Happy New Year and Hems

Ever since Jan 1st rolled around, the phone has not stopped ringing with folks needing new hems, dropped hems and bridal hems but first let’s start with my red coat hem.

Since it was cut with only a seam allowance, yes Mrs. Mole forgot to add a deep hem, there is a technique I use that works to add weight and make it sturdy for sitting down and not having it droop or bag out. First, I use my favorite fusible 3 inch wide interfacing from hem edge to 2.5 inch up into the coat. Then I attach a strip of lining fabric and fold it under to be double which creates a nice smooth top edge to attach.

17-hem-facing 16-hem-facing

Then the coat lining is attached to that top edge and allowed to bag down.

This technique is also good on pants that need to be lengthened. This week a gal brought in 2 pair, both brand new but one was already tackled by another seamstress. Once the hem was let down to the lowest point she had simply attached a narrow strip of rayon hem facing and it was falling apart with no stability. I replaced it with another wider strip of polyester lining fabric. A wider strip allows your pant hem to glide over your shoes instead of catching. navy-hem You can see the understitching which helps hold everything to the inside. Another pair were plaid and needed the same technique:plaid-hem This time I used Ambiance rayon lining as they will be dry cleaned being a wool blend. These pants also needed a full 2 inches let out in the waistband…OH NO! Who wants to do that? Well I got lucky as the front flap was 1 inch away from the zipper edge and the back flap could adjust to an added piece. I was able to just open the waistband up to the first belt loop, borrow one inch from the center pleats and slide everything forward including the lining. Then just sew up the old button hole, attach the button and make a new buttonhole and voila’ …pants that fit!plaid-frontplaid-waistband

The final hem is a real challenge time-wise. What do you do when your bride needs her dress shortened 8 inches and the hem edge is scalloped lace edging sewn unto chiffon? Well, every single short cotton stitch must be removed from the back as the front is sewn with invisible thread. 2-back-of-chiffon

The chiffon will be shortened and all this lace edging will be pinned on, hand basted and then machine stitched just as the original…invisible on top, cotton or polyester on the back. Here we have 3 yards…108 inches of toil and trouble and labor!1-edging-removed

Wishing all your hemming jobs this week will be simple!!!

Best wishes for a very happy and productive New Year and if you need inspiration check out  the Jungle January over at Pretty Grievances!

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27 Responses to Happy New Year and Hems

  1. Sewbussted says:

    Lace hems, a good reminder for why I no longer work with brides 😉 you are a saint!
    Happy New Year!

  2. mrsmole says:

    Hey Rhonda…are you sure you don’t miss the drama? Didn’t the brides tell you they envied you working in such a “glamorous” profession? That’s what I hear every day….wrestling with 10 pound white satin and chiffon alligators under the presser foot sure is hard work!

  3. I’m making a couple of pairs of pants because it’s so dang cold here on the East Coast and I’m stealing that ambiance rayon lining technique for my pants. I always have a problem with the pants hanging nicely over my heels and I think this will solve the problem!

  4. mrsmole says:

    Oh Carolyn, you are such a master wardrobe creator!!! Best of luck with your pants and yes a deeper cleaner hem works great over bulky or buckled winter shoes and boots. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. BeaJay says:

    Thanks for the great tips and techniques. Happy New Year to you too Mrs Mole

  6. Bunny says:

    Great tips, Ms. Mole, as always. You are such a master.

    • mrsmole says:

      I think the difference is I have to tackle RTW and make it look like Grandma didn’t have her way with the garment. It has to look like the original if it can. For those of us who are done growing, hemming pants with wide strips is so slick. Thanks for dropping by, Bunny!

  7. theresa says:

    Well how clever is that! Thank you for the great hemming trick/tip. I’m bookmarking this one for sure. Happy New Year to you and Mr. Mole!

  8. mrsmole says:

    Hi Theresa, yes this trick works for all sorts of applications…even on coats for fathers or vests…you never know!

  9. prttynpnk says:

    I swear I end up printing your posts and logging them as reference you are my Encyclopedia Moletannica!!!

  10. mrsmole says:

    Happy to oblige, Anne! I have PDFs of some many tips and tricks I have gleaned from the internet too!

  11. Lynn says:

    I was just wondering how to hem a wool coat and now I know. Thank you! I do have a question though, you said the interfacing went 2.5 inches into the coat. Was the remaining half inch cut off, or was it folded over at the hem? And one more question, does bemberg dry clean better than poly for the pants hem? Just wondering why the change. Thank you for your blog. I do not envy you the unpicking of that lace.

  12. mrsmole says:

    The 1/2 inch was fused to the 1/2 seam allowance and the rest 2.5 inches was fused up on the coat. I like to have that interfacing in the fold of the hem. I used polyester lining because those navy pants were machine washable, the rayon bemberg/Ambiance is normally dry cleaned and those pants were wool. Thanks for asking, Lynn…not a lot of blogs show the guts of hems and some never interface them and wonder why they sag and look sad after a few wearings. Think of the abuse of sitting and sliding and driving with your butt…we need to protect that back hem!

  13. Good old false hems saved my ass many times, mrs. Mole! 🙂

    • mrsmole says:

      I’m sure you were used to them as a child too to get a little more wear out of a skirt or pants. They were standard “hand-me-down” features in families in the 50’s…I remember seeing them all the time! Nice to see you back from your holidays, Lena!

  14. Elle C says:

    Nice to have you back after Christmas. I love your blog and your incredibly great solutions. .

    However, when one (don’t you love referring to yourself in the third person?) arises at a ridiculous hour (3:30) , it takes one some time to actually understand what on earth you are talking about. Like 15 minutes. Then one finally gets it and feels stupid. 8-D

  15. mrsmole says:

    Oh Laurie, I’m up at 3:30 or 4 am every morning and sewing handwork so I really don’t have to think too much…ha ha. “One” simply cannot sleep through the night with one’s sewing room packed with garments waiting to be finished…I hear them calling my name. At least we are both in the same time zone and can read emails and blogs!

  16. symondezyn says:

    I always have to deal with RTW pants being an inch or three too short… now i know how to fix them!! (until i actually master pants fitting in my own sewing, that is haha) Thanks for the tips!! 😀

  17. June says:

    At 5’4″, I never worry about pants being too short, LOL, but I love the idea of a slippery inside hem that doesn’t catch on the shoes!

  18. mrsmole says:

    You can also make a statement and have a contrasting color! Even for your little girls they might like a strip of something fun inside their pants or shirts, June

  19. Yup. Back to work. I swear there is a flag on the roof to let people know we are in the workroom!
    Hope all of your clients in 2014 are wonderful ones :).

  20. mrsmole says:

    Ain’t that the truth, Kim! I remember a phrase I learned in High school biology – “Nature abhors a vacuum” and that sure rings true in the sewing room…as soon as there is a vacant hook or hanger…the phone rings! If we can be more selective of clients and pay attention to those red flags life can be better this year!

  21. Eva Manzanales says:

    I have til May 5 to finish alteration on a strapless sequin gown. The girl doesnt want to show to much cleavage on her heart shape gown. I loosen the net on the back and put another padding on the bra cups but yet the middle sags down and. and it still needs more support for it to stay up. What can I do for the middle part of the gown to keep it up and not sag? Desperate!!

    • mrsmole says:

      Some bridal gowns have boning sewn into the lining running horizontally. You can pin some one at different levels inside or some wide horsehair braid may be enough to stiffen it without being too obvious. Good luck!

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