Betty Dress Sewalong No. 7: Sewing the Hem

Sewalongers, we're nearly there. It's the last step today, and it's an easy one. Let's hem!

If you need to catch up with the other Betty Dress steps you can find them here:
- Announcement
- Measuring and Cutting
- Assembling the Bodice
- Sewing the Skirt
Attaching the Bodice to the Skirt
Inserting the Invisible Zip
Attaching the Facing and Assembling the Shoulders

First thing to do is to put the dress on and decide where you'd like the hem to finish. With a circle skirt like Betty's if you want to take any length off it's best to cut it off at this stage, rather than try and work any extra fabric into the hem. We want as small a hem as possible - otherwise we will be trying to ease a wider length of fabric into a smaller area, and trust us, we've been there, the results aren't pretty.

So, if you decide you do want to chop a bit off the bottom, here's how to do it.

It's a really good idea to get a friend to help you with this bit. Standing up straight in front of a mirror, ask them to pop a pin in where you'd like the hem to fall. Then take the dress off and measure from the bottom to the pin.

We're going to try and keep the hem as narrow as possible here - ideally no larger than a centimetre. So to account for this hem allowance, substract a centimetre from the measurement you have taken. So if you want your hem to sit 5cm higher than the full dress length, draw your chalk marks 4cm up from the bottom, to account for the 1cm hem alllowance.


Using a tape measure and some chalk, mark out your cutting line, measuring up from the hem all the way around the whole skirt at around 5cm intervals. You might need a cup of tea for this step - it can take a while. But don't be tempted to rush it - a wonky hem is not a good look.


Once you have made it all the way around, join up your marks with the chalk, take a deep breath, and cut off the excess fabric.

Now, you've got a few options for hemming here. You can do a narrow double hem by turning the fabric up once by 0.5cm, and then again another 0.5cm and then topstitching this down.


Alternatively you can finish the raw edge with either a zigzag stitch or an overlocker. Then turn this finished edge up by 1cm, give it a press, and then topstitch it down. This creates a single hem.


We've gone down the single hem route for our dress.


And there you have it! Your Betty Dress is finished!


A big congratulations to all of you who have reached this far.
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