Rolled hems – some tips

rhubarb silk topThe rolled hem, was something I really wanted to master. Here are a few of the things I found useful, if you want to use a rolled hem foot on your regular sewing machine.

I love sewing with silk and really want to tackle a chiffon kimono with some silk I’ve had in my stash for some time. A fine rolled hem would really be the go. Have a look at this divine chiffon from Tessuti. Close up of silk chiffon

Rolled hems can be done on an overlocker/serger and they can be done by hand. I really wanted use the rolled hem foot on my sewing machine. In theory the rolled hem foot makes a lovely narrow hem, in one step with no need for ironing. Ironing a narrow hem can be difficult and it’s easy to burn your fingers. The rolled hem foot for a regular machine has a roll or a curl that you feed the fabric through. It makes a very narrow hem, two folds, that you stitch in one step.

Some bloggers found the rolled hem foot the best thing ever, others think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Between Stephanie at Totally Stitchin By Hand London’s (BHL) nerdy sewing tips and some trial and error, I learnt a lot:

  • a wide foot is easier to use than a narrow one. (I found the 4mm foot much easier than the 2mm one. The measurement is the width of the final hem).
  • do use the iron to turn up one fold, don’t worry if it doesn’t hold really well. (This was Stephanie’s tip, the only place I’ve seen it and for me it made all the difference.)
  • to start a hem and to cross seams, leave the needle in the fabric, but take the fabric out of the foot roll and sew using the foot as you would using an ordinary foot. (This was the BHL tip, and a good one because you really need to be able to cross seams if you’re hemming garments.)

Have a look at these hems on white linen and red silk. Next stop chiffon, woo hoo!

Right side of rolled hem on white linen

Right side of rolled hem on white linen

Wrong side of rolled hem on white linen

Wrong side of rolled hem on white linen

Wrong side of rolled hem on red silk satin

Wrong side of rolled hem on red silk satin


Right side of rolled hem on red silk

Right side of rolled hem on red silk

Here it is, step by step, with the silk chiffon.


Turn and press a tiny hem, one fold. Or it can be easier to turn a 1 inch hem and trim it.


Attach the rolled hem foot, this one is 4mm


Pin the first cm or two, place under the foot, remove the pin and stitch without feeding the fabric through the rolled part of the foot, so as you would use a normal foot.


Leave the needle in the fabric, lift the foot and feed the fabric into the roll. I use bent tweezers.


Lower the food and feed the fabric through the roll while stitching.

Wrong side of the rolled hem on silk chiffon.

Right side of the rolled hem on silk chiffon.
















































Here is my silk top with the rolled hem (and the Cordova Jacket), out and about in marvelous Melbourne on the weekend. The top is bias cut, self-drafted. It’s a little shorter than I really wanted. That’s because I used trial and error on the garment and not scraps of the silk – I’d recommend testing on scraps!





The rolled hem works for fine fabric. As well as on tops (and soon hopefully the kimono) the rolled hem is perfect for scarves, table napkins and tea towels. The white linen, red silk and blue silk chiffon are all from Tessuti. The red is actually called ‘rhubarb’, how wonderful.

Hope you found these tips useful and if you have any other tips please let me know.

I’ve linked this post up at Sewing Saturdays where you can see what lots of others have been sewing.


12 thoughts on “Rolled hems – some tips

  1. I’ve tried that darn rolled hem foot I don’t know HOW many times and it either slips out or somehow I lose track of how much is getting into the hem and it ends up with too much fabric (hard to explain!). I have a hemming foot for my coverstitch machine that I’m going to try next but I’ll use some of your tips here before I do. Iron the first fold first and sew a couple of stitches to get it started. I saw another finish on silk that I really liked where you sew a straight stitch 1/8 in from edge then iron that up just inside the seam then do a narrow zig zag OFF the edge with the 1/8 seam right in the middle of the foot. Then you trim the excess. I don’t know if this makes sense – it’s actually rather difficult to describe a sewing technique!


    • It does make sense, sounds good and it is so hard to explain. Good luck they are frustrating things to do but beautiful when they work. I now think maybe doing it by hand is the answer.


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  6. Thanks for posting this. I tried my rolled hem foot for the first time recently and the part I had trouble with was keeping it even. Your tip about ironing up the first fold should help with that I think. Thanks again.


  7. HI Barbara,
    I love reading your blogs. I too was in Melbourne a few weeks ago and went to Tessuti also. I now have two lengths of beautifuls silks in the cupboard which I think might take me quite a few months to get up the courage to sew. Congratulations on your rolled hems and thanks for all your tips. Rose


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