How To Hem A T-Shirt Without A Serger

Generally, people use a serger to hem a t-shirt as it allows you to get a cleaner finish, especially around the edges. But that does not mean you cannot hem a t-shirt using a sewing machine. With the right approach, you can get a clean hem using a sewing machine. And in this article, we will be discussing how you can do the same.

How To Hem A T-Shirt Without A Serger?

T-shirts are comfortable, and you can wear them on different occasions. Any wardrobe is incomplete with a bunch of t-shirts. However, the common sizes (small, medium, and large) do not fit everyone the way they want.

If you own a sewing machine, then you can easily stitch the hem at the bottom and get your preferred size. For that, you will need the following things:

  • Fabric marker
  • Seam ripper
  • Iron
  • Fabric measuring tape
  • Fabric stabilizer
  • Scissors
  • Matching thread
  • Sewing pins
  • Paintbrush

Steps To Hem A T-Shirt Without A Serger

Once you have gathered all the necessary things, let’s get to the main stitching part. Here is what you need to do to hem your t-shirt using a sewing machine:

Step 1. Use a seam ripper to remove the bottom hem. Insert the ripper into the seam and remove the thread. Ensure that you do not cut or punch any holes in your t-shirt. Move around the bottom hem and completely remove the seam.

Step 2. Unfold and press the creased bottom of your t-shirt. Run an iron over the crease while using a knit or cotton setting. A flattened crease will make it easier for you to work.

Step 3. Put on the t-shirts and stand comfortable to determine the preferred t-shirt length. Using a fabric market, put a dot to market the new length.

Step 4. Take off the t-shirt and lay it on a flat surface with a right-side-up. Make sure that there are no wrinkles on the t-shirt. Measure straight-up from the fabric’s bottom to the dot that you marked earlier. Move your measuring take around the t-shirt’s bottom, making different dots to mark the measurement.

Step 5. Start cutting the bottom of your t-shirt around one inch below the dots. This will offer an inch seam allowance for the new hem. Now, turn the t-shirt inside out.

Step 6. At the ½-inch bottom edge of the t-shirt, apply a fabric stabilizer. It will ensure that the edge remains straight and prevent it from gathering or rolling up in the sewing machine.

It will become stiff when dry and can be washed off later. When applying the stabilizer, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure to completely dry the stabilizer before you move on to the next step.

Step 7. Fold the bottom hem of your t-shirt around one inch and pin it to secure. Continue to pin the t-shirt while creating a new fold.use the dots made earlier by the fabric market to make sure that the hem is straight. Once you have created the fold, crease it to ensure it stays flat.

Step 8. Thread the sewing machine and get it ready for stitching. Set the stitch tension to a middle or medium setting. This will allow the fabric to hang comfortably.

Step 9. Thereafter, start sewing around the hem approximately ¾ of an inch from the t-shirt’s bottom. Moreover, as you sew, continue to remove the pins inserted.

Step 10. Now create one more stitch on the hem in order to secure it properly. This time, move the machine just half-an-inch below the first stitch.

Step 11. Turn your t-shirt right side out and launder it as usual in order to remove the stabilizer’s stiffness.

Use Hemstitching to Hem A T-Shirt

A hemstitching is a popular finishing method where you fold the edge of the cloth as well as sew in order to hide the unraveling of the fabric and in order to adjust the cloth’s length accordingly.

There are different hem styles of various complexities, including:

Double Folded Hem

You can use this form of hem in any kind of fabric and width. Additionally, you can create this hem using a machine or by hand. By folding the edge multiple times will hide the raw edge and prevent it from unraveling.

Hand Top-Stitch

It is a functional or decorative stitch that is visible on the outside of your garment. You can use this method on the edges of the garments like hems, necklines, or cuffs. It typically forms within one cm from the seam or edge.

Rolled Hem

You will see this kind of hem in light fabrics in order to create a delicate edge. This way, the raw edge will get tucked inside neatly. You can design rolled hem by hand, machine, or an overlocker.

Folded Hem

It encloses the raw edge using stitches so that you get a neater finish. The edges will be then folded once and then sewn. This method will eliminate the bulk of the double folded edge. Generally, thicker fabrics use folded hem.

Glued Hem

Some fabrics are difficult to work with or highly delicate that they get easily damaged by stitching. Glued them are used primarily for fabrics like leather, waterproof materials, or vinyl. For woven fabric, you should use a fusible wedding, which is ironed, whereas, for fur and leather, you can use an adhesive.

Faced Hem

This type of hem is generally used in the evening or bridal wear as it offers a flat finish. Moreover, the faced hem is easier to manage as opposed to other types of hems.

Machine Blind Hem

You can use this form of the hem in thick fabrics as the stitches go within the fabric. It can be done only using the machine, and it offers even and invisible stitches.

Lace-Edge Hem

You can see lace-edged hem on fabric with a delicate finish. Nightwear or lingerie uses a Lace-edge hem to get a finer and elegant look.

Tips To Sew A Perfect T-Shirt

Following are some useful tips that will help you sew the perfect t-shirt:

  • The most important factor here is to select the right kind of fabric. Check the percentage of check and compare it to the suggestion of the pattern.
  • When it comes to t-shirts, there are two popular fabric styles. Firstly, there is a jersey which is a smooth, lightweight finish knit. It has a definite front and back with a tendency to curl towards its ride. Secondly, there is an interlock, which has more texture. This fabric style has a firmer feel and features the same look on both sides.
  • Go for the fabric, which has high cotton content as it will be more comfortable, easy, and durable. A majority of interlock and jersey knits come with only a small percentage of spandex for excellent stretch recovery and comfort. Ensure that you pre-wash the fabric before sewing.
  • Striped t-shirts are fun to make and trend. There are a few tricks that will make aligning the stripes at the side seams and armholes easy.  Move a full-size front and back pattern for the tee and mark a straight line on the fabric between the underarm points. This will make it easier to match that line to the stripes when you place the pattern on the fabric for cutting.

Best Material To Make A T-shirt

Are choosing the right material to make your t-shirt will greatly contribute to your comfort. Moreover, it will also make it easier for you to maintain it. Following are the best material options to make a t-shirt:

  • Cotton is the best option as it is soft, breathable, and affordable.
  • Linen is made using flax plants with a rougher texture as opposed to cotton. These are commonly used in making light outerwear or jackets.
  • Polyester man-made synthetic fiber is popularly used to make sports clothing. It is breathable and can dry quickly.
  • Rayon is a blend of woody plants, trees, and cotton and is often used as an affordable substitute for silk.


I'm Jessica Flores, a professional fashion designer and an expert seamstress. Crafting has always been a deep-seated passion of mine, one that has flourished and evolved over the years. I've dedicated considerable time to both studying and practicing in the realm of fashion and sewing, amassing a wealth of experience and skills. It brings me great joy to share these insights and experiences with you all, hoping to inspire and foster a similar passion for the art of sewing.

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