I can't bring you a proper tutorial this month, since we are right in the middle of another move. (Boxes of fabric? And how!) So instead, I'm going to do a Show and Tell with one of my new sewing tools – a hemming ruler or skirt marker from the late 1940s.
Picked up at a local antique store, I was intrigued by the idea and of course the graphics on the box which was mostly intact.
Anything to make hemming easier and more professional, I'm willing to try! Plus getting to use a real vintage sewing tool on my (almost) real vintage dresses makes it feel more authentic than ever. :-)
So I put it to use when it came time to hem a 1950s housedress I was making (photos coming later of the finished product, which turned out beautifully!)
The ruler has this little metal clamp that slides up and down on the ruler, so you can choose a measurement from the floor for your skirt, depending on what fashion decrees (or your preference). The clamp has several grooves in it – one marked “Skirt Length” which shows where the finished skirt will end up, and the others different depths of hem.
You just close the clamp over the skirt and start pinning. The pins go easily through the fabric in the grooves provided for just that purpose. Neat!
For this dress, I chose a 2 in. hem, so I put one pin at the skirt length and one at the 2 in. hem slot.
I did that the whole way around, re-clamping every few inches. The top line of pins is where the finished hem will be – the bottom line is where the pre-hemmed edge will be. This makes the skirt edge straight for an even hem without any of those dips or an up-and-down stitch line.
Instead of cutting it off at the bottom line of pins, and turning it up, I cheated and serged around the skirt, following the bottom line of pins. This cut and finished it simultaneously. Now I (hopefully) have a perfectly straight line ready to be hemmed.
From then on, it's super easy! I just folded up the edge on the top pin line and pressed it. This gave me an even depth of 2 in. the whole way around, without the more tedious measuring-and-pinning-every-few-inches.
The only thing left to do is to stitch the pinned hem in place and you're done! A serious time saver, in my opinion, and I'm really glad I was able to add such a handy tool to my sewing supplies.
My one concern was that since I put the dress on a mannequin before using the ruler, the hem might not turn out straight on me since I have different dimensions than the mannequin. The ideal way of course would be to wear the dress and have someone else use the ruler. But you'll have to judge its accuracy for yourself when I put up the pictures of the finished dress!
Look for my new tutorials posted sometime during the first full week of every month. Hairstyles, crafts, repurposing, project journals, do-it-yourself vintage or alterations, etc.