Working with sheer fabrics takes considerable skill, especially when sewing them. Hemming curtains or drapes with a sewing machine can be a tricky job and doing so successfully requires patience and precision. Learning the basics of how to hem sheer curtains with a sewing machine is an important skill for any sewist. This article explains the process of hemming sheer curtains for a sewing machine project.
To begin with, gather the tools and materials needed for the task. Depending on the type of fabric and pattern, the specific tools needed will vary, but these usually include a measuring tape, scissors, pins, thread, and a sewing machine. Additionally, if the pattern of the sheer curtain requires an invisible hem, additional supplies such as an edge stay tape and liquid stitch may be required.
Once the supplies are collected, examine the sheer fabric to determine the type of hem best suited to it. If the fabric is delicate and stretchy, like chiffon or georgette, an invisible hem can offer the most finesse. However, a plain hem can also be used for lightweight fabrics. A rolled hem is a good choice for heavier fabrics, such as dupioni silk.
Once the size and type of hem is identified, measure the fabric accurately to calculate the hem allowance. Generally, the standard hem allowance is 3”. If the fabric is lacy or fluted, the hem allowance should be increased to 4”. After the hem allowance is determined, the fabric should be cut using scissors.
Once the fabric is cut, pin the sides of the fabric together so that the raw edges meet. The pinned fabric should then be positioned under the sewing machine foot. Make sure the pins are facing away from the needle, as pins can hinder the machine from sliding the fabric underneath.
Begin sewing by using a straight stitch and increasing the stitch allowance as needed. As you advance, keep the fabric taut and ensure that the stitches are even and consistent. Take your time and pay attention to the fabric. Move the fabric forward as you sew and make sure the fabric is rolled evenly near the hem.
Once the bottom of the fabric has been sewn, use a blind hem stitch or a zigzag stitch to finish the seam. For a more superior finish, apply an edge stay tape before stitching, which will give the hem an invisible finish. Place the edge stay tape along the pinned edge to ensure that the hem is even, and then sewing machine the tape into the fabric. Finally, use liquid stitch to make sure that the fabric does not fray.
Tips for Sewing Sheer Curtains
Sewing sheer curtains on a sewing machine may be challenging, particularly for beginners. Even experienced sewists may find it daunting, as making an even and precise hem requires a great deal of patience and skill. For best results, use these tips to make sure the finished product looks professional.
- Use a sturdy and stable sewing machine. An older machine can produce inconsistent stitch length, which can ruin the finished product. Ensure that the machine is serviced regularly for best results.
- Take extra care when cutting the fabric. One mistake made in this step can cause the fabric to be misaligned along the hem.
- Pin the fabric carefully. Take time to position the fabric correctly, as this will make all the difference in the finished product.
- Use the correct settings on the machine. Most sheer fabric requires a straight stitch with a long stitch length, however for very delicate fabrics, a zigzag stitch should be used.
- Press the seams to make sure they lay flat. Use a hot iron to press the seams, but never iron the fabric directly, as this can damage the fabric.
Troubleshooting Common Problems
When sewing sheer fabric on a sewing machine, the most common issues include fabric bunching and the letting out of fabric. Fabric bunching can occur if the machine is not suitable for the project, or the fabric is not placed correctly. If this happens, carefully unpick the stitches and start again. To avoid letting out of fabric, use an appropriate number of pins and start from the middle of the hem, working outwards as you go.
Another issue that may arise is that the fabric may fray easily. To avoid this, use a serger machine to finish the seams. If a serger machine is not available, a fray check product can be used, which will prevent the fabric from fraying.
When sewing sheer fabric on a sewing machine, it is important to finish seams to prevent fraying. Overlock finishing is one of the most popular techniques used on sheer fabrics as it helps to hold the fabric together and it eliminates the need to finish the seams with a hem. To use this technique, set up the sewing machine with an overlock stitch. Place the fabric under the machine with the right side up and sew the seam, making sure to adjust the tension as needed.
Following the stitch pattern, sew the fabric slowly and carefully. As you sew, press down lightly on the fabric to help hold it in place. When the entire seam is complete, adjust the tension on the overlock stitch again to ensure that it is even and consistent. Finally, trim the excess seam allowance with a pair of sharp scissors to ensure a neat finish.
Tools to Make Hemming Easier
There are a range of tools that make hemming curtains with a sewing machine easier. The most popular of these include a foot hemmer, which attaches to the machine foot and helps to keep the fabric in place while sewing, and a double fold bias tape foot, which is used to attach bias tape to sheer fabric. Additionally, a walking presser foot is a great tool to have as it helps to create even seams on sheer fabrics.
In addition to these tools, measuring tools such as rulers and measuring tapes are also useful for making accurate measurements, and a marking pen can be used to mark fabric for a precise cut. Ultimately, no matter which tools are used, the key to successful hemming of sheer curtains with a sewing machine is accuracy and precision.
Hemming sheer curtains with a sewing machine is one of the most complex projects a sewist can undertake. Despite the complexity, however, mastering this skill can add a professional finish to any sheer curtain. In order to achieve success with this project, a few key tips should be kept in mind: use a sturdy and reliable sewing machine and take extra care when measuring and cutting fabric. Additionally, consider investing in specialized tools, such as a foot hemmer or a walking presser foot, and use an appropriate stitch pattern for the fabric being used. With careful execution and the right combination of tools and techniques, anyone can master the daunting task of hemming sheer curtains with a sewing machine.