tips + tricks | easy roll hem

Next up in the Tips + Tricks series is the easy roll hem.  I usually get at least one request for a tutorial every time I post a photo of a rolled hem so I thought I should get on this one.  I learned this technique from one of our seamstresses at work, Jurata, when she couldn’t believe that I didn’t learn how to do the regular roll hem technique in school.  This is the slightly cheater method that she taught me in order to get me used to making them for the non-cheater technique she later showed me.  I’ll do another Tips + Tricks for the regular roll hem later, don’t worry.

STEP 1. Take the fabric you are roll hemming and stitch around the hem 1/8” shy of the seam allowance. If you have a 1/2” seam allowance you are going to stitch at 3/8”, if you have a 5/8” seam allowance you are going to stitch at 1/2”.

STEP 2. Head over to your iron and press the seam allowance up along the stitching line, making sure that the line of stitching rolls to the top with the seam allowance. This will ensure that the line of stitching won’t show on the underside of your garments. Let me also explain why we have stitched and pressed along that stitching line rather than just measuring up 3/8” and pressing. Generally speaking you are going to get a much more even seam allowance with this stitched line than pressing the seam allowance up with a ruler and it will also be at least twice as fast. The other advantage is that if you are doing curves, the fabric will naturally want to turn up along the stitching line creating a smooth curve whereas without it you will generally have small points where the fabric wanted to press straight because of the grain and excess fabric.  Also after you get the hang of it you can eliminate this step and just roll the fabric over at your machine while you sew.

STEP 3. Stitch the turned edge down getting as close to the edge of the hem as possible. Here I am stitching it at 1/16” which also happens to be right on top of the stitching you turned under.

STEP 4. Trim the excess seam allowance off as close to the stitching as you can. I like to cut across the back of my hand while I am holding the piece. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that while taking a photo, not enough arms.

STEP 5. Head back over to the ironing board, fold the seam allowance over and press. Again you can eliminate this step when you are feeling more comfortable and just turn while stitching.

STEP 6. Again stitch the turned edge down stitching along the center of the folded edge. Usually you can just follow along the stitching line that already exists and should be about 1/16” from the edge.

And that’s it, you’re done!  Now you’ve got a super awesome roll hem and it’s really very easy despite my over explaining in so many steps. Hope this comes in handy, and once you’re a pro at this you’ll be ready for the next step, regular roll hems.  As usual if you have any questions let me know!

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48 Responses to tips + tricks | easy roll hem

  1. Sara says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! I had been avoiding doing this, but now I see that it’s totally doable!

  2. Holly says:

    This is excellent! Thanks for doing this!

  3. Olga says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been doing the rolled hem in a way similar to this, but didn’t press after the second line of stitching. Will definitely try your method next time. Thanks again!

  4. Daligula says:

    Thanks! I’ll follow this tutorial in my next project.. =)

  5. Lily Bart says:

    How have I spent my whole sewing life not knowing this??? Thank you so much!!!

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  7. Carrie says:

    Can’t we just use a rolled-edge foot? Even easier!

    • jen | grainline says:

      Of course you can. A lot of people don’t have those though (myself included) so that’s why I made this tutorial.

      • rene' says:

        I bought a rolled hem foot. However, my fabric kept coming out of it. I was working on chiffon. I butchered the hem. No fun. I’m going to practice with this method for sure! Thanks so much!

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  11. Thanks SO much for this. Just followed your steps, and my hem turned out really lovely.

  12. Martha Lyle says:

    I just found this, and I have a sheer blouse to hem for a wedding. Great! I do have one question, in Step 2, do you fold the hem up to the outside, or front of the garment? Like right sides together? Thanks for your help!

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  15. Leena says:

    Hi there loved the tutorial but I do have a.doubt doesn’t this. process involve sewing three times to make a hem whereas with a few pins you could do it once?I am a novice so would appreciate learning the pros of this method 🙂 Thanks

    • This process does involve sewing 3 lines of stitching but it’s much faster and produces a cleaner hemline than trying to fold and pin up less than 1/8″ fabric. You can easily cut out the first stitching line and all of the pressing, that’s how you do it once you’re used to doing these steps. Very very fast!

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  18. Quinn says:

    I am going to ask a totally rookie question, so apologies in advance. You are sewing through just one layer of fabric, is that right? This is a technique for a hem only, not for a seam?
    Thanks so much for this great tutorial. Bot at all “over” explaining, IMHO! 🙂

  19. Jen says:

    This is amazing. Thank you x

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  24. I was wondering how you can eliminate all of that if you have to cut it? you can’t just roll it under right? You still have to cut or you have too much fabric to roll up. Am I missing something? 😛

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  26. Kay says:

    Thanks so much for this. I’m very much a beginner so I read this a few times before attempting, and it turned out swell! Even just this lil thing gives me more confidence and I’m eager to peruse more of your how-tos.

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  29. velosewer says:

    Ok. I’m sold on this method. Thanks Jen.

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  32. Lala says:

    This is now my new favorite way of hemming. Thanks for this! Love all your tutorials!

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  35. Heloisa says:

    I just found your blog, I love it, learned so many things, thank you so much!

  36. Heloisa says:

    Oh, I’m SO thrilled, just did a rolled hem and a french seam in a silk sample and I DID IT RIGHT! I ALWAYS wanted to know how to do that! I’ve tried those hem pressers but never succeeded. With your method we do straights and curves and it WORKS! Please dear, keep helping beginners like me with your excellent methods! Thanks a lot!

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  38. Leigh Ann says:

    You don’t know what a gift this is! I will use it all again and again. Thank you!

  39. Shannon says:

    Thank you so much, came across this desperately needing a tutorial before sending my fabric to be sunray pleated. Best method yet!

  40. Betsey says:

    Thanks!! Wonderful explanation and photos!

  41. Linda RIGGINS says:

    I’m hoping this will eliminate the ruffly effect that I seem to keep getting, no matter how carefully I try not to stretch the curves? Eeeekkk….

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