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How to Sew A Hem Facing

WHAT IS IT?

A hem facing is a facing (page link) sewn to the hemline of a garment. Great for curved hems and full skirts, it adds weight to the garment and adds structure to the hemline. A hem facing is cut from a separate piece of fabric and sewn along the edge of the garment, instead of having extra length that is folded up and sewn. This allows you to cut the hem facing from a different fabric if you desire.

Hem facing

Hem facing

Contrast hem facing

Contrast hem facing

WHEN DO YOU USE IT?

Hem facings work wonders when you are low on fabric, want to lengthen a too-short skirt or want to add structure and weight to the hemline. A hem facing is a good choice for a very thick or heavy fabric that won’t fold up into a hem easily. You can even add a surprise pop of color by sewing your hem facing in a contrast color. Just like regular facings, consider whether the pattern on the fabric will show through if used as a facing. You may want to choose a coordinating solid fabric for your hem facing. Interface the hem facing for even more support and structure. Sew the garment normally and when it comes time to sew the hem, that’s when you will attach the hem facing.

Tips + Notes

  • Hem facings are great for underlined garments. You can hem the facing to the underlining instead of the garment (page link) fabric, thereby making it completely invisible.
  • If you are trying to get as much length as possible out of a too-short garment, sew your hem facing with a small seam allowance, as narrow as ¼” (6mm).

HOW TO DRAFT A HEM FACING

First, if there is a hem allowance on your pattern and you want to keep the same length, reduce this hem allowance to 5⁄8″ (1.5cm). (See page link for how to adjust seam allowances.)  Lay the pattern piece on scrap paper, and trace around the hem at least 3″ (7.6cm) up the sides. This is the start of your new pattern piece. On the new pattern piece, measure up from the hem edge about 2″ (5.1cm), and draw in the facing line parallel to the hemline edge. You can make it wider if you like; the wider the hem facing the more structured and stiff the hem will be. Mark the grain line (page link) to match the grain of your original pattern piece. If the piece was cut on the fold, mark the cut on the fold side.

How to draft a hem facing

HOW TO SEW A HEM FACING

A hem facing is constructed and sewn the same way as a regular facing (page link) except that it is sewn on last, once the garment is fully constructed. Assemble the garment but leave it unhemmed. Press seams open. Fuse interfacing to facing pieces, if desired. Assemble the facing, sew all seams and finish the upper edge of the facing that isn’t going to be sewn to the hem.

How to sew a hem facing (1)

With right sides together, pin the facing to the hem. Match up any seams in the facing to the seams of the garment, and sew along the hem edge with a regular 5⁄8″ (1.5cm) seam allowance. Clip and notch curves. Trim seam allowance to ¼” (6mm), or trim the seam allowance in half.

How to sew a hem facing (2)

Understitch (page link) the facing. Press the facing to the inside of the garment. The understitching will help the facing roll to the inside; pressing it will keep it in place.

How to sew a hem facing (3)

Catchstitch (page link) the hem facing to the garment fabric. Tack the facing securely to the garment at the seams. You can do this by hand, sewing a few hand stitches through both layers. I usually do it as I pass by each seam with my catchstitching.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine