Summer Dress: humming while hemming

I’m hemming and I quite like it. It’s really calming, especially the pressing and the pinning. I’m doing lots of pressing as this will make it so much easier. I found a good tutorial here about the different hems and how to press.

Yesterday I had the length of my dress made level with help of a husband. I stood straight and he kneeled and put pins in the dress at the height of a piece of tape that we cleverly put on a carton roll used to transport car wipers in. Anything vertical that will stand on its own will do. We had it all figured out. Except I forgot this is my husband: he did not pin at the piece of tape but half a centimeter above it. “Because I thought that would be more practical”. Says the man who has never sewed anything knows how to attach a button on a shirt.

Either way, level is level. I cut the fabric (half a centimeter below where the pins were) and now I’m ready to make a hem.

I opted for a hem that’s 2 cm wide (4/5th of an inch).

For this I folded the edge once, at 1,8 cm and I pressed it. I took care to only press the fold, I left the raw edge alone. This has the benefit of not leaving a print in the underlying fabric. And it won’t stretch the fabric. And it establishes a habit so I won’t press the upper edge next time either. When it really matters.

I then folded again, this time at precisely 2 cm:
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look how handy a press board is: just stick the pins in it and your fabric stays where it should be while you press the lower fold:
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Nice and crisp. Again, I did not press the top fold. That was pressed before turning up.

Now it has freedom of movement and it shows the extra fabric it has, compared to the fold that I just pressed:

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It’s logical that it has extra fabric because the lower end of the skirt is wider than the top. If you fold it over you get excess fabric.
This is an excellent preparation for stitching a blind hem by hand. By not pressing the upper fold it didn’t get a change to leave a print in the right side of the fashion fabric.
By pressing the first fold I now have a clear edge I can use as the base for a blind stitch.
By not pressing the first fold while pressing the second fold I now have given myself freedom to deal with that extra fabric while blind stitching the hem. I can gather it anywhere I like.

Look, even the French seams come in handy here:
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I can attach the now pressed hem to the inner part of the seam, without touching the right side of the fashion fabric at all.
This way I can transport the dress to wherever I fancy to do the handstitching. Maybe outside in the garden. Or in another city.

But, as it turns out, I do not have the desire to spend more zennnn-time handstitching this dress. I want it finished. And as this is not a fancy smancy fabric like silk or jacquard I am fine with simple topstitching. It will show on the right side and I would not do this in a high end couture fabric or fancy vintage dress pattern. But this is my Summer Dress, in cheery cotton. And I want it finished. Three good reasons to go with top stitching.

If I can just find a way to handle the extra fabric in the hem… Let’s try:

Here I am stitching from the inside, close to the fold. Every now and then I gather the extra fabric from the folded fabric into a little crease. You can see one coming up about a centimeter before the French seam:
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I just stitch over it.

After stitching the whole hem this is how the inside now looks. Here you see two creases to gather the extra fabric:
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One left of the seam, the other on the right, about 3/4th of the width of the picture.

looks alright from the outside too:
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not too much change in angle.

Ofcourse, they didn’t went well all the time:
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Too harsh a fold, angle change visible from the right side:
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The French Seams also presented a bit of a problem that’s visible from the right side:
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They were too bulky for my machine, I had to coax it over it. Loosing stitches. There’s a float there.

Oh well. In knitting we have a saying: “if pedestrians don’t notice the mistake while you’re galloping past on a horse, you shouldn’t worry about it either.”

So I’m not worrying. Because this dress is not about the hem. Or the neckline (which I did not get right). It is about the fit which I am very happy with.

Just let me attach the inner lining to the dress and then I think I’m finished. Pictures!

ahum. Still need to secure some more threads that are dangling about. I’ll do that after the lining and pictures. I’ll just gallop around if need be.

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