Studying Theatrical Costume and other adventures in London - sewing, fabrics and events.

Tag: rolled hem

Homework 32: Hemming the fichu

I used the selvage edge for the straight length of the fichu and just did a small rolled hem on the angled sides.

rolling the hem on the fichu

rolling the hem on the fichu

Homework 31: Overskirt – hems and waistband

On the train up the the Museum’s Computer Group yesterday, I had finished slip stitching the facing on the front hems, so today I needed to tidy up the bottom hem. Normally you would do the bottom hem first and then the vertical ones, as it give better lines if the vertical hems go all the way to the bottom – it just looks better.

I had originally cut the panels with extra seam allowance, because I thought I would fold up a large amount, but when I had been draping the skirt a few weeks earlier, I decided I wanted to keep the extra length so that there would be a fair amount of fabric to drape up. Because of this, I only did a small rolled hem. This would need to be hand stitched as a machine stitch would be obvious and not very period.

I knew the bottom edge was straight and previously I had zig-zag stitched the edge, so I just used that as a guide to know how much to turn up.

Pinning the rolled hem

Pinning the rolled hem

After slip stitching, the hem needed to be pressed.


I had already gathered the skirt on to petersham so that I could check the measurements during a fitting. These were all fine, so I just needed to cover the petersham. I did this in a similar way you would bind using bias (the waistband strip was not cut on the bias) as I had not cut the waistband strip wide enough, but didn’t want to have to recut.

Overskirt waistband - waistband covering already sewn on the outside, ready to be folded over and sewn on the  inside.

Overskirt waistband - waistband covering already sewn on the outside, ready to be folded over and sewn on the inside.

All of the sewing could be done by machine as it was unlikely to be seen, covered by the bodice, and so was a lot faster than for the quilted petticoat. I just made sure I stitched in the ditch. I only hand stitched the ends to finish and add the fastenings.

My waistband overlapped at the front, so I used two size 4 hook and bars to close. Had I wanted to avoid bulk I could have made one side butt the other and used hooks and eyes instead.

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