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Chiffon Revisited

A few years ago, I wrote an article about hemming chiffon. To date, that article has had thousands of readers so I know people are still trying to learn how to hem chiffon.

That article was mostly about marking the hem and I provided one method of actual hemming. Because there are always different ways of constructing clothing,  I would like to provide a couple of other methods so you can figure out what works best for you.

I’ll tell you about a classic and a trendy way to hem chiffon. But first, I want to include another way of marking floor length gowns.

If you are not familiar with marking hems, you may want to go ahead and read the old article.

I talked about marking with a hem marker. If you don’t have a hem marker or if you don’t have a proper pedestal for your dress owner to stand on, here’s another way to mark floor length dresses. Try pinning the skirt at the floor line all the way around. You may want to check your marks a couple of times as the wearer moves to make sure you haven’t pulled the chiffon.

After marking the hemline, you can mark with chalk or press into place and remove the pins. This becomes your cutting line. See the other article for preparing for fitting.

Now for the actual hems.

One very popular way of hemming chiffon is another method of making a topstitched hem, much like the one described in the first article. Only instead of using the serger to finish the edge and rolling, you straight stitch 1/8 to ¼ inch below the hemline.

Stitch below the hemline.

You can now cut along the cutting line, ¼ inch below the stitching line.

I like to use a rotary cutter to get an even cut line.

Now roll your hem twice and stitch. This makes a very neat 1/8” to ¼” hem depending on how many times you roll the chiffon.

This shows a ¼ inch hem. You can also roll the edge twice to get an 1/8 inch hem.

The finished ¼ inch hem.

Another trend I’ve seen lately is to use a rolled hem on a serger. You’ll need to look up the directions for setting up your particular machine.

First of all, do LOTS of samples, preferably using the same fabric you will be working with, to get the tension, stitch length and width just right.

After pressing or marking the floor line, you can cut along that line. If you are confidant about “eyeballing”, you can then stitch in your rolled hem ½ inch above the cut line. If not, you can mark the hemline all the way around with sharpened chalk or invisible ink. With this hem, make sure your hemline is where you want it because once it’s cut, there is no going back.

The rolled hem is especially good for a “lettuce” edge, you know, that rippling effect that happens with bias-cut gowns. You can even add a lightweight fishing line to get a great scallop edge. Here’s the rolled hem shown on the edge of a bridal veil.

Whichever hem you decide to use on your chiffon, be sure to do many samples to get the exact look that you want.

Barbara Stone is the owner of Barbara Stone Designs, a full-service tailoring and dressmaking business at 5200 Churn Creek Road, Suite P, Redding, CA, 96002. She can be reached at (530) 222-1340 or bstonedesigns@sbcglobal.net.