Well sewers, this is it. We're talking penultimate post here. And I'm not talking about Royal Mail. I mean this is the second-to-last tutorial post for the Zinnia Sewalong! And our subject is the hem of your skirt. We'll follow it up soon after with another post on buttons and buttonholes, so don't wory if you haven't done those yet.
When it comes to the hem, Colette’s pattern instructions are the same for all three versions of the Zinnia Skirt. But just to spice things up a little, we decided to embellish our Version 2 with a lace trim. The basic idea is the same, but the lace is basted on before applying the final stitch to the hem. We’ve provided instructions below for both the simple Version 1 and the embellished Version 2.
Version 1 - The Simple Hem
STEP 1 – Our hem will be done to a 5/8” hem allowance, which will be the sum total of two folds: a ¼” fold and a 3/8” fold.
The first step is to fold your hem under by ¼” and press. Check the accuracy of your fold along the entire length of your hem using a seam guage.
STEP 2 – Now fold over again, so that the first fold is concealed inside the second; this time you’re going to fold by 3/8”. Press them hem, pinning as you go and checking it with a seam gauge. Pin the entire length of your hem.
STEP 3 - With the wrong side of your skirt facing up, stitch the hem permanently in place at 1/8" from the first fold. Start at the front left end of your skirt and make your way all the way to the other end of the hem. It's worthwhile taking your time with this stitch to give your hem a nice finish.
The photograph below shows the finished hem for Version 1.
Version 2 - The Lace Embellished Hem
The instructions for a hem with lace are very similar to the Version 1 instructions. The main difference is that a length of lace is basted onto the hem prior to making the final stitch.
If you've decided to add lace also, but you're not sure what length you need, have a look at the back of the pattern envelope, under the heading FINISHED GARMET (INCHES). Whatever length is given for the 'hem' measurement is the length of lace you will need. But you should add at least a couple of inches for the overlap at the back seam. So for Naomi's size 8 skirt, the chart on the pattern envelope says 88 inches, but we've cut our lace to 90 inches initially.
STEP 1 - For a fuller explanation, have a look at steps 1 and 2 for Version 1 hem. The main edit for this embellished version is that we are not going to pin the hem in place as we press the second fold.
Fold your hem under by ¼” and press. Check your fold using a seam gauge. Then make the second fold at 3/8" and press again.
STEP 2 - As with Version 1, we're going to pin the hem. But this time, we're also pinning the lace to the hem at the same time. Notice in the picture below that the top edge of my lace sits just inside the first fold line, at 1/8".
You may also notice in this photo that I've pinned it from the right side of the skirt. This was definitely the harder way to do it, and I would recommend pinning from the wrong side, so that you can clearly see your lace. This also makes it easier to remove your pins when you start basting.
STEP 3 - Hand tack your lace to your hem. Your stitch should go through the lace and all the layers of the hem so that it is also holding the hem closed. The image below shows the basting stitch from both sides. Also check that your seam allowances of the side seams are folded in the right direction at the hem, If you have side seam pockets they should be pressed towards the front. If you don't have side seam pockets you can press them towards the back.
STEP 4 - If you're applying a lace embellishment to your hem, you want the lace to appear seamless. At the back seam of your skirt leave a short length of the lace un-basted. Then cut this length so that the lace pattern matches when you lay this length over the other end.
At this point I've also applied a little fray check to my lace. This is a colourless adhesive that binds the ends of the fabric and helps prevent it from fraying.
STEP 5 - Once you're happy that your lace matches, pin it in place on your skirt. Then hand stitch the ends of your lace together using a thread that matches colour-wise. And with the lace still pinned in place, finish basting it to your hem at 1/8" below the fold.
STEP 6 - You're now ready to machine stitch your hem. Do this from the right side of the fabric at a scant 3/8" seam allowance (that's half-way between 1/4" and 3/8"). Fortunately for me, my regular foot is pretty much exactly a scant 3/8" from the needle to the outside edge. So I can line the edge of the foot up with the edge of hem. But if your foot is not these dimensions, find another visual cue in order to keep a straight line. The important thing is that, on the wrong side of the skirt, your stitch should be coming through at 1/8" below the second fold line.
Also notice from the image that I'm unpicking my basting stitch as I go along. This is just so that I don't accidentally sew on top of it and make it difficult to unpick later.
Below you can see our finished hem for Version 2. Lovely!