Different ways to hem a circle skirt

In my last post I mentioned a quick way to cut the hemline of circle skirts when you’re in a hurry. After cutting, the hem still needs to be finished! This blogpost is about the different ways to finish the hemline of a circle skirt.

Determine the best technique for hemming: the shape of your hemline and the fabric of your skirt

Before I start on the techniques, let’s have a quick look at the shape of the hemline and the material of the skirt. These two factors are important for deciding which type of hemming works best for your project. A circle skirt is made out of panels cut in a circle shape, creating a rounded hemline. This is important as rounded hemlines can’t easily be folded over. Try it with a circular piece of paper: if you fold the edge inwards, several folds along the edge are needed to fold the paper inward all along the edge. The same thing happens with fabric:  the ‘ fold over and stitch-technique’ will create a messy hemline.

The second factor is the fabric. I used a chiffon like fabric: a semi transparant woven fabric. There is a slight stretch to it (normal synthetic chiffon doesn’t stretch), making it easier to use techniques that require a bit of stretching and fiddling with the fabric while hemming.

What are these ‘techniques’ I keep talking about?

When I mention ‘technique’ I am talking about different ways to sew something. For instance, a hem can be finished by a fold-over-and-stitch- technique, or a rolled hem technique. In both cases, the skirt has a finished hemline. The result of each technique might be slightly different.  That’s why it’s important to learn about different techniques. Remember my adagio costuming is about what works for you? Sometimes a rolled hem might work, sometimes a serger might be the answer to all your problems. Fold over hems are prefect for straight hemlines and give a great result, but are unsuitable for curved hemlines. Being able to use different techniques and being able to judge what technique will give the desired effect is the sign of a good seamstress.

My favorite techniques for neatly hemmed circle skirts are:

  1. The basic rolled hem
  2. The serged hem (only works if you own a serger or are close friends with someone who owns one)
  3. The rolled hem with fish line finish (adding fish line)

This is a circle skirt with unfinsihed hem, to give you an idea of how the hemming technique can change the look of the skirt.

Circle skirt with unfinished hem
Circle skirt with unfinished hem

The basic rolled hem

Use the fingers of your right hand to slightly roll the edge of the fabric inward, and stitch right on top of it so it stays put. The fraying edge of the fabric is neatly tucked away. The nice thing about this technique is that it is a fairly simple concept. The tricky bit is that rolling fabric by hand while operating your sewing machine can get messy and result in uneven, quite big, rolled hems.

I highly recommend investing in a sewing machine foot called the ‘rolling hem foot’. What it does is roll the fabric for you, as long as the fabric edge is fed into the foot in the right way. Sometimes it is included with your machine but if it is not, go to your local sewing machine store and order it. It will change your life for the better. With a rolleed hem foot, creating even, neat and narrow rolled hems is a walk in the park. It takes a bit of practice and after that you’ll be hemming in no time. Roll hemming creates a narrow, roll like hem.

The serged hem (you need a serger for this one)

I am slightly envious of people who own a serger. It’s an amazing machine that can stitch, finish and cut fabric at the same time. It’s the reason why store bought items always have such nice finished seams. If you own one, it will also be the bane of your existence. Operating one is not easy and since it uses 3-5 threads at the same time, a lot of things can (and will) go wrong. However, if you own a serger or are close friends with someone who owns a serger, finishing the hemline with a serger is a great option. It will create a narrow, flat, flexible hem. Special thanks to Brenda for serging this skirt for me 🙂

Circle skirt with serged hem

The rolled hem with lettuce finish (adding fish line)

If you’re into fancy finishes, try edging your circle skirt with fish line! It is a relative easy proces. Instead of a normal roll hem, sew fishing line inside the rolled hem. The fishing line comes from a spool and thus creates a meandering, lettuce like effect. Sparkly belly has a more extensive post about this technique on her website.

This technique creates a hem that is rolled, and falls in natural curles and curves.

Circle-skirt-fishline hem
Circle skirt with rolled hem and fish line

For tutorials about how to add fishing line to the hemline of a skirt, try this curly hem tutorial on Youtube, this tutorial by Sparkly Belly. It is fairly easy to add the fishing line to the rolled hem and I really like the results. So floofy!

For your enjoyment, here is a quick overview of the effect of the different hemming techniques.

Different circle skirt hemming techniques

If you enjoyed this post, please like Kyria Bellydance on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. If you have a question or comment, let me know through Facebook and I might write a blog post to answer your costuming question.

Thanks for reading and see you soon!


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