When you are new to sewing with knit fabric, it might be a hassle to find your preferred way of finishing hems. It also depends of what type of knit fabric you are working with. For today’s tutorial about how to stabilize a knit hem with fusible tape, I am using a cotton jersey knit which is contains 100% cotton. It has a small cross grain stretch and is sturdier than a cotton jersey blend knit.
Stabilize A Knit Hem With Fusible Tape
I am so in love with this giraffe print which I got from Girl Charlee. Everybody loved it once they saw it made into a tank. I used the Tank Pattern by Seamingly Smitten, a great pattern with sleeve and length options!
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What is fusible tape?
I used a fusible tape by Dritz, called Stitch Witchery. Since I wanted my hems to measure 5/8″, I chose this width for my fusible tape as well. They do come in different widths such as 1/4″, 1/2″ 5/8″ and 3/4″.
Portion from the Dritz website: “Dritz® Stitch Witchery® and fusible bonding web are made from polyamide fusible web that permanently bonds two layers of fabric together when activated by a steam iron. These webbing products provide fantastic no-sew solutions for the beginning sewist or crafter.”
Fusible tape is also available from other companies such as Warm Company, they call it Steam A Seam. Then there is fusible tape by Michell Marketing. Clover calls it fusible tape web, Pellon has their line of several different types of fusible & stay tapes. This is only part of the available fusible tapes. I personally have worked with Dritz and Clover and love them both.
Why I love fusible tape?
I use it on a lot of projects, not only projects that can be no-sew projects such as curtains, pillows, tablecloths. For knit clothing I especially love it because it keeps my hems from becoming stretched out from either sewing or from wearing the clothes. I try to stay away from applying this tape to necklines as it won’t stretch but only a really tiny bit. Although I have been using it on the front of necklines and left the back neckline out. That way I still have some stretch. The other thing I love about it is, that I can sew them hem MUCH better! There is absolutely no pulling of the fabric!
Without further ado, please watch how easy it is to apply fusible tape to knit fabric hems. And be sure to view the step by step instructions under the video.
Just so you can see the awesome shape that this easy tank sewing pattern has, here is the front piece on my work table.
Since all bottom edges are straight (although it does not look like it in the above image – mmmh, probably due to my uneven cutting skills lol) I folded down the hems 5/8″ and pressed them.
Then I cut a long piece of the stitch witchery hemming tape and sandwiched it right into the fold. Since the hem is super long, I worked in sections.
My next step was to make sure that the tape did NOT peek out from under the fold which was the case in the image below. I pushed it back in so none of the tape was showing anymore.
I set my iron to medium heat and no steam. Then I placed a damp towels over one portion of the hem with the tape in between. I pressed the seam for a total of 10 seconds, lifted up the iron and checked if the hemming tape bonded with the fabric. Then I proceeded in the same fashion until all my hems were pressed. It is important NOT to move the iron around on the damp towel!!
My last step was to sew on the right side of the fabric once it fully cooled off and dried. I set my machine to a straight stitch and sewed with a seam allowance of 3/4″. That gave me room for my 5/8″ to be caught underneath well enough.
I finished the tank according to the tutorial from the pattern and tried it on and loved how well the armholes cover. No bra showing! Double points, here!!
And here is silly old me in my new (and now favorite!) tank! I hope you like this tutorial and if you attempt this type of stabilizing a knit hem, please let me know how it goes!
(the capris are not hand made)
Other informative tips for hemming knits:
- sewing hems on knits with a twin needle
- the perfect knit hem (video)
- one of my favorite knit binding method
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Love the tips for hemming with Steam a Seam!! I’m so glad you liked the pattern!!!
I am so glad you shared this tutorial!
Seamingly Smitten owner / designer
Thank you so much for stopping by, Jenny! Your patterns are really awesome!! Can’t wait to sew more of them soon!
kathi riemer says
I love that fabric and the tank is adorable. Thank you for the tip.
Thank you SEW much, Kathi!!
I’m definitely going to be trying this on knits hems in future – thanks so much for this tip! One thing, though: if you fold up 5/8″ and then sew using a 3/4″ seam allowance, surely you won’t in fact catch the turned fabric underneath? 3/4″ = 6/8″, so you’ll be 1/8″ away from the turned edge. Or am I missing something here?