How To Hem A Skirt

Altering the hem of a skirt is pretty easy, regardless of your expertise in sewing. And if you plan to take up such a project soon, you have reached the right place. 

There are so many reasons why you might want to hem a skirt. Maybe the current length isn’t flattering you anymore, the style is outdated, or the skirt has to fit a more petite person. Irrespective of the reason why you need to alter the skirt’s hem, the process of doing it is rather simple. 

So, without further ado, let’s take you through all the methods to fix the hem of your favorite skirt. 

How To Hem A Skirt?

There are several ways to hem a skirt. In this regard, one of the first things you need to decide is whether you want to do it manually or use a sewing machine. You can also choose to try a no-sewing and no-cutting method, and rely on iron-on tapes to do the job. Altering the waistband of the skirt will need basting and machine sewing. If the hem keeps rolling up, take the interfacing, and sew it inside the hem of the skirt. 

How To Hem A Skirt By Hand?

Hem A Skirt

You don’t need a sewing machine to hem your skirt if you know a bit of sewing. Here’s what you need to do to blind stitch and fix the hem of your skirt. 

Step 1. Decide The New Length Of Your Skirt 

Consider how long your skirt needs to be, and include 5.08 cm (2 inches) to it. This additional length will act as the hem of the garment. If the skirt comes with a lining and that requires hemming, too, you need to have it at least 2.54 cm (1 inch) shorter than your finished skirt. 

Step 2: Use Dressmakers’ Chalk To Mark The Skirt 

Mark a line using the chalk across the skirt to start cutting it. Also, it is a good idea to use your hem gauge to measure upward before marking the line. It will make sure that you’ll cut along a straight line all around. A measuring tape or ruler works, too, in case you do not have any hem gauge. 

Step 3: Cut Off The Additional Fabric 

Use your fabric scissors for cutting the additional fabric. Also, use the line that you drew as your guide while cutting. If the skirt comes with a lining, make that lining 2.54 cm (1 inch) shorter. 

Step 4: Fold Down The Hem And Secure It 

Now, fold your hem down by 1.27 cm (½ inch), and use sewing pins to secure it before ironing it. However, make sure that the fold is towards the inside of your skirt (the wrong side). Alternatively, you can use the overlock stitch or the serger instead of folding. Remove all the pins after you’re done. 

Next, fold down the hem by 3.81 cm (1½ inches) more before securing it with pins and ironing it again. After this, fold down by 1.27 cm (½ inch) more for the lining. Keep the sewing pins in place this time. 

Step 5: Start Blind Stitching Your Hem 

Thread your needle and put a knot right at its end to start stitching. Now, pull the matching thread through your hem using the needle. Take two threads from your skirt before bringing your needle back in the hem. Next up, pull that needle 0.63 cm (¼ inch) through your hem. Catch two threads from the skirt once more.  

Go on blind stitching the hem until it’s completely sewn. Finally, put a knot at the thread’s end and cut off the rest. Iron the hem one last time and the skirt is ready to wear now. Blind stitching is an especially good idea if you have a heavier fabric to work with. 

How To Hem A Skirt With A Sewing Machine?

Hem A Skirt With Sewing Machine

There is no denying that hemming a skirt using a sewing machine is a lot faster and easier than doing it by hand. For instance, it is tricky to hand stitch stretchy fabrics. Also, a narrow hem will sit better on your skirt when done by a machine. 

So, the following are the two ways to hem your skirt with a sewing machine. 

Method 1: Turned Hem 

It is a suitable option for almost all fabrics, except the sheer and bulky ones as the raw edges are turned up in the skirt’s hem allowance. 

Step 1: Press Up The Raw Fabric Edge 

In order to make a turned hem, start by pressing up the fabric’s raw edge by at least 1/8” (or more, depending on the type of fabric). Now, press that up once more to get the necessary hem allowance before moving on to the next step. 

Step 2: Start Stitching With The Sewing Machine 

Now, stitch really close to those raw edges of the hem allowance. You need to stitch on the inside of the skirt, while beginning at a side seam and going back to get the stitch secured. Here, you can use a seam guide foot or edge foot to make sure that the stitches are accurate. 

Method 2: Curved Turned Hem 

Curved turned hem is ideal for flared hemlines. The process of doing it is a lot similar to the previous method. 

Step 1: Stitching The Basting Line 

If you want to make a neat hem using this method, start by stitching one basting line about 0.64 cm (¼ inch) from the hem’s raw edges. It will be your measuring guide when you press up the hem. Also, it will make it easier for you to press. Next, Press the fabric’s raw edges along the line of stitches. 

Step 2: Make The Raw Edges Meet The Fold 

After this, press up once more to make sure that the fabric’s raw edge meets the pressed folds. Also, if you want to deal with creasing in the fabric, gently pull a thread to make it gather a bit before your press.  

Step 3: Edge Stitches From Inside The Skirt 

As you are done pressing, start edging the stitches from inside the skirt near the folded edge. Now, begin at a side seam and back tack to secure that. A seam guide foot or edge foot can be helpful in precise stitching. One final press and done! 

How To Hem A Skirt Without Cutting?

You can hem your skirt without cutting it but this only works if you don’t want to shorten it too much. So, for this method, begin by gathering all the supplies at one place.  

You’ll require a thread remover, seam ripper, iron-on fabric adhesive, iron, and a pair of scissors. Also, you can either use a measuring tape or some other skirt to determine the length. 

Step 1: Measure The Skirt Before Starting 

Turn your skirt inside out and spread it over a flat surface, like a table or countertop. Now, get the other skirt with the right length and keep over the first skirt. It helps if, along with the right length, this one also has a similar shape or flare at the bottom. Start tracing the entire hemline accordingly. 

In case you don’t plan to use another skirt for the purpose, take your measuring tape to measure from your waist down to your leg until the length that you want. Now, put this measurement on your skirt and put a mark on this spot. Also, make a couple of marks across your skirt such that you can join the marks in a curved line. 

Step 2: Check To See If The Marks Align 

You need to be careful to ensure that all the sides of your skirt are appropriately marked. Check to see that one side doesn’t appear longer than the others. Also, the sides will look longer or shorter than the center if the curve is extra shallow or deep. 

Step 3: Folding The Skirt To Create The Hem 

Next, fold your skirt according to the marked line. Check once more to make sure that it is even throughout before ironing your new hemline. You might get a couple of creases based on the style of the skirt (for instance, flared bottoms). 

In order to deal with the creases, iron your skirt until it stays absolutely flat. Those creases will blend in easily in the skirt body if you have only shortened it by a couple of inches. 

Step 4: Put The Fabric Tape And Start Ironing 

Put the fabric tape on the skirt carefully and start ironing. As such, remember to work with a part of the skirt at one time. You will only mess up the hem if you try to do it all at one go.  

Be patient and go slow to ensure nothing is wobbly. The hemline has to be even and straight. Finally, turn your skirt’s right side out and give it another round of ironing. 

How To Hem A Skirt Waist?

Hem A Skirt

Before discussing the steps, it’s important to mention that the waistline of every skirt is not made the same way. Some of them might have facings in place of waistbands, while the lining may be differently attached to the waistband. So, given below is the basic idea of how to hem your skirt waist. In case the waistband is different, you’ll only have to tweak the steps a bit. 

Step 1: Measure The Amount To Be Taken In 

Wear your skirt and figure out the length that you need to take in. You can take in an inch or more at the waist. In most cases, you need some adjustment on the side seams, and you are good to go. 

Step 2: Baste The Skirt Before Sewing 

Use sewing pins to mark the skirt and baste along that line of pins. Additionally, keep an eye on the length that you need to adjust on your waistband. 

Step 3: Unpicking The Waistband  

Now, you need to unpick about two-third of the waistband. The best thing you can do here is to remove the extra waistband from one end, i.e., that end without any buttonhole. However, in case the waistband comes with side seams or center back seams, you can adjust along these points. Also, you can choose to cut through the band to create a center back seam. 

Step 4: Stitching The Side Seams 

Take the basting line as your guide to pin and stitch every side seam of the skirt. Next, unpick the previous stitch line to open the seam. Then, repeat the same stitching lines through the lining before pressing flat. 

Step 6: Point Out New Endpoints 

It is time to mark a new endpoint over the waistband. Now, you can stitch across here and cut off the extra part. However, it is advisable to leave the extra part in case you ever have to let out your skirt again. 

If your seams are already small, there is no need to trim the seam allowance as well. The additional allowance won’t look bad. Take the marked endpoint of the waistband as the placement point for the edge of the zipper. 

Step 7: Basting And Machine Stitching  

You need to pin the top part of your skirt’s lining to the top half of the skirt. Now, you can pin and baste or only use pins to hold the waistband close to the waistline. Finally, use machine stitches all the way. Pin those hanging loops properly, too. 

Step 9: The Final Touches To the Hem 

Then, fold your waistband over and put sewing pins carefully along the ditch. Now, baste before machine stitching the part. Finally, start sewing the buttons in their place, give one final press to the band, and that’s it. 

How To Keep Skirt Hem From Rolling Up?

A hem that keeps rolling up is simply annoying. To add to that, such roll-ups tend to make the fabric fray at the hem and look uneven from the bottom. Though some skirts have their hems rolling up even before you wear them, the problem starts after several washes and wear in most cases. The only solution to the problem is to reinforce the hem such that it does not roll up and remains flat and straight. 

Step 1: Find And Note The Seam Allowance 

Turn the skirt inside out. Then, get your ruler to measure the length from the hem seam to the bottom of the hem to know the seam allowance. Note down this measurement. 

Step 2: Completely Remove Your Hem Seam 

Take your seam ripper for completely removing your hem seam. Also, remove all the extra threads before completely unfolding the hem. 

Step 3: Remove The Wrinkles Left From Curling 

Next, choose the right settings on the iron for the fabric of your skirt. Remove all the wrinkles left from rolling up by ironing the hemmed part. 

Step 4: Choose The Right Fusible Interfacing 

Choose the right fusible interfacing as per the fabric’s weight. A medium-weight fusible interfacing is good to go for denim skirts and heavier fabrics. On the other hand, use a lightweight nonwoven fusible interfacing for lighter fabrics and cottons. 

Step 5: Cut The Interfacing As Required 

Take the measurement of your hem’s height from the hem fold to the unfolded bottom edge. After this, cut one strip of the interfacing, which is two times the height that you measured just now and the same as the length of the bottom edge. 

Step 6: Start Fusing The Interfacing 

Go by the instruction manual, and fuse the fabric interfacing to the inside of the skirt. The idea is to make it rest at the unfolded, bottom, raw edge of your skirt. Gradually, fuse one layer of interfacing to the entire hem. 

Step 7: Refold Your Hem Along The Actual Fold Line 

It is time to refold your hem along the actual hem folding lines. Since the interfacing usually makes it hard to fold, it will take some time. Then, iron your hem-fold in place, and pin your hem in place. 

Step 8: Sew The Hem and Remove The Sewing Pins 

Thread the sewing machine using a thread that is an exact match of the color of the skirt. Now, use a seam allowance that is the same as the actual seam allowance measured earlier. Finally, get the sewing pins removed. The hem will stay perfectly in place thanks to the interfacing, and there will be no more curling. 

Wrapping up

Hem A Skirt

Hopefully, you will no longer have any issue with hemming your skirts. It is time to get on with the alterations and give your skirts a new hemline. Start your new sewing project now!



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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