How to Mend Clothes

How to Put in a Hem

Cut a strip of fusible web as long as the hem measures around, and slide it under the hem.

Putting in a hem is no problem with fusible web, a lightweight iron-in mending and interfacing material.

Tools: steam iron, pressing cloth or handkerchief, scissors, straight pins.


Materials: fusible web (available in precut strips in sewing stores or sewing departments), in the width desired.

Time: about 1 hour.

Before you start, make sure the fabric can stand up to the heat needed to set the fusible web. Set the iron to the temperature specified on the fusible web package. Turn the garment inside out and fold a seam edge out flat from the body of the garment so that the iron will touch only the seam allowance, not the garment itself. Using a pressing cloth or clean handkerchief, press as directed on the package. If the fabric puckers, the new hem cannot be put in with fusible web; otherwise, go ahead.

Rip out the old hem, cutting the thread at short intervals and being careful not to pull the threads of the fabric. Remove the bits of cut thread left from the old hem. Turn the fabric up to the proper length, keeping the hem width even, and pin the hem into place with straight pins. Press, using steam, to remove the old hem crease and keep the new hem evenly turned up and in place. Remove the straight pins. If you're letting the old hem down, you may have to dampen the old hem fold with white vinegar to remove the crease, since this part of the fabric win now be visible on the right side of the garment.

Trim any excess fabric, leaving a hem about 1 to 2 inches wide for skirts or jackets, about 1/2 to 1 inch for sleeves or pants. Press the hem again all around, making sure it is smooth and even.

Cut a length of fusible web strip as long as the hem measures around the garment. Place the web between the hem and the garment fabric, sliding it under the turned-in edge.

Following the directions on the package, fuse the web in place, pressing firmly with the steam iron to melt the web's adhesive and bond it completely to both fabric surfaces. Use a pressing cloth between the garment and the iron, and do not touch the web directly with the iron. If you do get glue from the web on the sole plate of the iron, it can be removed after the iron cools completely, with a dry plastic dish scrubber.

Want to know how to makes patches, fix worn sleeves, or hide tears in your clothes? The next page will tell you how.