Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to make a mitered hem - tutorial

*The tutorial for the mitered hem can be used with napkins, tablecloths, or on any project where you want your hem to look great on the corner.*

Today I made the crib skirt for the pink and grey nursery set and I thought I would pass on a few steps often not included in commercial patterns.  The first is to miter your hem corners on the skirt sides rather than just turning in the side and bottom hem allowances and hemming. 

A mitered hem makes the edges crisp and gives a professional look.  The secret is the bulk is trimmed away allowing the corner to be smooth and hang straight.

In these directions I am using a total of a 1 1/2" hem on the sides and bottom of each skirt side.  Press under 1/2" and then an additional 1" hem on each side you are hemming.  At each corner, open  the hem allowances.  Fold the right sides of the fabric together to form the following triangle:

You will be sewing a 90 degree angle from the point were you turned under your 1" hem to the 1/2" hem point.  Sew a seam between these two points.
Once you've sewn your seam, trim the seam allowance to 1/4" and cut the point at an angle.
Finger press the seam allowance open.
Turn right side out with the 1/2" seam allowance on the edge turned under.  I'm using a metal Dritz hem gauge with my steam iron  to get a crisp edge when pressing.
To sew down the hem, I used my blindstitch foot with my needle to the left.
This is the inside of the mitered corner.  Sure is nice not to have bulky crooked corners!  The blindstitch foot does a great job.
Once the side panels are attacked to the main piece, I serge or finish off the seam.  Then I press the seam towards the body of the skirt base.

The next trick is I get out my blindstitch foot again and use it to put a row of stay stitching along the seam.  Stay stitching is just important in home dec sewing as it is in sewing apparel.  Just like you don't want your facing to flip up at your neckline, you don't want the seam flipping around when the skirt is washed.
Just a few extra seams will give professional results to your project.


  1. Wow Patricia you sure know what you're doing!
    Were you a sewing teacher in a past life?

    1. I think in a past life I was a maid :) Hence my former handle, Handmaiden. There are better ways to doing many sewing applications and patterns aren't the source for learning. I think examining a well made garment or piece of home dec will give the home sewer plenty of ideas of how to make their own sewing look as professionally constructed. SEW Chris, what were you in a past life?

    2. I am a drop-out from school teaching way back in the 70s and here I am now teaching!
      I was also a librarian and loved it but what I do now is the best.

    3. Oh, what I did previously in this life, not if I bungled up my Karma and had to have chunky legs in this life. Well, I have a strange tale. I was a stay-at-home mom and went back to school when my youngest (I have four kids) was in HS. I have my masters in Museum Studies and I worked as a curator. Currently, I volunteer at a local historical society as well as work doing all the word processing for my husband's office. He pays me with a cup of coffee when I come in to work. I spent years volunteering in the schools when my kids were young. I taught quilting at a local quilt shop to quell my insatiable love of sewing - didn't work. I've worked as a bill collector, library assistant, and even as a salad preparer at a hotel when I was a kid. When I graduated from HS I told everyone I was going to be a garbage collector, and hold on to your hats......I just about am now being a picker.

  2. Replies
    1. You're very kind to say this. I find you quite amazing!