How to Sew a Narrow Hem: On-Set Tailoring Tips

Here’s what I call trade secrets. These are tips & tricks that we use to get the job done.

Majority of my sewing gigs I am rushing against a clock . . . I need to create beautiful alterations in record-breaking time.

Today I want to show you a trick that I use to shorten a button-down dress shirt using a piece of Buckram to sew a narrow hem.  This trick is definitely something you can use in your everyday sewing.  

Materials to Sew a Narrow Hem:

  • Ruler or measuring tape
  • Marking pencil or chalk
  • 1 yard of tightly woven Buckram or BanRol tape 1-1 1/2″ Wide
  • Sewing machine (I’m using the BERNINA 480)

Prep your Buckram to Sew a Narrow Hem:

Buckram comes tightly woven.  You will need to use a straight pin or needle to expose the teeth.  Start at the edge & pull the strings away from the buckram.  The average tooth exposure is about 10 strings.  If your sewing a larger hem pull more threads.

Step 1: Mark Your Cut Line  

Make sure you leave enough to sew your hem, for instance if you are shortening 1 3/4″ & your hem is 1/4″  cut  1 1/4″

Sew a Narrow Hem
Step 2: Cut Along Your Markings

Step 3:  Place Your Buckram Over Your Hemline

Line the loose tooth edge. Straight stitch 

Sew a Narrow Hem

Step 4: Flip Your Shirt Over Enveloping the Buckram in the Fabric Creating the Hem

Edge stitch.

Step 5:  Remove the Buckram & Press 

Sew a Narrow Hem

You’re finished! You now have a beautiful narrow hem.  

Happy stitching!!!

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