If you are looking for professional custom alterations, design, sewing, or embroidery; check out
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Alterations by Donna Trumble

Donna Trumble
has been a sewing professional for over thirty years.  She has operated a custom sewing center out of her home in Georgetown, Texas since 1992.
She is also an owner of the Temple Sewing And Supply Inc chain of Sew And Quilt Stores.

Contact Her
If you need alterations, custom sewing, embroidery, or design.  You can check out her personal website at














Donna Trumble


 How do you sew
a rolled hem?

How do you sew hem edging?How to sew narrow hem?

Raw edges of fabric are prone to fraying and they look unfinished.

The other day, we were setting up a big party for family and friends to celebrate the soon to be birth of our seventh grandchild and our second grand daughter. The piles of paperwork, fabric, mail, etc. were properly stuffed away out of sight. A light dusting was complete. We were ready to decorate. Our dining room table will serve as the centerpiece for gifts and the “Baby Party” cake. I found this beautiful satin jacquard fabric and thought it would be perfect as a tablecloth, but I didn’t want to lose the opportunity to use it for something else like a beautiful jacket. So, I decided to use the fabric without edging it. I just left the raw edges.

Now, I must say it looked good, and no one said a thing about the edges. Unfortunately, every time I approached the table, I noticed a few threads fraying along the edge. I felt embarrassed and self conscious. What I should have done was sew a neat rolled hem along the edge. Maybe nobody else noticed, but I would have been so proud.

The rolled edge is wonderful for delicate to medium weight fabrics. Once finished the edge is almost entirely forgotten. The edge is just the way it should be.

By comparison, the edge could be finished with a simple fold over and top stitching, and that may be necessary on heavier fabrics. But the rolled hem gives a finished look free of the bulk and heaviness common to the folded over hem.

A rolled hem is a hem created by use of a special rolled hem presser foot on a serger or sewing machine. You feed the fabric through the guide in the foot. The foot actually rolls the fabric over in preparation for sewing. As the fabric is fed through the rolled hem foot it is top stitched in place creating a very narrow hem that can be used on dozens of different projects: table cloths, scarves, garments, linings, ruffles, etc. The finished hem will be between one and six millimeters wide depending on the size of the specialized presser foot and the thickness of the fabric.

Consider these question: How to rolled hem on serger?  How to make a narrow rolled hemming on serger and flare?  How to hemming sheer curtains?  How to sew hem edging?  How to sew narrow hem? How do you sew a rolled hem?

Follow these simple guidelines to perfect rolled hems.

1. You must have a good sewing machine (or serger) and its rolled hem foot.

2. Prepare your sewing by cleaning the work area making it free of debris and anything that might snag the fabric while you sew. Clean away any lint from the bobbin area, and make sure the machine is properly threaded.

3. Install the Rolled Hem Presser Foot. Different brands and models offer different sized rolled hem feet. You may actually have only one or two or three different sizes that fit your machine. If you have more than one size select the one best suited to your project. If for any reason you do not have a rolled hem foot, you may purchase a generic one. Take one of your regular feet with you so your sewing specialist can match your machine appropriately. When you examine the rolled hem foot you will notice a turned piece of metal that looks like a scroll. This actually helps turn the fabric in preparation for sewing. Under the presser foot, you will notice a groove that allows the rolled hem to easily pass under the presser foot after it is sewn.

4. Select a straight stitch appropriate for Rolled Hem Presser Foot. Note: many machines allow you to sew a straight stitch in multiple positions (left, center, right, in between). Make certain that your machine stitch is lined up properly with the needle hole in the Rolled Hem Presser Foot. A narrow zig zag setting may also be used if desired, but make sure that it fits your presser foot.

5. Normal tension settings are recommended unless you have recently changed the size of the thread you are using for the project. If you are changing the size of thread, you will need to adjust accordingly. Larger thread means decreasing tensions a little. Smaller thread means increase tension settings a little. After your sew your test seam, you may need to readjust your tensions for perfect stitch balance.

6. Match Needle and Thread to the project. Since most rolled hems are sewn on delicate to medium weight fabrics, you will likely use a size 8 (delicate) to a size 12 (medium heavy) needle. The thread may be a fine long fiber polyester embroidery type thread or a natural thread matched to the fabric type. For super delicate fabrics use size 60 threads, and for medium fabrics use size 50 threads.

7. Adjust the stitch length to medium for delicate fabric and a bit longer for medium weight fabrics. On your sewing machine, your stitch length adjusting knob will have settings ranging from 0 Fine to 4 or more. The larger the number the longer the stitch and fewer stitches per inch.

0 0.5 60 (fine setting)
1 1 24
2 Delicate 2 13
3 3 9
4 Medium 4 6
5 5 5
6 6 4
Setting is the adjustment on your stitch selector.
MM stands for Millimeters on the Metric Scale.
SPI stands for Stitches Per Inch.

8. ALWAYS TEST FIRST. You may be an expert, and thinking to yourself, “I already know how to do all of this.” But one mistake can ruin a whole project, unless your are careful to double check “all is well” first. To Test follow steps 9-20 on a piece of scrap fabric of the same type as you are using in your project. If you have problems, during the test, fix before proceeding. It will save lots of heartache later. When your test is just right, proceed to use your project fabric and complete steps 9 and following.

9. Trim the edge to be hemmed. Remove any loose and especially any already frayed threads from the edge of the piece. Whenever possible align the fabric to be edge along its lengthwise grain. This will make a better hem than on cross grain or bias of the fabric.

10. Lay the fabric for hemming right side down (wrong side up). Position the fabric so the insertion will be to the right and the bulk of the fabric lies to your left.

11. Prepare the fabric for insertion into the presser foot. Your goal is to produce the smallest possible hem. Tightly fold over the edge of the fabric two times. Make the finished fold the same size as the guide on the presser foot. You may use a pin to hold the fold in place, or proceed without pinning.

12. Using your right hand, roll the hand wheel toward you until the needle is at its highest position.

13. With the folded fabric held tightly, lift the presser foot and slide the folded fabric under it. Lower the presser foot to hold the fabric in place.

14. Roll the hand wheel forward some more until the needle penetrates the fabric to hold it in place.

15. Lift the presser foot, and remove any pins you may have near the presser foot. Slide the folded fabric into the shaped scroll guide of the foot.

16. Lower the presser foot and prepare to sew.

17. Take thread trails in your left hand and hold them to the left and behind the needle to prevent their messing up your hem.

18. Take hold the edge of the fabric rolling the fabric over your thumb. Gently, feed and guide it through the rolled hem presser foot scroll guide as you sew.

19. Periodically adjust your fabric using both hands and guide it through the foot. Smooth the fabric with your left hand preventing clumps and mounds. Guide the fabric with your right hand. This will take some practice to keep just the right amount of fabric flowing and at the proper turn.
a. Take care to avoid the unfolding of the fabric, because this will expose the raw edge of the fabric.
b. Also avoid stuffing (feeding too much) fabric, because this may cause the excess to bulge or peek through the edge.

20. It never hurts to stop and make repairs midstream.
a. If you find that for any reason, your hem is just falling apart, looking really bad; stop. Roll the hand wheel to raise the needle to its highest position. Lift the presser foot, and draw back about a quarter inch to an inch of hem. Take out the bad, and reset to sew in the good.
b. If the problem is not yet stitched in (unfolding ahead of the needle), set your needle down to hold the hem in place. Lift the presser foot and make appropriate adjustments. Reset and go again.

Hemming is a true art form. Beautiful perfect hems finish the project. They give the feeling of satisfied completion. They bring all the pieces together. The Rolled Hem is just one of several exciting techniques for finishing the edges of your project. There are also several enhancements and alternative ways to achieve the Rolled Hem. Not only can you do a rolled hem on your sewing machine, you can do one on your serger.

Donna Trumble is a professional designer, seamstress, author, sewing educator, and sewing business owner.   She leads several Sewing Show And Tell groups in her stores guiding participants to shop sewing machines and learn about sewing and quilting.

David Trumble is a sewing professional, author, semi-retired minister, sewing machine technician, and CFO of Temple Sewing And Supply, Inc.

For more information on sewing show and tell groups, check out "Sewing, The World's Greatest Hobby" by Donna and David Trumble.  And check out the local Sew And Quilt Stores in Killeen, Temple, and Waco, Texas or at


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