Hey there! It’s Stef from Girl. Inspired. Last month, I showed you how to make your own custom piping to add detail to your sewn projects. Today, I am really excited to show you how to use that piping and other trims to quickly and beautifully finish the hem on a garment. Basically, you will match the raw edge of the trim or piping with the raw edge of the fabric and sew them together so that when you flip down the trim, you are left with a perfectly finished hem! Let’s take a closer look at the process…
For this project,we’ll make a fairly basic, elastic waisted skirt using just one rectangle of fabric. Two buttonholes added to the center front of the waistband allow for a cute elastic and ribbon bow closure. Cut a fabric rectangle twice as wide as the waist measurement, and as long as the measurement from waist to knee (or desired finished length) + 1 ¼ “ for the waist casing. Finish all four sides of the rectangle with a serger or by zig zag stitching so they do not fray.
Step 1: Fold down the top edge (long side) of the skirt panel by ¼” inch and press. Fold down this edge an additional 1” and press well. You will sew about 7/8” from the new top edge of the skirt to form the casing for elastic, but not quite yet!
Step 2: Open up the fabric that you just pressed. Mark the center top of the skirt panel. To each side of the center, make a small buttonhole – approximately ¾” tall and placed below the fold line that marks the new top of the skirt. Open the buttonholes using a seam ripper.
Step 3: Next, match up the short ends of the skirt, right sides together, and sew, forming the skirt into a tube. Press the seams open. Now fold the waistband back into place along your fold lines from Step 1. Stitch 7/8” from the top edge to form the elastic waistband casing.
Step 4: Cut a piece of ¾” elastic as long as the waist measurement minus 2”. Cut two pieces of ribbon and use a zig zag stitch to attach the ribbon pieces to each end of the elastic piece, forming one long waistband insert.
Step 5: Use a safety pin attached to one end of ribbon to thread the elastic/ribbon piece through one buttonhole and all the way out through the other. Evenly distribute the gathers of the fabric around the elastic waistband. Pull each side of the ribbon and tie into a center bow to finish the waistband. (You can also stitch the elastic in place just to the sides of each buttonhole once you’re certain of the fit.)
Step 6: Hemming the Skirt – be sure to finish the raw edge of the hem before continuing – again, you can serge or zigzag stitch; you can also turn under the raw edge by 1/8-1/4”. Now, place the raw edge of your piping, right side down, and use a zipper foot to stitch as close to the piping as possible. Overlap the ends of the piping at the back seam and sew a straight stitch over the section for a clean finish (see picture above).
Now, place your trim right side down, with the raw edge of the trim aligned with or close to the raw edge of the fabric/piping. Please note: trims come in a variety of widths – you will need to determine which portion of the trim you want to show on the finished garment and imagine a line marking the “to show” portion and the “hidden” portion of the trim. Place this imaginary line directly over the stitch line where you attached the piping to the hem. The “hidden” portion should be facing the raw edge while the “to show” portion should be facing the bump of the piping and the rest of the skirt. Stitch the trim onto the piping – work slowly to maintain a line of stitching as close as possible to the piping cord.
Step 7: Turn under the raw edges of the trims and press well.
Step 8: Topstitch just above the piping/trim on the skirt fabric to secure the raw edges underneath the hem.
And that’s it! Don’t you love the nice finish on the trimmed skirt hem? I hope you enjoy this tutorial. Stop by Girl. Inspired. to see some of the other projects I’ve been working on this month:
Stef blogs at Girl. Inspired. where she shares sewing projects and tutorials, her latest adventures in cake-decorating and sugar consumption, and any sort of crafty thing she can squeeze into her day. She loves throwing parties and decorating her home with a little vintage and a lot of homemade. Stef and her husband are raising three little girls on their “farm” in Northern California. She loves dance parties with her girls, laughing with her husband, hoarding fabric, photography, and of course, coffee! Stop by and say hi! Find Stef on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram for more inspiration!