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Nerdy sewing tips - rolled hem tutorial

With just a little practice, a rolled hem can give the neatest and most professional of finishes in the shortest time. Especially useful for hemming circle skirts, and especially convenient at the end of a long project when all that's left is the hem and you really just want to get it done now and there's no way you can be bothered to blindstitch by hand but you still want a perfect finish...! Quick and slick.

You will need:

  • a rolled hem foot for your sewing machine
  • tweezers

Top tip #1: Rolled hems work best on light-medium weight woven fabrics such as cotton, voile, silks, crepe, twill, wool suiting etc. Rolled hems can also be used on knits, just be sure to use a wider stitch and be careful not to let the fabric stretch too much as it is fed through the scroll on the rolled hem foot.

Top tip #2: Avoid using a rolled hem on necklines and armholes - the nature of the rolled hem creates a subtle wave to the fabric which although pretty on the hem of a skirt, would only make for a misshapen finish to necklines and armholes.

Step 1

Using the width of your rolled hem foot as a guide, finger press the starting point of your hem in twice by about 5mm.

Step 2

Using your sewing machine as normal (ie ignoring the scroll on your rolled hem foot), stitch for a cm or 2 to anchor down the starting point of your hem. Leave the needle securely down in the fabric before moving on to Step 2.

Step 3

Use a pair of tweezers, or a tailors awl (or anything sharp and poky really) to ease the hem edge of your fabric into the scroll of the rolled hem foot. This part can be pretty fiddly but it's important to get it right so that as you feed it through the hem gets turned neatly in on itself.

Step 4

Stitch the hem slowly, using your fingers to ease and guide the fabric through the scroll.

And there you have it! A perfectly neat and dinky hem, done in less time than it takes to fold, press and stitch a regular hem! This technique does require a little practice, mainly just to get the hang of feeding the fabric through the scroll, so we definitely recommend you have a go on some scrap fabric before hemming your actual garment!

Comments on this post (10)

  • Apr 11, 2014

    Hi Christina,

    No magic formula here I’m afraid…. Just a case of making sure the side seams are pressed open and going slowly!

    — Charlotte Hintzen

  • Apr 10, 2014


    Great tips, but how do you hem over a side seam? My fabric just keeps getting stuck and unrolls at that point!

    — Christina

  • Aug 19, 2012

    Oh my god woweee thank you!!!! Never had an award before!! Just had a look at your post and which one of the 3 do we add to our blog?

    SO EXCITING thank you!!!!! :) :) :)


    — byhandlondon

  • Aug 19, 2012

    I nominated you for all three, so I guess you add all of them! You’re so welcome =D

    — 7cakes

  • Aug 19, 2012

    Holy guacamole, triple thanks!!! xxx

    — byhandlondon

  • Aug 15, 2012

    Ma quel pezzo per lamacchina da cucire dove si trova? Ciao

    — Ottavia

  • Aug 16, 2012

    Otta!! Quel pezzo si dovrebbe trovare a qualsiasi haberdashery… Se no, eBay! xxx

    — byhandlondon

  • Aug 18, 2012

    What a great tutorial! Just wanted to let you know that I nominated your blog for a couple awards!

    — 7cakes

  • Aug 15, 2012

    Hi, thanks for the nice and very clear tutorial, I’ve never done this before, but I want to – just wondering why you need to do the normal stitch thing in the beginning? You can’t just roll the whole thing?

    — Kat

  • Aug 15, 2012

    The reason we anchor it down at the start is because it can be quite fiddly to get the fabric into the scroll, so if it hasn’t been stitched into place first, the whole thing just keeps slipping out from under the foot and it can get VERY frustrating!! Hope this helps!! x

    — byhandlondon

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