Monday, June 26, 2017

Tutorial: Pressing long hems for curtains, tablecloths, etc

 A few weeks ago I purchased this lovely woven cotton from Alewives in Damariscotta, ME.  


I promised a tutorial/hint on how to do a long hem so here it is.  The basic tools needed are:
  • Rotary cutter
  • Cutting mat
  • Ruler 
  • Sharpie 
  • Iron
  • Sewing machine and
  • A manila folder (piece of long cardboard).
Yup, the manila folder is your secret weapon/tool for making this onerous task very easy.  Here's a folder I had used before; it only had a few ruler markings on it.  These were for curtain hems.



For this purpose I wanted 1" hems.  I decided it would be nice to make some notations on the folder so I would know what the lines measured for the next project.  This simply required marking the folder with the ruler and the sharpie.  Now you are ready to work with your fabric.

1.  Press your fabric. 

2. Bring to your mat and work on straightening your fabric edges, with your ruler and rotary cutter.




This fabric was a heavier woven and rather easy to straighten.  I kept the selvedges on.   Yes, I know the scary quilter rule about them shrinking and distorting but I didn't want to trim it off this fabric.  I have violated this rule many times for sewing clothing in my youth and in making curtains and never noticed it.  For my quilts, I rarely keep it in.
Now, the magic begins!

3.  Bring your fabric to the ironing board.   Fold over to the desired hem length.  For the tablecloth I decided to press 1" twice to create the hem.  This is folding for the first hem. 



4.  Continue to the end of the length of fabric.


5.  Now, fold a second time and press again, all the way to the end.



6.  Bring that side to the sewing machine and hem.  
I sometimes use a blind hem stitch, but for the tablecloth I just used a straight stitch.  I sewed on the back, checking my stitches to be sure I liked the way it looked on the front. I didn't pin; this fabric was uber-cooperative.




7.  Press the next side and hem.
I usually press one side, hem, repeat until done.  You could press and pin two sides then hem two sides.   I usually do the two long sides first (most boring) and then the shorter sides.  
8.  Repeat until finished.  

I can't tell you how much easier this is than drawing lines and press against or two them!  I use this anytime I have to press a length longer than a few inches.


1 comment:

  1. This is a super tip! I have a handy ironable clover ruler that is small that I use sometimes, but for longer seams the manilla folder is a great tip I will have to remember.

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