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How to Sew a Blind Hem

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A blind hem is exactly what it sounds like: a hem with stitches you barely notice. It's perfect for window coverings, the hem at the bottom of a garment, or anywhere you want a clean finished edge. When I first started sewing, attaining a perfect blind hem was like finding the Holy Grail. And then a funny thing happened, I practiced it a few times, and realized it was really easy. It's sort of like learning to use chopsticks – at first it seems so awkward and difficult and then, suddenly, it's second nature. Try a blind hem and you'll never drop a wad of sticky rice in your lap again. This is one of our most popular techniques ever on Sew4Home; so much so, we try to re-run it at least once a year in order to stamp out the fear of blind hems for both new and returning visitors. 

First, you will need a blind hem foot. This is a special foot that comes standard with most sewing machines. The foot shown below is the 9mm Blind Hem foot that came with our Janome Skyline machine. Your presser foot version might be slightly different depending on the brand and/or model of your sewing machine.

Notice the black part in the middle of the foot (it may not be black on your machine's foot). It's called a "flange." This is your new word for the day; try to work it into a conversation. The flange acts as a guide. It will rest against the folded edge of the fabric as you sew, allowing you to maintain a straight seam and make sure the space between the main stitches and the blind stitches is accurate.

Enough semantics; let's actually do the stitch

Make a simple hem

  1. Figure out how big of a hem you need to get the finished length you want. Most people prefer to err on the side of narrow over wide so there's less bulk to the folded fabric and the hem will lay nice and flat. In fact, it's often better to trim your fabric just a bit rather than make a giant hem.
  2. Let's say you have 2" to work with. First, fold back the raw edge ¾". Then, fold back and additional 1¼". The first fold rolls inside the second and you end up with a nice folded edge along both the top and bottom.
  3. Press the hem.

Pin the hem

  1. Notice of the position of the pins in the photos below. It is much easier if you place the pins with the tops facing toward your main fabric – away from the hem's edge.

At the machine

  1. Take the project to your machine. It should be wrong side up, showing that nice folded hem you just made and pinned in place.
  2. Make sure the blind hem foot is attached and the machine set to make a blind hem stitch. Refer to your machine's manual to confirm the foot and the stitch number. 
  3. Place the hemmed fabric on the bed of the machine so the edge of the hem is facing the foot and the tops of the pins are facing away.
  4. Tuck the hem under the wrong side of the main fabric, leaving about a ¼" of the hem's edge sticking out. The tops of the pins will now be pointing toward the foot.
  5. Slide your fabric under the blind hem foot so the flange is resting against the folded edge of the main fabric.
  6. When the needle drops it will be sewing mainly into that ¼" of the hem's edge that is sticking out and catching just a tiny bit of the main fabric.
  7. Continue sewing along the entire hem, keeping the flange against the fold of the main fabric. 
  8. When complete, the bulk of the stitches will fall along the hem's edge and every third stitch or so will catch in the main fabric. 
  9. Open the hem to straighten the seam, gently stretching the hemmed stitches so they lay flat, if necessary. Press well.
    NOTE: We used a contrasting thread for these instructions so you could see our work. You'll want to choose a thread color that matches your fabric so the stitches on the front will barely be visible. Blind!
  10. You can adjust stitch length if you want fewer or more stitches catching the main fabric.


Comments (13)

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

After several trial and errors with other sites, your stick pin placement and comments made blind hems make sense for me and kept my line neat. The pin trick oriented me to which lines/folds were which. I'm so glad I found your tutorial! Thank you so much!!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

That is great news! We're so glad to know we've helped, and we hope you'll come back often for more techniques -- and lots o' great projects.

Anonymous said:
Anonymous's picture

When starting and finishing the blind hem do you need to reverse the stitch so the stitching doesn't come undone? 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

You can do a traditional backstitch to lock a blind hem at the start and finish, but whether you need to really depends on what you are hemming. If the beginning and end of the hem will be contained within a side seam or similar, those seams will lock the hem. If you are sewing all the way around (the bottom of a pant leg or a skirt hem), the end of the seam can slightly overlap the start, which will lock the stitches. 

MaggieS said:
MaggieS's picture

Believer!  I have been avoiding mending my husband's dress pants but you made it easy!  Many thanks!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@MaggieS -- yay! You'll be hemming everything in site before long. 

Debbi Casey said:
Debbi Casey 's picture

Thank you so much for this!  So clear, so straightforward!  Almost easy!  I just pulled off a mom-miracle with homecoming dress and I look like quite the hero, when really, it was you and this post.  Thanks again!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Debbi - Whoo - hoo! We will bask in your hero glory from a distance. Go glad to know we were a help!

Shan said:
Shan's picture

Any tips for blind hemming when you don't have a blind hem foot?   My machine is about 30yrs old (and it still runs like a top).  It has a blind hem stitch, but no fancy foot.  My manual shows you the basics of making the stitch, but thought someone might have insight into doing a better job with it.

Janice D said:
Janice D's picture

Shan, I have a 50 year old Singer and have never used it for blind hems, but after seeing this tutorial and checking my manual I will have to try it.  Mine doesn't have the heming foot, but it says to use the zig-zag foot and the seam guide. You lay the fabric out the same way, but place the guide over the right toe of the presser foot until it rests next to the soft fold (the one you are to catch with the tiny stitch). Stitch the same way, just be sure to remove the guide before lifting the presser foot.  Maybe your machine will work the same way.  Sounds easy enough.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Shan - If you have a blind hem stitch, then the biggest benefit of the foot is the flange that allows you to keep a perfect distance right along the folded edge -- but, if you have a good eye and a steady hand, you can do it without the flange. Of course, you'd also need to confirm that the needle hole opening in the foot is wide enough to accomodate the stitch -- it should be if it's the foot that came with your machine. 

Carla Hundley said:
Carla Hundley's picture

Thanks for showing this

again. I will have to try

this, looks easy.

Carla from Utah 

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Carla - it is easy - let us know if you give it a try -- you'll be a believer!