How to use a wide hem foot

Hi, I’m Linda from Sewing Bee Fabrics. I want to show you how to use a wide hem foot.

Most people are more familiar with the little brother – the rolled hem foot. This is the foot that you use for very light fabrics to try and get a teeny tiny hem. So the fabric rolls through here and then comes out through the groove underneath into a tiny hem, and that’s great for the tiny fabrics but we want help with some of the bigger fabrics or some of the more normal hems. So the rolled hem foot does a 1/4 inch seam so instead we have a half inch seam, a 3/4 inch seam, and a 1 inch seam foot. I’m just going to be hemming a cotton skirt so I’m only going to use a half inch hem foot.

So to attach it, exactly the same as any other snap on feet. Find your lever – it’s usually at the back. Click it. Your other foot will click right off. Slide that one out the way.

Bring this one right underneath it; hold it in place and you just lower down until you feel a click. And then just make sure that your thread goes right through into the gap. To start off what you’re going to want to do is to fold a little bit of your hem manually to about the same width as here. So if I do one fold here, and then I’m going to fold over like that and I’m just finger pressing along and then I’m going to pop it underneath the foot.

Make sure that you’ve got the rest of your fabric pulled around so that it’s not going to pull down and pull everything out of alignment I then set my needle into a left hand position because then I can sew really close along the edge. Now you have a screw here. You can undo that, move this out to the side, move it back in, change your alignment to fit exactly where you want your hem to be running. So it may well be that you want to pull it over here and use a central position or you may well want to keep it over here so that it’s more central over the feed dogs but you’ve got your needle in a left hand position.

Then lower your needle down, obviously checking your positioning and then just sew just a few little stitches. So we’re just going to go forwards a little, and then backwards a little. And then what you’re going to do is to make sure that your needle is facing downwards, lift this up and then bring your fabric to the front. Then you’re going to hook your fabric in and around this little bit here. So make sure the bit that you start with isn’t on a seam.

It takes a moment of wriggling then you’ll see that that comes through nicely. Just make sure that you haven’t got any big creases anywhere. So just make sure that you’ve done a bit of a wriggle because that’s what’ll get you a nice clean start. Then lower your presser foot down and then you’re good to sew. So you can see that I’m just holding this slightly folded, just to help guide it through but it doesn’t have to be accurate.

And once I come across to a French seam. I’ve done here you can see it’s a little bit tougher and a little bit more tricky to go though. If you find that it doesn’t want to go through at all then that’s not a problem. Lower your needle and then slide it back out again making sure that you’ve got your presser foot lifted back up. So pull it out from around here. So once you’ve slid it out, just fold it back round again.

Put it underneath the presser foot and then you’re just sewing away as you were before when you did your first initial stitches. Stop again with the needle down. Lift it up, thread back through and you’re good to sew again. And again just make sure that you’ve done that little wriggle. You’ll find that the wider the wide hem foot that you use, the more space it’s got for thicker fabrics to go through.

So you wont need to do this as much if you’re going to use a wider hem at the bottom but because this is just for a toddler sized skirt, I don’t want to make it look too heavy. Now if you spot it starts to slip out, don’t worry It’s not the end of the world, it just means that haven’t jiggled it quite right or maybe you weren’t feeding through quite enough fabric to start with. It’s always better to feed through a little bit too much than not enough because it will just move out the way any fabric that you don’t need. So if you get into that situation, just stop, lift up your presser foot, push it though from here.

Come back down again and you can see that I’ve come straight back on and all isn’t lost. So I’m coming up to my seam again I know that it doesn’t fit through very easily so this time. I’m just going to stop just before. Make sure that my needle is right down. Pull it out, curl it over.

Put my presser foot back down I’ve stitched right over that. So I’m ready to feed it back through again. And you can see if you try and move your fabric at the same time, it will wriggle out. Ok, and we’re ready to sew again.

So you can see we’re getting towards the end here. So what we want to do is stop near it but not actually right up against it or you’ll get your foot stuck between and you’ll have to unpick it out. So we’re just going to sew up to about here and again needle down, slide it back out, and bring it underneath the foot. Bring it in line and then meet up to join your other piece. And it’s as simple as that. So you can see here we’ve ended up with a lovely neat hem that’s also looking nice and neat from the other side.