Tutorial: Narrow Rolled Hem

Sometimes you want a beautifully executed narrow rolled hem. If you have a curved hemline on a circular skirt, or if you are working with fussy, thin or silky fabrics, a narrow rolled hem will give a beautiful finish and add a little body to the hemline, producing that lovely flip of the hem.

I think a narrow rolled hem gives a couture look to a garment. I learned this super easy method that does not involve one of those pesky, hard-to-use Narrow Rolled Hem Feet.

In fact, all that is needed are three passes of a straight stitch plus one trimming and you end up with a beautifully executed hem. Let’s go: Begin by stitching a straight stitch 1/4″ from the edge. Press the stitches to set them. Then roll up the hem along the stitch line, just barely rolling beyond the stitches so that they are just on the inside of the garment. Press as you go. Grab your Edge Stitch Foot-this is a handy guy that I use a lot. Your machine’s foot may look a little different than mine, but they all have a “blade” that snugs up to the fabric to guide your line of stitching. Stitch again, in the same direction as before, using your Edge Stitch Foot. Bop your needle two positions to the left before you stitch. Snug the foot’s blade up to the fold line and let that line guide you. Press. This is what it will look like from the right side after the second pass. After the second stitching, carefully trim away the fabric right up to the second stitching line. Good scissors are imperative here: not your big ole’ honkin’ dressmaker shears, but your precise, sharp 3-4″ scissors, hopefully with a bit of a rounded end . Now for your third pass: roll the hem up again as you stitch a third time. This will be very easy-you have controlled the fabric with your first 2 passes. Leave the needle in the same position as your second pass and stitch again in the same direction. Press. This is what you will have: a perfect, impressive, precise Narrow Rolled Hem! This works beautifully even on fabrics with a high FAL (Fabric Annoyance Level-my made up term!) like silk charmeuse or something flimsy like chiffon. Try it!


  1. jennyklyon says

    I know there are ways to make the foot easier-I have not mastered them either. I think by the time you get it to feed well through the foot, you could be done with the easy 3-pass method. Then there is the question of getting a continuous line with the foot-you gotta end and begin someplace.

  2. jennyklyon says

    It’s been out there since dirt was new I think. For me sometimes, it’s “new” again when I rediscover a technique.

  3. says

    This is the best way I’ve ever seen to do a narrow hem. I have never been able to use that foot and I’ve had one with every machine I’ve had for the past 45 years! Thanks a bunch for showing us this one!

  4. says

    You know, I have several of the rolled hem feet for my Bernina, and I have trouble with them, too. I thought the whole point of having special presser feet was to make something EASIER. I didn’t even know there WAS a way to do a rolled hem without the goofy waffle cone feet. I’m going to try this next time — thanks!

    • jennyklyon says

      There are tricks to make using the rolled hem foot and if thy work, it’s a single pass instead of the 3 I talk about here. But the problem for me has always been this: so I get good at the rolled hem foot, but how do I finish the joining of the beginning and the end or do corners? No matter what, you will always have that issue with the foot.

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