Often, the most exciting notions look rather nondescript inside their cardboard boxes and cellophane wrappers. Our goal with the Products We Love series is to break open the packaging, show you how to use these cool tools, and inspire you to add one or more to your own sewing basket. The Clover Hot Hemmer is one of the best little pressing tools we’ve come across in a long time. Although pressing is an incredibly important part of the construction process, we’re not always happy to be hemming. But the Hot Hemmer helps keep all those narrow folds accurate without having to get your fingers too close to the iron. Nearly every time we feature this tool in our instructional photos, someone asks about it, so we knew it was time to make sure you had all the details.

Part of the Press Perfect collection by Joan Hawley for Clover, the Hot Hemmer is a 5″ x 6″ powerhouse of pressing. It’s definitely one of those, “I-can’t-believe-no-one-thought-of-this-before” kind of products. Of course, there have been hem gauges for years, but they are usually metal or plastic. Ironing over a metal gauge can make it too hot to touch and it can actually get hot enough to damage delicate fabric. Plastic is often simply not able to handle ironing without melting or warping, which means you constantly have to measure and then move the gauge out of the way, hoping you can keep your fold accurate.

The Clover Hot Hemmer is a super thin, heat resistant ruler with a special non-slip surface that helps hold the fabric in place for the best, most precise results.

The measuring marks on the Hot Hemmer are very accurate and include straight edges, a curved corner, a true 45˚ diagonal for mitering, and ⅛” divisions. The most common ¼”, ½” and ¾” measurements are highlighted.

You can use the Hot Hemmer with either a dry or steam iron, and it will withstand temperatures up to 428˚F (220˚C). As with ironing on any surface, if you hold your iron in one place on the Hot Hemmer for an extended period of time, the surface can become discolored.

Below, we walk you through how to use the Hot Hemmer for five of the most common tasks.

Flat double-fold hem

  1. Place the fabric wrong side up on your work surface/ironing board.
  2. Lay the Hot Hemmer on the fabric.
  3. Wrap the raw edge of the fabric over the hemmer, aligning the raw edge of the fabric with the appropriate ruler mark for your initial fold. We used a ½” initial fold. Press in place.
  4. Continue sliding the Hot Hemmer along the fabric, wrapping and pressing as you go.
  5. With the initial fold pressed in place, simply reposition the Hot Hemmer at the beginning of the hem and fold up the second fold. We used 2″ as a second fold. Press in place along the length of the hem as above.

Double-fold hem with clean corners

  1. One of our favorites here at S4H is a narrow hem with a clean miter-style corner. If you are new to this technique, check out our full step-by-step tutorial.
  2. We tested our tutorial using the Clover Hot Hemmer, and it made quick work of the folding and pressing.
  3. Thanks to the exact diagonal line running across the Hot Hemmer, it’s fast and easy to create a true 45˚ fold.
  4. Then simply slide the Hot Hemmer along to continue maintaining the straight run of the hem.
  5. It worked equally well for the larger hem and heavier fabric shown below as well as for the very narrow hem in lightweight fabric shown above.

Quick curves for pockets

  1. With your pocket cut to size, place the Hot Hemmer on the wrong side of the fabric. Position the curve of the Hot Hemmer at the bottom corner of the pocket where you want a curved edge.
  2. Fold in the raw side edges to the ½” line on the Hot Hemmer, pressing in place as you go.
  3. Fold in the corner fabric, pulling it slightly taut so it follows the curve of the Hot Hemmer.
  4. Press to set the curve of the corner.
  5. Repeat to create the opposite curved corner.
  6. Then, slide the Hot Hemmer to the top of the pocket.
  7. Fold and press to make a standard double-fold hem along the top.
  8. Pin in place, and you’re ready to stitch

Move from right to left or left to right

  1. Because the Hot Hemmer has identical accurate markings running both horizontally and vertically, it’s easy to move in either direction with your marking and pressing. This is especially nice on very, very long hems.
  2. Using the corner cut out, position the bottom edge of the Hot Hemmer so it runs along the bottom raw edge of your fabric. Slide the Hot Hemmer right to left, marking at your desired height. We show a 1″ mark in the photo below. Just keep the edge of the Hot Hemmer running flush with the raw edge of the fabric.
  3. To head left to right, simply rotate the Hot Hemmer 90˚ and head in the opposite direction, marking as you go.
  4. When complete, fold and press along your marks.

Marking dimensional corners

  1. The corner cut out is also very handy when you need to measure and mark on an already dimensional item, such as finding the point at which to insert purse feet on the bottom of a finished bag.
  2. Align the Hot Hemmer with the corner of the bag bottom, adjusting for your required depth. Then trace the corner with a fabric pen or pencil.
  3. Pull away the Hot Hemmer, and you have a perfect intersection point to work with.
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Wendy H.
Wendy H.
6 years ago

Why is it the smallest tools Why is it the smallest tools can make the biggest difference?! I can’t tell you how much I love my clover hot hemmer! I had noticed it in my local quilt shop when they first came here to Canada, but it really didn’t seem like it could possibly be of any “real” use (and I have a box full of unused “time saving” items, so I’ve become very particular over the years lol). Wow, was I ever wrong! After reading your initial post on this, I decided to grab one the next time I… Read more »

Wendy H.
Wendy H.
6 years ago

@Liz Johnson – Plus there’s the new

@Liz Johnson – Plus there’s the new versions of their hot hemmer as well – handy little things!! <3

7 years ago

Somehow I missed this the

Somehow I missed this the first time around but seeing it this time, I knew it was just what I was looking for!  I know I’ll use it for a ton of things but am especially glad to get it for the sewing I do for the Days for Girls organization.  I had made a thin card stock template with a quarter inch line and one at one and a quarter inches but that card stock gets warped from the steam. Can’t wait to use this little tool!  

Sarah Tron
Sarah Tron
7 years ago

I, too, bought one of these

I, too, bought one of these after reading about it on the Sew4Home site and I don’t know how I ever lived without it! I’ve raved about it so much our local quilting & sewing machine stores have started to carry them. I even punched a hole in mine and tied it to the ironing board so it can’t get to far away from me!

Rosalie Jean Young
Rosalie Jean Young
7 years ago

I just bought this a few

I just bought this a few months ago, after seeing it on your website…it’s a great tool!  

7 years ago

I purchased one of these the

I purchased one of these the last time it was featured. And I gotta say: I Love It! Just recently, I was making a new pair of curtains and I was again reminded why this little tool is so awsome!

Coastal Sewist
Coastal Sewist
7 years ago
Reply to  DebS

Same here, and it’s been a

Same here, and it’s been a great tool. Thanks Sew4Home! And it’s great that you mention it again for those who missed it or need a reminder.

Deborah Whitt
Deborah Whitt
7 years ago

No more burned fingers!!! I’m

No more burned fingers!!! I’m getting this!!!

Sally M.
Sally M.
7 years ago

I love it already – what an

I love it already – what an ingenious idea.  Definitely going to get one of these.  

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