visible stitches are below.
What is a blind hem stitch used for?
Look for blind hems on tailored pants and skirts and dresses and even jackets and coats. It’s a little tricky, but I’ve also seen people sew zipper plackets and pockets on with a blind hem stitch.
A blind hem stitch is also excellent for curtains. Big deep beautiful hems look amazing with blind hems.
You can even use blind hems on stable knits like ponte. That little bit of zigzag builds in the recovery needed to stop the thread on knit hems from breaking. It’s a nice, dressier alternative to a double needle or a coverstitched hem.
Any time you want to make a hem that is deeper than 1” where you don’t want to see visible topstitching, a blind hem stitch is a good option.
What kinds of fabrics work best for blind hems?
Blind hems are wonderful on a wide variety of fabrics. Use them on home décor fabrics, lightweight cottons, and stable knits like ponte.
Any fabric where you don’t want to see visible topstitching on the hem is a good candidate for a blind hem.
Do you actually really need a blind hem foot?
You can use either a zigzag foot or a blind hem foot to sew a blind hem. That being said, a blind hem foot is a little easier to use.
If you look at a blind hem foot there’s a little blade in the middle of the toe. This blade rides along the fold in the fabric, allowing you to sew consistently along the edge, grabbing the same amount of fabric on the zigzags for that lovely blind hem look.
When you’re learning how to blind hem, I’d go for the foot.
When you’re more practiced, you can switch things up and see how you do. Specialty feet are there to help us do sewing tasks easier and quicker and often more accurately, but they’re not 100% necessary.
How to sew a blind hem step by step
Sew a blind hem by machine with a blind hem foot
Swap out your standard machine foot for a blind hem foot.
Prep your fabric by pressing on a strip of fusible interfacing the depth of the hem.
Then press up the hem. You can serge the raw edge or make a double fold to enclose the raw edge.
From there, place your project so the wrong side of the hem is facing up. Fold the hem back on itself and under the other side so that 1/2” of fabric is visible.
Place the blade of the blind hem foot against the middle fold and start stitching. Notice how the machine starts sewing right on the fold and then jumps over to the left to take a bite of fabric. This is what you want.
Keep stitching all the way around your hem, allowing the blade to ride along the center fold’s edge.
Press your hem with steam to finish off your hem.
How to sew a blind hem with a standard foot
Prepare your hem just the same as if you were going to use a blind hem foot with interfacing and a well pressed hem.
Fold back the hem and start stitching. Watch the left edge of your foot to make sure you’re stitching an even distance away from the fold as you stitch the hem.
This can take practice, but you may like this better than a blind hem foot.
Troubleshooting your blind hems
Blind hemming takes some practice. You’ll notice that even with a blind hem foot, it can be easy to make your zigzag stitches (the fabric bites) inconsistent in the sizing. Here’s how to fix inconsistent sizing on your blind hem stitches and other common problems.
- Your fabric is getting in your way: sometimes the blade will drift over the edge of lightweight fabrics or get caught on bulky heavier fabrics. This can make some stitches small and others giant. To fix it, watch your blade as you sew a blind hem like a hawk to make sure it’s riding right on the edge for the most consistent results.
- Your blind hem stitches look puckered: This is a really common problem on lightweight fabrics. Sometimes the foot can pinch the fabric near the blade. Fix it by adding a little bit of fusible interfacing in your hem and by pressing your finished hem. Also sew a tiny bit to the right of the edge. When you do this, the zigzag part of the blind hem will take smaller bites, so there’s less chance of puckering.
- It’s all fun and games until you get to a seam: As you’re sewing a hem and cross a seam, you might notice your foot go off to the side and miss completely. This happens because seams are much more bulky and a blind hem foot’s blade is narrow. Fix this by slowing down as you approach a seam. Leave your needle down and lift the presser foot to make sure it’s riding along the edge of the fabric. You can sew a little to the left since it’s going to want to pull the opposite direction. Go slowly, and there is NO shame in using your fly wheel to go through a couple of stitches if you have to. I’d much rather go slowly than have to rip out a section of hem and try again.
What else is a blind hem foot used for?
This is a sewing hack you need in your life!
A blind hem foot is one of my secret weapons for topstitching beautiful even rows. That little blade is the key. You’ll have to play around with your settings, but give it a try. I just bet you your handmade jeans and bags will start looking sharper.
Get a more detailed tutorial of how to use a blind hem foot for topstitching in How to Topstitch.
So that’s the skinny on blind hemming. Experiment with this stitch. The more you use it, the more you’ll learn to rely on it for all your invisible hemming dreams.
Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.