How to Hem a T-Shirt by Hand: Step-by-Step Guide + Tips

Getting your hands on a T-shirt that fits you ideally is a blessing in and of itself because not all T-shirts come in your ideal size. That’s when hemming a t-shirt becomes critical at this point, and it’s quite simple if you don’t own a sewing machine. 

So, if you don’t know how to hem a t-shirt by hand, don’t fret. We’ll show you how to do it in a straightforward manner. However, keep in mind that the style and material of the t-shirt you’re hemming, as well as the hemming style, vary.

Do you have a particular question about hemming a t-shirt by hand? Then use the table of contents below to jump to the most relevant section. And you can always go back by clicking on the arrow in the right bottom corner of the page. Also, please note that some of the links in this article may be affiliate links. For more details, check the Disclosure section at the bottom of the page. 

How Do You Hem A Shirt By Hand?

Hemming a shirt by hand may appear to be difficult, but it is actually one of the most straightforward options. Just follow the following instructions carefully, and you’re good to go.

Decide on the Hem

Before cutting, put your t-shirt on and mark the spot where you want to hem it with a fabric marker or even a sewing pin for a more exact outcome. Turn the t-shirt inside out and measure how wide you want the hem to be. The optimal method is to keep the new hem’s width the same as the previous hem’s. 

Prepare for Cutting / Folding the Hem

Cut your t-shirt after deciding on the width of the hem, but leave an extra half inch. This will keep your shirt from becoming too short as you fold the extra half-inch in the hemming procedure.

Now, iron the garment after folding the extra half-inch. This will give you a sharp result once you’ve completed the hemming process. However, don’t overheat the iron, or your t-shirt will be damaged. 

Prepare for Sewing / Choosing a Stitch

With so many stitches to choose from, the ideal one to use here is the slip stitch. Being a beginner, it is not only easy to master but also makes your t-shirt appear neat from both sides. 

Sew the Hem

Run a thread (of the same color as the t-shirt) through the needle’s eye and start sewing by stitching twice in the same place. This will keep your knot in place.

Then, with the needle pointed to the left, begin skimming your garment from left to right or vice versa. With the wrong side of the garment-facing, sew a 1/4″-1/2″ long stitch in the upper fold of the hem. However, make sure you don’t pierce through the right side of the cloth.

Pick a tiny bit of the garment with the needle after bringing it outside the fold. Thread the needle through the hole. Immediately pierce back into the fold of the hem where your last stitch was. Sew a 1/4″-1/2″ long stitch once more and repeat the process until the hem is complete. To secure your work, make a final knot by piercing the needle a few times in the first layer of the fabric.

Tips to Create a Really Professional Hem

Keep the following ideas in mind if you want your hem to seem professional:

● When it comes to hemming by hand, pressing your seams is crucial to give it a professional feel. Why so? Because it paves the way for your stitching, resulting in a more exquisite and clean piece of sewing at the end.

● Finished seam allowances are another technique to make your sewing look more professional. They prevent fraying, breaking threads, and wearing out of your garments. Though they aren’t visible on the outside of your garment, they are still preferred as they extend the shelf life of your clothes. 

● If your dress includes collars, don’t skip the understitching; else, your outfit will appear rough and untidy.

● Similarly, understitch the facings because facings that won’t stay down would not exude a perfect impression of your craft. 

● Another approach to make your cloth look neater is to keep your hems and cuffs wider. It gives more weight to your hem, making your outfit look expensive and allowing you to lengthen your outfit whenever need be.

● Never skip the stay stitching at any cost. When it comes to helping retain the shape of your curved necklines, the stay stitching is critical as it doesn’t allow the curved edges of your garments to get saggy or stretched. 

Hem t-shirt by hand vs. using sewing machine or serger? 

When it comes to stitching projects like hemming a t-shirt, the results are nearly comparable whether you do it by hand or using the sewing machine. However, each strategy has its own set of benefits and drawbacks that we must consider.

Here are some of the benefits of hand stitching vs. using a sewing machine or serger and a full explanation of why the former is preferable to the latter.

Sewing Machine Or Serger

Without a doubt, basic tasks such as stitching seams and so on are completed in a matter of seconds with a sewing machine or serger. And, once you’ve mastered the setup of your sewing machine and the various ways you can utilize it, large-scale sewing projects become more manageable.

Furthermore, every inexperienced sewer anticipates the level of professionalism that comes with a well-balanced stitch length and stitch width.

However, learning how to use your sewing machine or serger can take a lot of time and effort because you’ll need to understand how and when to use their sewing techniques.

Not to mention the fact that current sewing machines may be crazy expensive, especially if you’re a pro who wants to get your hands on an advanced serger.

Unless you’re a pro sewer, having perfect control over your presser foot and, as a result, your stitch placement is no less than a headache.

Sewing By Hand

Apart from the fact that sewing by hand takes time and demands a high level of consistency, there is nothing we dislike about it because the other pros outweigh the cons.

To begin with, having complete control over your sewing project gives you the confidence to stitch with precision, resulting in the greatest possible outcomes after any sewing project. Another level of satisfaction that can only be obtained by sewing by hand is knowing where your next stitch will be and controlling its length.

And, unlike sewing machines or sergers, hand-sewing your projects outdoors is always an option because it’s portable and easy to carry. You can embroider without having to lug a sewing machine along with you when you’re on the go.

Finally, it’s a practical approach for beginners to learn different sewing styles without worrying about mastering the complicated technology of a sewing machine or a serger.

Credits: photos by Canva

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