The Placket Pattern & Tutorial – For The Tailored Shirt Look

The Placket Pattern & Tutorial – For The Tailored Shirt Look

placket pattern

This is the placket pattern & tutorial.  A placket is a detail often used in tailored shirts and blouses. This is one of the skills that will raise your sewing to the next level.

But first, let’s make sure everyone knows what we’re talking about.  According to Wikipedia:

placket (also spelled placquet) is an opening in the upper part of trousers or skirts, or at the neck or sleeve of a garment.[1] Plackets are almost always used to allow clothing to be put on or removed easily, but are sometimes used purely as a design element. Modern plackets often contain fabric facings or attached bands to surround and reinforce fasteners such as buttons, snaps, or zippers.

Yes, I think you know where I am going with this placket pattern & tutorial.  I just love these super simple techniques that make your projects look much more professional.  I have found the absolute easiest way to make a tailored placket for the crisp looking shirt that I will soon share with you.

You can use this placket pattern in just about any sleeve you wish to have buttons and cuffs.  A placket is always found in a tailored shirt of man and woman, but it is a bit tricky to sew so I am sharing with you an easy and fail-proof way.  While most sleeves patterns come with their placket pattern, you can use the pattern I am sharing with you in case you want to add a placket to a shirt you already have.


  • Fabric from the shirt or a contrasting one.
  • An erasable pen, or tailor’s chalk
  • An iron
  • A ruler

Pattern Download

Get the Pattern HERE

Once printed, transfer the placket pattern to your fabric using a tailor’s chalk, pencil or an erasable ink pen.  You might want to try a Frixion pen.

There are two pieces to the pattern:  The Overlap and the Underlap.  Place the fabric print sides together and cut out two pieces, two for each sleeve.  We will start folding the pieces, this is an important step so we do not sew the pieces on the wrong side of the sleeve.

How To Use This Placket Pattern Tutorial

This is the contemporary drafting and sewing technique of a placket pattern & tutorial for a man’s or woman’s shirt.  There are other ways to sew a placket but I have given you the universally know tailoring technique.

Note: this is not a mass-produced technique used in large factories.

Step One:  Preparing The Overlap

Fold the Overlap print sides together and

placket pattern

sew the edge at 1/4″ (A), trim the corner at a 90-degree angle (B),  Trim (C) and turn sharp triangle.

placket pattern

Turn the triangle right side out (D). Iron.placket pattern

Fold the 3/8″ line on the side where the triangle is located.

placket pattern

placket pattern

Fold the 1/4″ line on the opposite side of the triangle.placket pattern

placket pattern

placket pattern

The following pictures are going to be key to making the placket on the right side of the sleeve and in the correct order.

placket pattern

placket pattern

Step Two:  Preparing The Underlap

placket pattern

Fold 1/4″ on the side.

placket pattern

Then fold in both sides on the sides. placket pattern

You will use the creases as a sewing guide to attaching the underlap to the sleeve.

placket pattern

Here are both pieces of the pattern.  Overlap on top and Underlap at the bottom.

placket pattern

Step Three:  Placing The Pieces Of The Placket On The Sleeve

It is important to pay attention to this step since it will make or break your project.   Placing the pieces in the correct placement will ensure your success.

The Overlap is placed print side down on the wide side of the placement line or towards the front of the sleeve.placket pattern

placket pattern

Align the edges of the Underlap and Overlap on the placement line

placket pattern

Using the fold lines already made by the iron sew on each line next to the placement line stopping right at the end of the placket.

placket pattern

placket pattern

Cut in between the stitching lines or on the placement line.  Stop at 1/4″ and cut to the corner but not through.

placket pattern

placket patternStep Four:  Sewing The Underlap

Bring the Underlap from the wrong side of the sleeve to the right side and iron the stitching line.

placket pattern

Pin the Underlap over the stitching line and sew. Iron.

placket pattern

Step Five:  Sewing The Overlap

Turn the Overlap to the right side of the sleeve and iron the stitching line.

placket pattern

Fold the Overlap over the stitching line. You will find that the Overlap will do this naturally since it was folded previously using the iron.

placket pattern

Stitch close to the folded edge from 3/8″ of the Jog level to the end of the Overlap.

placket pattern

placket pattern

Now it is time to sew the Overlap Over the Underlap.

  1. Keeping the Underlap away from the Overlap sew the edge at 1/16″ from the end of the overlap to the first corner.placket pattern
  2. Slide the Underlap under the Overlap and sew from the corner to the tipplacket pattern
  3. From the tip to the left corner
  4. From the left corner join the stitching line with the previously stitched line.placket pattern
  5. Sew across the packet and create a rectangle catching this way the Underlap and the Overlap, you are now ready to sew the underarm stitch.placket pattern

Most of the commercial and Indy Patterns will include a placket pattern but not always a detailed step-by-step tutorial on how to make one.  The Placket is a contemporary tailoring technique that is both feared and respected by fashion design students and newbie seamstresses alike.

This is one of the techniques that will move you from a beginner to intermediate-level sewists.  Take up the challenge and learn this technique so you can join me in making a special, tailored blouse coming soon.

placket pattern

placket pattern

Let me know what you think of this Placket tutorial in the comments below, also if you want to see more interesting techniques to take your sewing projects to the next level.


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How to print a layered PDF file

How to print a layered PDF file

I'm going to save so much ink and paper now I know how to use a layered PDF sewing pattern and just print the size I want.

Software for creating sewing patterns is improving all the time. As I invest in some of the new and rather pricey software and the training that goes with it, I’m hoping to create better patterns for you.

One of the improvements you’ll see coming up is what’s known as a ‘layered PDF file’. In easy terms, this simply means that the different sizes are all within the same file but at the same time, they are separated onto different layers so you can choose to turn them on and off.

I have a new pattern coming out for you tomorrow and this will be the first with the new layered PDF design so it’s going to be helpful for me to show you how that works, as you might not have seen one before – and it’s cool!

How to print a layered PDF file

Firstly, make sure you are using the latest version of Adobe Reader so you can take advantage of all the super-cool tools. If you need to upgrade, you can do so here.

Then open your PDF file in Adobe Reader. Sometimes you can open a PDF file in your internet browser, but that might look ok on the screen, but usually, you’ll end up with some problems when you print – so stick to opening the PDF with Adobe Reader for best results.

page 2

This is what the file looks like. We are looking at page 2 here so you can see all of the pattern lines for the different sizes. Now this pattern has a lot of sizes and where they overlap it can be pretty crazy and hard to follow your right size.

The good news is that with this new improvement you can turn off the sizes you don’t need to print and just see the size you need. This saves you eye strain and printer ink and just makes the whole thing a lot easier to see.

To select the layers you want to see and print, go over to the menu with little icons on the left-hand side here.


Pick the icon that looks like one sheet of paper on top of the other – that is the layers tool. Now you can see all of the separate layers in your pattern. These will usually correspond to your sizes.

There will usually be one layer that has all of the ‘fixed’ information on it, such as the test square, size chart, pattern piece names, descriptions, and so on.  In our example, this is called ‘Print for all sizes‘.  Then there are the size layers, one layer for each size from 34-56 inches.  Next to the layers is a little icon that looks like an eye.  You can click here to turn each layer on and off, so you can see it, or not see it.


Here is the same page 2.  I’ve kept on the standard layer and also the layer for size 40-inch hips and turned off all the other layers.  Look how much easier and cleaner that is!


It really comes into its own when you have lots of pattern grading lines close to each other.  This is page 9 before and after.  It would be difficult to follow all those close lines to find your correct size on the before, but it’s a breeze when you turn off the layers you don’t need.  A breath of fresh air.

phg 9

Now you don’t have to turn layers on and off, you can of course just print it as standard with all the layers if you want to.  But why waste ink and print out that maze of lines if you don’t need to!

How to print the layered pattern – only the layers you want

Once you have your layers selected and displayed or not displayed, it’s time to print. Up at the top menu, select File, then Print, and up comes the print preview box.  Let’s scroll through to that page 9 again and check what layers we can see.  Perfect, just the size we want and the standard layer with our test square, etc.


Make sure you have selected Actual Size as the print option so that there isn’t any scaling of the pattern.  Don’t select Fit to page or Shrink Oversized Pages. You can use the arrows under the preview on the right to see all of the pages.  If you are printing a smaller size, you might scroll through and find that you don’t even need to print all of the pages.  See here that the size 40 doesn’t have any lines on page 6, although the larger sizes do.  So you can choose not to print any pages you don’t need, therefore saving you paper and ink.


Hit print, check out the picture of what the assembled pattern should look like, and then trim or fold your edges so the pieces match up. This pattern has circles in the corners.  Four pieces of pie make a circle.


How to grade between sizes

What if you are printing a dress pattern and need to grade between sizes, maybe size  C at the bust and size D at the hip.  Well, that’s easy too.  When you select the layers, select the two sizes you need and only those will print off, allowing you to easily see where you need to transition between the sizes.


And that’s it.  You can now print out the pattern just in the size you need.  Earlier patterns don’t have this feature, but the future ones should.  Every little bit helps.

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Shirring Without Elastic Thread | So Sew Easy

Shirring Without Elastic Thread | So Sew Easy

shirring without elastic threadSo what is shirring anyway?

In preparation for a new project this week, I want to introduce you to a technique called shirring (which is sometimes known as smocking) with a simple practice tutorial.  According to Wikipedia, “shirring is two or more rows of gathers that are used to decorate parts of garments, usually sleeves, bodice or yoke.”  With shirring, the gathers can be both decorative as well as functional since elastic can be used to draw in the gathers giving the garment more give to accommodate different sizes.

Most techniques you’ll see around will show you how to do shirring with elastic thread.  Personally, I think that technique has some significant limitations, so I’m going to show you how you can do shirring without elastic thread and using normal elastic.  When you use elastic thread, this thread can irritate wearers with sensitive skin.  Also, to use elastic thread you need to wind the thread onto the bobbin of your sewing machine and it can sometimes cause problems with the machine because the thread stretches.  Finding correct thread tension can be a challenge.

Lighter fabrics work best for shirring.  You’ll need to use really strong elastic if you’re planning to try to gather thick and heavy fabric like denim.  For more Tips for Sewing Denim, please review this tutorial.

Shirring without elastic thread

Shirring without elastic thread is a technique that calls for a bit of patience, but the payoff is fantastic!  This technique is best used on garments that will be close to the skin like pajama pants, children’s clothing or corset-inspired tops where the person that wears the garment has sensitive skin and is bothered by elastic rubbing against the skin.  Shirring without elastic thread allows for a bit of movement and room to breath, while also making the garment last much longer than when using elastic thread.  For best results, it is better to use 1/4″ or 3/8″ elastic.  You can use thinner, of course, but that will depend on your fabric and the design you have in mind.

Where to use shirring without elastic thread?

This type of shirring does not give you a lot of elasticity if you use a thick fabric like damask or brocade, but it will give you the support needed for evening gowns, crop tops, and soft corset tops that do not require a lot of boning.  With cotton lawn fabric and 1/4″ elastic, you can make a very soft and glorious pair of pants perfect for a Sunday morning.  But I guess my favorite place to use this technique is on self-lined crop tops.


  • elastic
  • quilting cotton, cotton pique, rayon, challis linen, or silk dupioni.  (You’ll need a couple of rectangles of the same size for this practice.  Roughly a square foot should be enough.)
  • thread to match your fabric
  • a loop turner or safety pins
  • pins

Shirring without elastic thread tutorial

I am using a scrap of fabric with a dark thread so you can see the stitches better.  To begin our shirring practice project, take the two pieces you will be working on right sides facing in,

Untitled design(85)
shirring with out elastic thread

sew the top at 5/8″.  Open the 2 pieces and iron the seams to one side.  Topstitch on the seam allowance. 

shirring without elstic thread

Trim the seam allowance to half.

shirring without elastic thread

Turn your work right-sides facing out and iron again.  Pin the sides so that the fabric doesn’t move and the edge becomes distorted.  Start by making a row of stitches a little wider than the elastic you are using.  I am using a 1/4″ elastic, so my rows are 3/8″ wide starting from the edge.  Sew the first row.  Since half of my foot is 1/4″ wide, I will be using my foot as a rough guide.  If you are planning to make this row larger, I suggest you use a ruler to mark the rows otherwise is very hard to eyeball it and keep the rows straight and consistent.

Untitled design(87)

Sew the entire piece, but stop when you have a bit more than 5/8″ at the bottom.  This seam allowance is indispensable to finish the hem of the garment or the waistband if you are making pants or a skirt.

Untitled design(100)

Finishing the shirring without elastic thread

Cut the elastic pieces to 1/2 to 3/4 of the length of your pattern and measurement requirements.  For example, the piece without being stretched should match your body measurements.   How many pieces of elastic will depend upon how many rows you have sewn.

Attach a safety pin at one end of the elastic.  The safety pin will help the elastic stay outside of the fabric as you draw the elastic through the rows.

Shirring without elastic thread
Untitled design(88)

Use your loop turner to pull the elastic to the other side.  If you do not have a loop turner simply attach another safety pin and thread the elastic through the rows.

Untitled design(93)

Secure the elastics that have been drawn through the rows with a safety pin or pins.

Untitled design(94)

Leave the last row empty because this is what you are going to need to integrate the shirring into and finish the garment. 

Untitled design(101)
Untitled design(102)

Sew along each edge of the piece where the pins are to permanently hold everything in place.  And there you have it.  You can use this piece as a beautiful and functional part of your new project.
In my case, I am making this crop top for a party dress.  We’ll share a tutorial for this fun project with you all shortly.  You can see some of it below.

I hope you enjoyed this alternative, and I think a better, way of shirring without using elastic thread.

I know is not the easiest, but when it is applied to the right garment, the effect is very elegant and comfortable to wear.  It will also last a long, long time.

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Short Sleeve Mid Length Kimono Pattern – A Transformation Made Easy…

Short Sleeve Mid Length Kimono Pattern – A Transformation Made Easy…

short sleeve mid length kimono pattern

This weekend we’ll be making a short sleeve mid-length kimono pattern using the Linen V-top Pattern I shared with you recently.  This is not the first kimono top I have shared with you.

On the previous one, the top actually crosses over and you can tie the top in the front if you wish to do that.  I happened to not like tying a top on my waist since I am short-waisted and it makes me look wider than I am.  So this is more my style.

This short sleeve mid-length kimono pattern is specially designed with the “apple” body shape figure.  This type of figure is very tricky to dress since a protruding stomach might be a bit challenging to hide.

For more thoughts on Tips to Make Your Style Match Your Figure, please check out this popular post.

Pay special attention to my fabric recommendations so you end up with a top that is both flattering and attractive no matter what your size.

short sleeve mid length kimono pattern

The trend this Autumn and Winter is going to be monochromatic outfits cinched at the waist.  As I always say; there’s no need to always chase the fashion trends to avoid becoming a fashion victim, the classics are always in style.

However, the monochromatic look is one that will notably add elegance and make your outfit look more expensive but we are not going to explore it today.  Rather, I am using very thin silk, super soft that I picked up years ago in Bangalore, India.  It is not the easiest thing to sew, and I choose not to use fusible interfacing because it would ruin the collar band. However, it does make for a questionable hanger appeal. I do need to steam the seams more, but I have identified the culprit of the bit of puckering in the fabric.  The thread is very tight.  So I will be taking the stitch out and loosening it a bit to avoid the puckered look at the front.

short sleeve mid length kimono pattern

I am keeping the sides open since the type of vent we are using adds fluidity to the top.

short sleeve mid length kimono pattern

The long neckline will also streamline your figure.

Soft fabric will follow the curves of your body without adding pounds.


  • 2.5 to 3 yards of fabric (depends on size) of silk, rayon, or 20% stretch knit
  • Thread to match
  • Fusible interfacing matching the length of the front-facing


Fabric Recommendations from

How to Get the Pattern

I am using the same pattern from the Linen V-Top, so download that pattern and follow me on how to transform it into this short sleeve mid-length Kimono pattern.

Linen V-Top Pattern HERE

You will only need the front and back pieces.

Experience Level

This project is for beginners who want to learn to do a simple pattern transformation.  At the end of this series, you will end up with 4 different looks.

Read the additional tutorials before cutting the fabric.

How To Make Your Short Sleeve Mid Length Kimono Pattern

The first thing we will do is to make the opening at the front so the top can be worn open or crossover and tied with a belt.  Next, we will elongate the top, we will draft the sleeves, then we will be sewing the top.  The whole thing should take you no more than 4 hours to make.

Step One:  Transform the Front

Lay the front of the top on the table. Trace a straight line from the neckline to the hemline.  This straight line should be parallel to the grainline and to the sideline.

Cut off the front with your paper scissors.

Step Two:  Elongate the Top

Follow this tutorial to learn how to lengthen a top.  I am making mine 15″ longer, however, lengthen yours by however much you need.

Step Three:  Sew the Shoulders

Sew the front to the back at the shoulder seam.

Step Three:  Making the Collar and Sleeve

Measure from one side of the collar through the neckline to the end of the other side of the collar hem, plus 3/4″.  For example 89″ + 3/4″= 89 3/4″

Step Four:  Cut the Collar and Sleeves

Measure the armhole from the front notch to the back and add the seam allowance times two.  I go into detail on how to sew the armband or sleeve on STEP FOUR here.

Cut the collar and sleeves on a straight grain line.

Wrong sides together, fold both collar and the cuff of the sleeves in half lengthwise.

Step Five:  Sewing the Collar

Attach the collar starting at the hem leaving 3/8″ to fold the hem.  Pin the collar all the way to the other side of the top leaving the 3/8″ for the hem.

Step Six:  Sewing the Sleeve Cuff

The cuff is sewn in the same way as the Linen V-neck top, so follow that section well.

Ideally, you have already downloaded and made the first top, so this step will be just a breeze for you.  If you have not, it is important to read the instructions for the Linen V-Top and understand the sewing procedure.

With that done your Kimono is all finished!

Do you have another idea for transforming the original pattern?  The V-neck top pattern is very well suited for transformation and experimenting.  Did you like the transformation into a short sleeve mid-length kimono pattern, or would you rather download your own?  Do let me know in the comments section below.

A Quick Response To A Comment

I also wanted to take a moment to address a trend that has been happening in the USA and one that causes a bit of confusion for those of us who do not live in the USA and are not familiar with the Politically Correct movement.

Here is a comment I received from a reader on the first Kimono top pattern:  “I know you mean well, by calling a top kimono you are culturally appropriating it.”

I did not approve the comment, because where will we end up if we cannot appreciate the works and art of cultures different from our own?  Appropriation is such a politically charged word and is used to mean that what we are doing is disrespectful, I prefer to use adaptation, assimilation, or even just borrowing.  After all, it is how we learn and a great way to show our appreciation.

Adapting and assimilating is how we learn to write, sing, and dress.  In fact, nearly everything that we know, especially in the arts, has come from some other country, time period, or culture.  I believe by learning and adapting from other cultures is why today we have the advances in all fields that we enjoy today.  But that’s just my opinion, take a look at this young YouTuber on the subject of Americans wearing kimonos.

This is the opinion of the Japanese about a highly controversial and criticized concert that Katy Perry did in 2016.  (Personally, Katy Perry is not my cup of tea but I can appreciate artistically what she was going for.)  If you’re interested, watch the reaction from real Japanese people on the street about Americans wearing kimonos and the criticism by the media of the video.

I can say as a Panamanian, that I am proud when I see a foreigner wearing our national costume because I know that that woman took four hours to get dressed and she is wearing it with pride and she feels beautiful because people cannot stop admiring her.  We see it as the highest form of respect for our culture.

What do you think? I am very interested in your opinion on this subject please comment in the section below.

Anyways, Until Next Time, Happy Sewing!

short sleeve mid length kimono pattern
recycling old placemats
short sleeve mid length kimono pattern

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How to Add a Zipper Pocket to Any Purse Pattern

How to Add a Zipper Pocket to Any Purse Pattern

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

So you have a basic purse pattern or have a pattern that includes a basic slip pocket and you would like a zipper pocket.  Not a problem – this sort of thing can usually be added to any bag.  You can add them on the outside like in the Nautical Expanding Tote Bag, or on the inside of the bag in the lining like this example from the Carry All Bag.  Or both if you want lots of pockets and storage.  The exposed zipper can really add a nice pop of color and an interesting design feature to any bag.

Zipper examples

Here are a few of my tips and tricks to help you insert your first zipper pocket, as part of the My First Bag series of patterns and tutorials.

Watch the video

Here is an extract from the Nautical Tote Bag video which shows step-by-step how to do this.  You could start here first.

Subscribe to the YouTube channel:


Step by step photos – how to add a zipper pocket

Prefer to see it in words and pictures?  No problem, I’ve got that too.  These are a combination of photos from the Nautical Tote Bag and the Carry All Bag to show you some of the variations you might use to get the job done or get a different look.

Start by imagining how the finished pocket is going to look.  Where on the bag will the zipper come? How deep will the pocket be inside?  What colors or fabrics do you want to use?

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

TIP – The fabric used to directly back the pocket will inevitably just peak through to the front side around the opening.  You have two choices – go with it and use a nice bright contrast to outline your zip, or use a matching fabric to blend in and disappear. The back of the pocket can be a separate piece for a pop of color, or the same – again, it’s up to you.

Consider which fabrics to use where.  You have two choices.  You can either use a single piece for your pocket lining and fold it in half, or you can use two different pieces if you prefer to use contrasting fabrics.

TIP – your pocket lining should ideally be at least 2 inches wider than your zipper.  3 inches wider is even better.  Give yourself plenty of room to work.

The rectangle

Place the piece of fabric for your pocket lining face down, right sides together over your outer piece.  Decide where the pocket opening will go.  From the top of your pocket lining draw a line across which is 1.5 inches down from the top.  Draw another line underneath which is 2 inches down from the top, making 1/2 inch between them.

Find the center and draw two small vertical lines to mark the length of your zipper from the end of the teeth to the outside of the zipper stop at the other end.  You have a long rectangular box in which the teeth of your zipper will fit inside.

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

Position the lining fabric correctly on the outer fabric and pin it in place to stop it from shifting.  Shorten the stitch length a little on your machine (I take mine from a 2.5 down to a 2) and then stitch exactly around the rectangle you just drew.

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

If you haven’t already done so, draw another line through the center of the rectangle right across.  This is your cutting line.  At each end, draw a triangle from the corners to that center line.  Carefully cut along the center line until your reach the triangle, and then snip into the corners, close to, but not through, your line of stitching.

Turn the lining fabric through the hole you just cut and out to the back.  Press the opening neatly.  Concentrate on getting the front neat.  The inside may be a little puckered at the corners, but don’t worry, no one will ever see that part.

TIP – pinning the zip can create ripples and puckers.  Use double-sided adhesive tape to keep the zipper flat while sewing.

Tape and zippers

Time now to place our zipper.  You can use pins at this point, but I find it hard to get everything to lie flat that way, so I like to temporarily ‘glue’  the zipper in place before I sew.  I use a product called Wonder Tape, which is a double-sided temporary adhesive specially designed for sewing.  Add some strips of the Wonder Tape to the reverse of the pocket opening and then pop your zipper over the top and press it in place.  Check placement from the front and you can easily reposition it if you need to.

Sew the zip

Sewing with the front uppermost, stitch around the opening to secure the zipper in place.

If using a single-piece pocket lining, fold up the pocket lining and pin along the 3 open sides.  This is where having plenty of space to work will be important.   Stitch the 3 sides of the pocket lining, making sure to only sew the lining, not through the outer fabric as well.


If using a two-piece lining to showcase a different fabric inside the pocket, pin and stitch this on all 4 sides.

And you are done.  Congratulations, you did it! That’s another bag-making skill you’ve got under your belt.  Check out some of the options again.

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

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Sewing an Invisible Hem – Sew A Skirt Series

Sewing an Invisible Hem – Sew A Skirt Series

Welcome to Episode 10 in the How to Sew A Skirt Sew-along series.  The subject for today is: Sewing an Invisible Hem

How to Sew A Skirt. Beginners tutorial series covers fabric, patterns, cutting out, darts, zipper, lining, hems and more. You can totally learn to sew from this set of tutorials - from So Sew Easy.

Our skirt is nearly finished.  For me, it’s been a marathon of not just sewing, but taking notes, taking photos and blogging too.  My new skirt is already finished so I know it’s been worth it!  I’m using the example of the skirt in the middle here during our Sew A Skirt series.

How to Sew A Skirt. Beginners tutorial series covers fabric, patterns, cutting out, darts, zipper, lining, hems and more. You can totally learn to sew from this set of tutorials - from So Sew Easy.

Sewing an Invisible Hem

When it comes to hemming the skirt there are SO many options.  You can simply turn up the hem once, press then turn up again, and sew around with a regular straight stitch.

Or you could do a fancy hem finish with a hemming tape -from Stitch in my side.

Or you could turn and hand stitch – from Megan Neilsen.

You can try any of these options, or if you fancy, how about having a go at an Invisible Seam, sometimes called a Blind Hem?  An invisible seam isn’t completely invisible – depending on the fabric and thread used, you might still see some regular tiny stitches.  And in a patterned fabric like mine, you cannot use a thread that matches all parts of the pattern, so some stitches will show.  But it does give a very nice result and I recommend having a try at this.

I’m working on a leftover piece of fabric from my skirt so that I can show you the process using a bright pink thread to make the stitches easier to see.  If you haven’t done this type of hem before, then do practice before trying it out on your skirt.


The preparation of the hemline is important for this type of seam.  Once you have tried on your skirt and decided where you want the finished hemline to be, do measure this and mark it.

  • First measure up 1/4 inch all the way around your fabric and press the seam to the wrong side.
  • Then fold the fabric inside again until your skirt is the correct length.  Measure how much you have turned and turn this same amount all the way around to get an even hemline.  Using a sliding hem gauge will help.
Sewing an invisible hem.  Part of the Sew A Skirt tutorial series from So Sew Easy.
  • Once everything is pressed, you have to fold your entire hemline back to the outside of the skirt, just leaving a small area of the first turn visible.  This is where your stitching will go.
  • Select the invisible hem stitch from your sewing machine – consult your manual if you need to for how to set up the width of your stitch and adjust it if necessary.
  • If you have a Blind Hem Foot, great.  If not, you may still be able to do this with a regular machine foot if you line up the fabric carefully and stitch slowly.
Sewing an invisible hem.  Part of the Sew A Skirt tutorial series from So Sew Easy.
  • Take your fabric to the machine and line up as shown….
Sewing an invisible hem.  Part of the Sew A Skirt tutorial series from So Sew Easy.
  • When you sew, most of the stitches will be on the right hand side in the folded part of the hem fabric, and when the needle swings to the left, it should just catch the fabric to leave a tiny stitch.
  • Practice on spare fabric first to get your stitch width settings correct.
  • Once sewn, the hem should look like this from the inside…
Sewing an invisible hem.  Part of the Sew A Skirt tutorial series from So Sew Easy.
  • And like this on the outside of the hemline.  Remember I am using the bright pink thread to show you the tiny stitches.
Sewing an invisible hem.  Part of the Sew A Skirt tutorial series from So Sew Easy.
  • If you are happy with your practice, now go on and do the same to the hemline of your skirt.  Press when you are done.
  • If you don’t have the right presser foot, or don’t feel confident – that’s OK, just try one of the other more simple hemline finishes instead – try here, here or the links above.

Our next step

A quick recap of what we have completed so far in case you have missed a step and need to review :

  1. Overview, tools and equipment and choosing your fabric
  2. Drafting your custom fit pattern, and all about ease and seam allowances
  3. Cutting your fabric and pattern matching
  4. Marking darts perfectly
  5. Sewing darts perfectly
  6. All about zipper feet
  7. Sewing an invisible zipper
  8. Lining a skirt – part 1
  9. Lining a skirt – part 2, the zipper
  10. Sewing the hemline

Join me soon for the next step in our Sew A Skirt series – Finishing and series round up

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