title image of curved hems


If you’ve ever had to hem a curved edge, you’ll know how tricky it is to turn, press and stitch it so that it looks neat and tidy. Curved edges are tricky for a few reasons. They involve a bias grainline, which causes the fabric to stretch out. Also, depending on the kind of curve you are working with, whether it be concave or convex, the fabric edge will be longer or shorter in length compared to the area it is being folded to, indicated by the red dashed line in the following diagram...


examples of convex and concave curves


In the instance of a concave curve where the fabric edge is shorter than the area it is folded to, the bias grainline will stretch, allowing you to manipulate the fabric. If it is a severe concave curve, you can clip the seam allowance in order to prevent puckering.

In the instance of a convex curve, the length of the fabric edge is longer than the area it is folding to, so you have to manipulate the fabric to make the lengths equal.

Here’s a little tip for finishing curved edges...


Single Fold Hem

(I recommend that you finish the edge with a serge or zig zag before starting. This demo is left unfinished so that you could see the stitches more clearly) 

  1. Basted edge of curved hemline
    Sew a baste stitch 1/8” from the fabric edge, leaving a few inches of thread at one end
  2. Examples of stitches on curved edge
    Sew a second row of stitching at the intended seam allowance for the hem
  3. Gathering the curved edge
    Pull on one of the thread tails from the stitch closest to the edge, drawing the fabric just enough so that the folded edge lays flat onto the fabric
  4. Ironing the curved edge
    Distribute the gathers evenly and press
  5. pressed curved edge, ready for hemming

    Turn the fabric towards the wrong side, pressing along the second stitch line. This stitch acts as a folding guide and helps in achieving a crisp and even fold
  6. pressed curved edge, ready for hemming
    Distribute the gathers along the curve and press
  7. Front and back view of finished curved hem
    Topstitch the hem within the seam allowance


Double Fold Hem

  1. Stitch lines for double turned curved hem
    Sew a baste stitch ¼”away from the fabric edge. Sew a second row ½” away from the fabric edge
  2. Ironing the first fold of the double turn hem
    Turning the fabric towards the wrong side, press along the first ¼” stitch line
  3. first press of double turn hem
    This helps to create a crisp even line to fold along the stitch
  4. pressing the second fold for the double fold hemSecond fold of double fold hem
     Press again along the ½” stitch line.
  5. finished double turned curved hem
    Topstitch along the hem within the seam allowance.  Feel free to remove the stitching along the folded edge after the hem is finished











Comments (8)

  1. Carolanne:
    Oct 09, 2012 at 02:10 PM

    You read my mind! This is information that I desperately needed. Bless your brilliant heart! xo


  2. Floryne:
    Oct 12, 2012 at 09:20 PM

    C'est juste ce qu'il me fallait. Merci.


  3. Joanne:
    Dec 01, 2013 at 08:02 PM

    Would this technique work with fleece or knits?


  4. Marilyn:
    Feb 25, 2014 at 01:53 PM

    Great idea. Thanks


  5. Marilyn:
    Feb 25, 2014 at 01:55 PM

    Great idea. Thanks


  6. Banz:
    Jan 17, 2015 at 04:35 AM

    Thank you very much for sharing!
    Great idea!


  7. Barclay Dunn:
    Jun 10, 2015 at 03:02 AM

    This is ... simply brilliant.


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