Rolled hems account for 75% of the hems I sew. They look scary if you’re not familiar with how to do them, but they really are easy if you follow these steps:
1. For my hem foot, I allow a 5/8” seam allowance – give or take. I don’t take exact measurements for the 15 yards of chiffon hem in a typical prom dress, plus the one or two underskirts on each. After a few times doing it, you’ll be able to eyeball the distance.
2. Fold over the edge of your fabric, place under your rolled hem foot, and set your stitch to basting length (about 4mm). Stitch a few inches; don’t worry about back-tacking. As you move along, the folded edge will move itself into the hem foot.
3. Check your tension and adjust if necessary. I usually have to loosen the tension for chiffon, acetate linings, and cheap satins. Heavy satins and silks will take a middle-range tension setting.
4. Continue sewing by lightly folding the fabric over as you feed it into the rolled hem foot. I usually use my left hand to keep the skirt fabric straight, otherwise it tends to pucker. Also, you’ll notice some parts of the fabric will roll beautifully, then the grain will change, and it’ll pop out. Frustrating, I know, but don’t worry about it. Just sew that hem no matter how ugly it looks on the wrong side.
5. Stop just short of seams, lift up the presser foot, and free the fabric. Just fold it over for the seam, and let the presser foot go over the top. Experience tells me the seam will get caught in the narrow part of the foot, and you’ll say words you shouldn’t as you try to free that fabric.
6. Here’s the magic step: when you reach your start point, go around again, remembering to baby it over the seams. It looks perfect from the right side, and the wrong side folds again to hide those raw edges that popped out the first time around.