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The Tuck Hem: A Tutorial

The Tuck Hem Tutorial

I often use a Tuck Hem to hem my dresses. The finish is easy, can be done completely on the machine and adds a growth tuck that can be let down later should you need or want to lengthen the dress. What is not to love? Before we dive into the tutorial, there are two limitations (because of course, there has to be). First, this hem treatment only works on a straight hem. If the hem is curved, or shaped in any way, there is just too much fabric to fold up into the hem. Second, the hem takes more fabric and you have to plan for it before cutting out the garment. Now that we have the limitations out of the way, I want you to know that the real reason that I keep using this hem treatment is that I love the A-line shape it gives a garment. That added weight makes the dress or skirt stand out a little and gives that little extra flair! Before you assume that this is just for children's clothes, I want you to know that every time my college roommate's mother came for a visit, she came with a new Vogue original outfit that she had made for Carole, and every one of them had this hem treatment. It wasn't a growth tuck, because Carole wasn't getting any taller - she just incorporated it for that added flair!

In order to use this hem treatment, you have to add additional length to the pattern before you cut it out. So let's start with a little math (its ok, you can do this) First decide how much of a hem you would like. From a design perspective, the tuck shouldn't be right at the bottom. In my example, I am going to have 2 inches of hem below the tuck. Next decide how large of a tuck you would like. I am going to have a 1 inch tuck. A 4 inch hem with a 1 inch tuck provides for 2 inches of hem below the bottom of the tuck.

Length Needed = 2 x Hem + 2 x Tuck - Original Hem Allowance.

So for example, the amount of hem that I will need is: (2 x 4 (the hem allowance I decided on) + (2 x 1 (the size of my tuck) - 4 (my original hem allowance) = 6 the amount of hem I need. Since my pattern has a 4 inch hem, I need to add 2 additional inches to the pattern. (6-2).

Stitching the hem is simple! Fold up the hem allowance (4 inches).

Fold up the hem and tuck allowance

Fold it up a second time by the same amount.

hem folded up a second time

Stitch the width of the tuck ( 1 inch in my case) from the bottom folded edge.

1 inch from the edge

I have used contrasting thread so you can see the stitching.

1 inch tuck

Here is a bigger picture so you can see where I stitched.

Stitched hem

The raw edge is encased in the tuck. From the right side, press the tuck down towards the bottom of the outfit. Here is the finished hem! Easy Peasy!

I hope you give this hem a try!

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