Readers, I have finally decided to face down my Chronic Hemming Avoidance. A commenter on PatternReview had the following to say about the 1970s dress I entered in the Vintage Contest:
Nice dress. Please do hem it though. Raw hem on a knit is a dead give-away for a cheaply made modern dress. No one in the 1970's (or even the '80's or 90's) would have done that. It's one of my pet peeves about mass market rtw, especially stuff targeted to kids and teens.
And really, she is right. I don't mind a raw hem now and then, but I am starting to be embarrassed that it is my default hem "treatment" for knit fabrics.
My Unfinished Object pile may finally be gone, but my Unhemmed Dress and Skirt Pile of Doom is really starting to get out of control. As of yesterday, I had five fullish-skirted dresses or skirts that I've just been wearing out and about in the raw — not because I want to, but just because I'm SCARED. I've been telling myself I will hem them SOMEDAY but considering that one of them is three years old I don't think "someday" is just going to happen on its own.
In fact, I have a long history of Chronic Hemming Avoidance—just look at the first two knit fabric projects I posted on PatternReview back in 2005 (before I owned a tripod):
So why I am so terrified of hemming full knit skirts that I would rather just walk around in public unhemmed?
- I don't know how to properly level a skirt. The whole idea of a letting a skirt settle and then somehow magically LEVELING an uneven hem freaks me out to no end. Also—my husband does NOT feel comfortable getting down on the floor with a box of pins to try and help.
- My cheap old "My Double" dress form is crooked, and using it for hem leveling might make my dresses crooked.
- I am really impatient. Wovens HAVE to be hemmed, but since knits won't TOTALLY unravel and fall apart before I can throw them on and enjoy them, it feels almost optional.
- Hemming full skirts properly takes me EONS. SO MANY PINS and SO MUCH PRESSING.
- I am afraid I will hem a skirt WRONG and too SHORT and then it will be TOO LATE and everything will be ruined. RUINED!
- I am afraid I will use up my last few yards of Steam-a-Seam Lite 2 1/2" fusible web tape and it is currently out of production.
So my goal before the close of Me Made May is to finish what I started and get hemming. I got a head start at last month's sewing club when Cindy brought her hemming level and pinned two of my dresses, but I need a more sustainable solution so I'm not walking around unhemmed for several weeks at a time.
Last night I tinkered around with my recalcitrant "My Double" dress form and I seem to have fixed her hemming level and weird tilt, but when I tried to use her I didn't feel like I trusted that the 1970s dress was sitting properly level so I got scared and just made an even 1/2" hem all around with fusible webbing tape. Ah well. I did feel a bit more put together.
Do you have any favorite tricks or tutorials for getting a proper level hem in full skirts—especially knit ones? Or are you in the "hemming knits is TOTALLY OPTIONAL" camp?
And... oh yeah, Me Made May! Here's week 4... almost there!
Me Made May 18: Nettie Goes to Legoland
Surprised husband and daughter with a trip to Legoland for husband's birthday—we all had a blast, even if the two hours each way on various forms of public transport was a bit challenging (subway ride to train ride to LONG suburban bus ride). Wore my hot off the sewing machine Closet Case Patterns Nettie Bodysuit as top.
Me Made May 19: Back of the Me-Made Drawer
Here are two of the last me-mades that sorta fit that I haven't worn yet for Me Made May--both from pre-blog days. The skirt is Simplicity 5914, and it's nearly 10 years old. It was too big then but is now slightly tight in the waist and a bit uncomfortable to wear. The top is from the Feb. 2010 issue of Burdastyle magazine and has a badly botched neck binding.
Me Made May 20: Running on Repeat
Me Made May 21: These Me-Mades Are Hidden and My Photos Are Lazy
Wearing a not-yet-blogged me-made T-shirt and me-made underthings.
Me Made May 22: Still Unhemmed
Work bathroom selfie because I had an early morning meeting - Cake Patterns Red Velvet dress again. Not yet hemmed.
Me Made May 23: Polka Dot Parade for Theme Friday
Ms. Z did NOT want me taking any photos this morning—she ordered me to lie on the couch and snuggle instead. So this was the best I could get. Wearing one of my Cake Patterns Hummingbird peplum tops and a self-drafted comfy knit half-circle skirt.
Me Made May 24: Unblogged and Unhemmed
Not yet blogged (or hemmed): Jalie 2681 gored knit skirt (trumpet skirt view E) in size V, with shorter length R. And striped elastic waistband. Fabric is a jegging faux denim knit from Mood. Top is Nettie by Closet Case files in Riley Blake polka dot knit, blogged here.
So... are you a knit-hemming stickler? Or do you just not care? Tips on getting nice level hems without a helper greatly welcome!