Hemmer foot is one of my favourite presser feet – it is a time saver when I have to finish hems and edges in one go for a long length of fabric strips – imagine pressing and sewing 5 meters of fabric edge for a double sided ruffle! Yes, my hemmer foot is a gem among the many presser feet that I have.
The hemmer foot has a small curl inside that takes in fabric and spits out perfectly rolled fabric edges. It can make small straight stitched baby hems as well rolled zig zag stitched edges – both good enough fabric edge finishes
Most of the time you get this presser foot when you buy the sewing machine – I have a rolled hemmer foot which can be snapped on to the sewing machine – my old singer has one which attaches with a screw.
For quick stitching of edges in scarves and skirts and handkerchiefs nothing like a rolled hemming foot; It is a great edge finish when sewing with lightweight fabric. Turning under the hem twice is difficult with some fabric and results in wonky hems – so hemmer foot is there for your rescue. Cotton lawn, chiffon, Georgette – all perfect candidates for going into the swirly hoop of the rolled hemmer foot. It saves you time and loads of frustrations.
Sometimes this foot frustrates me, especially when sewing thin fabric like Georgette – but for crispy fabrics which are also lightweight this foot creates a neat and narrow hem. For thin synthetic fabrics I have found that zig zag rolled hem works better.
There is a variation of this foot – it looks identical to the hemmer foot but creates a different effect – that of a flat hem – the difference being that the small groove on the back of the foot is absent in the flat beading foot . You can see it in the picture below.
Settings for rolled hemmer foot
You can use straight stitches or a small zigzag stitch for the rolled hem. The zig zag stitch creates a real rolled hem. The straight stitch creates a baby hem.
Both are sewn the same way but the settings are different. Obviously, for zig zag edge you need to change the straight stitching to zig zag settings. You also need to change the stitch width and length.
The settings below worked for me. You will have to experiment with your machine and a fabric scrap to arrive at your optimal setting.
Setting for straight stitch
Stitch length – 2
Stitch width – select the appropriate width so that the needle is slightly to the right. It should be close to the left edge of the turned under hem. You can adjust the setting on your machine by moving the stitch width selector in your machine and the needle will move to where you want.
Setting for rolled hem stitch
Stitch length – 2
Stitch width – 4
How to sew with the hemmer foot
Do not be in a hurry. Take it slow especially when starting the stitch. If you are unsure operate the machine by turning the hand wheel for the first few stitches.
Cut the fabric edge straight – hope you have nice sharp scissors
Mine feels as if it has inherited rat’s teeth.
Turn under the fabric edge twice – each 1/8 inch. – this is the first marking on the inch in your tape measure. It is essential that the raw edge is enclosed in the fold of fabric.
Finger press the first few inches.
Lower the presser foot
Start stitching. Stitch first 2 stitches without the fabric fold inside the roll of the foot. After this done, take the presser foot lever up, and keep the needle down.
Take the turned under edge inside the hemmer foot. Put the presser foot down. Start stitching again. continue to guide the fabric edge to the inside of the roll ( twirl) of the foot.
When starting from a corner ( this is a problem for many) it is difficult to feed the fabric into the hemmer foot. Other than starting with the 2-3 simple small stitches before starting the roll, You can use your hands to manipulate – Hold on to the thread from the needle and bobbin to the back and manipulate so that the edge is inside the foot twirl.
Ensure that the edge of the outer fold of fabric is in line with the guide of the foot.
Do not stretch the fabric – gently guide the fabric by holding the rolled edge some 3 inch from the needle all the time.
How to turn a corner with the hemmer foot
When you reach a corner, you cannot pivot as you do for straight stitch. Continue sewing the whole side. Cut off the thread.
Then turn the fabric and start the corner anew. Turn the edge diagonally slightly to the inside like the diagram.
Now turn the edge as usual and stitch as described earlier. Remember to make the first few stitches straight without inserting the fold into the roll of the foot. This will create a mitered effect.
Do the same when you end the hemming of a square piece of fabric and reach starting point. Fold the corner diagonally and end the stitching when you reach 1 inch from the corner without the roll.