Blind Hem Stitch – by hand and by machine (Step by step tutorial)

Learn how to do blind hem for pants, dresses and skirts (by hand and sewing machine) .and recognize the correct blind hem stitching symbol

blind hem stitch

 The hem is such an important element in the final look of clothing that sewing requires you to give the utmost thought to it. But with a blind hem, not so much if you know how to do it right.

Hems, finished with a blind hem stitch, looks really professional and meticulous, with the stitching almost invisible on the face of the garment. To top it, it is not a difficult hem to sew.

You can sew a blind hem by hand and on a sewing machine. When you make a blind hem on a sewing machine, it looks from the inside like a regular hand-stitched turned under hem with a decorative stitch. 

The difference is the nearly impossible-to-see stitches on the outside of the garment. This is the result of a manipulated fold when making the hem. This manipulation is quite easy and results in the invisible hem stitches, which is so professional. 

You can check out this video for how to do a blind stitch by making the fold properly.

When sewing this hem by hand the stitches are hidden inside the fold of the hem and the garment, so stitches are truly invisible inside as well as outside.

When you stitch the blind hem on your sewing machine, it is difficult to know that it is machine-stitched. It is as good as a carefully hand-stitched hem. 

The only requirements for a blind stitch hem made on a sewing machine are a zig-zag foot and a blind hem stitch. You also need at least 1.5 inches of seam allowance to stitch the hem.

It is better to get hold of the nylon blind stitch thread, which is really thin but very strong – just the right thread for sewing a blind-stitched hem.

If you are making this hem for the first time, it is better to test it on a piece of scrap than on your precious garment. Also, when sewing the original, always choose an exact color match thread. If you have not got an exact match, choose a darker color than a lighter color. The lighter color thread will stand out. 

(It is a marvel today to think that girls have been doing this stitch on a straight sewing machine in earlier days. It involves a lot of pivoting, but your earlier passionate sewists who did not have the luxury of a zigzag sewing machine managed to make this beautiful hem finish even then.)

The blind hem stitch needs a stretchable thread on the sewing machine if you are doing the blind hem stitch on a widening hem. If that is not possible, it is better to do it by hand.

How to do blind stitch on a sewing machine

Step 1

Turn your garment wrong side out.

Mark the hems. The first mark is made 1/2 inch from the fabric edge, then 1 inch from the first mark. You will get a final 1″ hem.  

Hem marked on fabric

Step 2

Turn under the first 1/2 inch. Press in place.

Turn under the fabric 1/2 inch to stitch the blind hem stitch

Step 3

Turn under the next 1-inch mark. Press.

Mark and fold at the desired hem line for the blind hem

Step 4

Now fold this hem into the inside of the garment ( which is the right side of the garment) so that 1/8 inch of the fold of the hem extends outside, beyond the newly made fold.

( In case you are hemming a plain fabric, fold the hem edge to the right side of the fabric.) Now you can see only the 1/8 part of the folded hem; the rest is inside the garment.

Pin in place if you want to. Below is the picture of the pant leg wrong side out, with the folded hem inside.

a tiny lip should be jutting out

Step 5

Thread a matching thread on the sewing machine and the bobbin. Place the garment on the sewing machine. 

Select the blind hem stitch. It will look like as in the picture below. 

sewing machine marking for the blind hem stitch symbol.
Blind hem stitch symbol.

Keep the needle aligned on top of the extending edge of hem.

sew the blind hem stitch along the folded edge

The blind hem stitch consists of 5 straight stitches and a zig-zag stitch. Start doing the stitch with the straight stitches falling on the extended hem fold and with the zig-zag stitch just grazing the main fabric, taking one thread there, and then returning to do more straight stitches.

You may have to adjust the stitch width so that only the tip of the zig-zag stitch touches the main fabric on the left. 

Drawing of the blind hem stitch on the inside as you sew.

Finish stitching the whole length of the hem. You will be happy to find the beautiful hem you have just made.

On the inside, there is a line of beautiful blind hem stitch.

How the blind hem stitch looks on the inside.
How to blind hem stitch looks on the inside.

And on the outside invisible stitches ( I am using yellow thread, but if I was using blue thread, you wouldn’t have seen any of the tiny stitches)

Step 6

Press the hem. There will be a fold near the stitches which will go away with the press of a hot iron.

A blind hem presser foot is a sewing machine presser foot which makes the hem stitching more convenient and easier.

Check out the post on Blind hem presser foot.

blind hem presser foot.

How to do blind stitch by hand

Step 1

Follow the above steps till Step 4. Make a similar fold as you have done above with a 1/8 inch projection.

fold the fabric so that 1/8 inch edge projects out to sew the blind hem stitch by hand

Step 2

Thread the sewing needle with a single strand of thread of a matching colour. 

Step 3

After anchoring the knotted thread inside the fold, start stitching by taking one thread width of fabric from the main garment.

use a needle and thread to sew the blind hem stitch

Then take the needle to the hem fold and take a two or three width stitch. Go back to the main garment and take a single thread width stitch. Continue in this fashion.

use small stitches to sew the hand blind stitch sewing

All these stitches are made inside the fold and the garment, hence hidden when you open the fold. Open the fold and press the hem carefully.

the blind hem stitch not showing outside on the hem

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

11 thoughts on “Blind Hem Stitch – by hand and by machine (Step by step tutorial)”

  1. New to sewing myself. Hubby gifted me a Singer Patchwork machine and I’m enjoying learning! He’s requested me take his longsleeve work overalls and make them short sleeve. First attempt I have areas of puckering? Material is mostly demin. Being very careful with folds, pressing in place, and pinning. I dont feel as though I’m pulling? Any suggestions please. Thank you

    Reply
  2. Thank you so much for this tutorial!! I am making a valance for my kitchen and I dreaded hemming it by hand. My machine made fast work of it. Saved me a bunch of time and worked perfectly.

    Reply
  3. Is it possible to do a blind stitch on the side seam of a curtain that includes the lining? When I tried it, the “V” part of the stitch only goes through one layer of curtain fabric so the lining only gets attached to the folded hem and not the layer of the curtain fabric that is visible.

    Reply
    • I used it on a valence with a lining and I it went through both layers. I don’t have any advice as to why it didn’t work for you but just so you know, it can be done. Good luck!

  4. We all know that most women’s blazers do not come with pockets, inside or out. I am attempting to add a patch pocket to the lining inside my blazer. My machine just recently broke and I can’t afford to have it fixed right now so everything will be done by hand. I need to know if the pocket will hang correctly if attached to the liner with a phone in it. Should I stitch or glue the pocket to the jacket? Any suggestions will be appreciated, and I really need the advice pretty fast since the wedding is in 10 days!
    Thank you so much!
    Sharon

    Reply
  5. Thank you SO MUCH! This was incredibly helpful for me! Now I can hem my sons’ pants, and not just fold the cuffs (which never stays). I deeply appreciate your post. Keep up the good work! 🙂

    Reply
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