Hemming chiffon does not come easily to everyone and is certainly not my favorite thing to do in the sewing world. The chiffon is a hard fabric to deal with but looks incredibly elegant.
It is mostly used in formal dresses where the finishing of the dress has to be top-notch and seamless. The conventional way of hemming any fabric cannot be used here because chiffon won’t cooperate. In these circumstances, I like to use an Iron-on tape for hemming chiffon.
This tape is ironed between the loose hems of chiffon. The heat from the iron melts the tape and a clean and clear hem is formed. This is one of the best ways to hem a chiffon because it requires no sewing. Iron-on hem tape is also permanent and not just a quick fix.
It will stay on but there are a few other tapes in the market that do not require ironing and do not completely set on. Those tapes are best for a quick fix. In this article, I will let you on all of my secrets on hemming chiffon with tape so let us get started.
How To Hem Chiffon With Tape?
For hemming chiffon, you will need the chiffon fabric, Iron-on hemming tape, iron, ironing board, scissors, sewing pins, and measuring tape.
The choice of the chiffon fabric depends entirely on you but before hemming it with tape, have a good look at the material of the fabric and see what sort of hemming will be best for it.
If the chiffon cannot be tamed, go for the tape but in case, the chiffon has any sort of textural integrity, I would suggest going for the conventional hemming.
When you go in the store to buy the tape, try and get your hands on the Iron-on one and the simple one. You will get an idea of how both tapes and which one works better for your chiffon. I had to hem a few chiffon dresses for a wedding party once and I used different hemming styles according to the dresses.
So the flow and make of the dress will dictate what sort of tape hemming style you will use. Lastly, make sure you do the hemming on a sturdy surface. I use my dining table if the dress is long.
Preparing the Chiffon
Before I go into the actual hemming part, I like to prep the chiffon. Washing and drying any fabric before alterations or final touches is a good practice and something I do religiously. Once washed, dry the dress on a hanger and in a vertical way.
This is the best way for the fabric to get rid of wrinkles, especially when it comes to chiffon. Otherwise, you will need to use an iron to remove the wrinkles and that would just take more time.
Once it is all cleaned out and wrinkle-free, I move on to measuring the hem length on the dress. Personally, I like to keep the hem length on a chiffon dress as minimal as possible.
This helps give a very clean and professional look to the dress as compared to a 2-inch hem that can be easily spotted. I would say that the length really depends on the dress and you. If you like a thick hem, go for it.
Cutting and Positioning the Hemming Tape
Now we come to cutting the hemming tape to the required length on the dress. One easy way to go through this step is to place the tape where you need hemming and circle in through the dress loosely, just to get an estimate. I always make sure that I cut more than I think I would need because it is easier to cut it down to less afterward than having to attach a new strip altogether.
When I have sorted the length of the hem tape, my next step is to align it. I already have my measured hem length of the dress so I just need to now turn one side over and place the tape in between. Use sewing pins to hold your chiffon and the tape in between until you bring the iron on. Now this is a very tedious task because the chiffon will not cooperate most of the time, the tape will be rigid and would just stand in one place, if your table is small, your chiffon will keep falling off until you keep it all up, on and on.
In these cases, to keep my mind at peace, I opt for my dining table where I would lay the dress or the fabric completely. This ensures that the tape is evenly placed and that I can clearly see where my iron will need to go which saves time.
Ironing the Hem
In sewing and hemming, a heavy, old-looking iron is used. I unfortunately do not have that but I do have my trusty steam iron which works fine. I just make sure to press it down nicely when hemming anything. Now that everything is set on the table I can start ironing. Make sure that there is an iron-safe cloth underneath the chiffon fabric on the table otherwise, things can get messy.
Take the ironing slow. This is probably my most time-consuming step in the process and also patience-driven but there is no way around it. Carefully iron the hemming tape onto the fabric making sure that the bond is secure. As with other fabrics you can pull on it a bit to see how strong the hem is. I advise against it when it comes to chiffon. I have had my share of pulling and then damaging the chiffon. Some chiffons are just way too delicate.
Finalizing the Hem
Finally, after the ironing out, leave the fabric to cool and set. The tape hem needs to be cooled well and set before you pick the dress up. Give it a good 10 minutes or so. After that check the dress for any loose areas or irregularities. I had a lot of these when I was starting out. I got better with time and with practice so if your hemming is a little out of place do not worry about it.
You can always go back to fill in the missing places. Just cut the tape to the size and iron it accordingly. Remember the iron-on hem tape won’t come off so be careful. After all that, congratulations, you now know how to hem chiffon with an iron-on tape.
Tips and Tricks
I have always found that keeping the entirety of the chiffon on a solid surface saves a lot of hassle and time. I can structure the chiffon well when it is on the table and I can also visualize what goes where. The other most common issue that comes with the chiffon is the little tearing that occurs when handling it. Make sure you handle the chiffon very carefully and that the fabric is not pulled more than needed while sewing or hemming.
For a professional-looking hem, make sure you hem in the least amount of fabric and that your ironwork is impeccable. These two things are the difference between a professionally hemmed chiffon and a non-professionally hemmed chiffon, in my opinion.
Creative Alternatives and Additional Tips for Hemming Chiffon
While using tape is my go-to method for hemming chiffon, I’ve also explored other creative ways to achieve the perfect length. Here are some additional tips and alternatives that I’ve personally found useful:
1. Temporary Stitching as an Alternative:
On occasions when I didn’t have hemming tape at hand, I’ve used temporary stitching for a quick fix. For instance, with a chiffon maxi skirt that needed a slight lift for an outdoor event, I used loose, large stitches to adjust the hem. The key was using a thread color that blended seamlessly with the fabric.
2. Double-Sided Tape for Emergency Fixes:
I’ve used double-sided fashion tape in a pinch. It’s not as durable as hemming tape but works well for temporary fixes. I remember using it on a pair of chiffon palazzo pants during a travel emergency, and it held up nicely throughout the evening.
3. Layering for Style and Length Adjustments:
Layering a shorter skirt or dress underneath chiffon garments can also create a beautiful effect while resolving length issues. I once layered a knee-length slip under a too-long chiffon dress, which added an interesting dimension to the outfit and solved my length problem.
4. Caring for Hemmed Chiffon:
After hemming, handling the fabric carefully is crucial. I always hand wash or use a gentle cycle for my hemmed chiffon items to preserve both the fabric and the hem. Air drying is also essential; I learned this after a delicate hemmed piece lost its shape in a dryer.
5. Storing Hemmed Chiffon Garments:
Proper storage is vital. I hang chiffon garments to prevent wrinkles and avoid folding them at the hem. Once, by not storing a hemmed chiffon dress properly, I ended up with creases that were difficult to iron out.
Through these experiences, I’ve learned that while hemming tape is incredibly useful, being adaptable and creative with your approach can also yield great results. Hemming chiffon, or any delicate fabric, can be a bit daunting at first, but with a little patience and practice, it’s definitely achievable.
So, there you have it – my adventures in hemming chiffon. It’s been a mix of careful measuring, patient work, and lots of learning along the way. Trust me, if I can do it, so can you. Happy hemming!
I go for a taped hem when the fabric in question is chiffon because of its delicate nature and ever-so-flowing feel. I encourage the use of tape because it is comparatively easy, quick, and looks professional if done right. I started hemming with tape, just to learn it before I actually applied it to the chiffon. This helped me a great deal to iron out my flaws and troubleshoot any problems that I may encounter.
So I would highly recommend using tape for hemming chiffon but I would also recommend giving it a few tries on scrap fabric before moving on to the real one. I hope this was a useful article for you and now your hemming chiffon dar days are over. Happy hemming!