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
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.
Turn under the first 1/2 inch. Press in place.
Turn under the next 1-inch mark. Press.
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.
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.
Keep the needle aligned on top of the extending edge of hem.
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.
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.
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)
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.
How to do blind stitch by hand
Follow the above steps till Step 4. Make a similar fold as you have done above with a 1/8 inch projection.
Thread the sewing needle with a single strand of thread of a matching colour.
After anchoring the knotted thread inside the fold, start stitching by taking one thread width of fabric from the main garment.
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.
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.