Knowing how to sew rolled hems either by hand or using a sewing machine are really useful techniques to learn. In this tutorial I have included a machine sewing method and two hand sewn versions.
I finish the majority of my blouses, and skirt and dress linings with machine rolled hems. This method produces a strong, even (but flat) hem. You need a rolled hems presser foot attachment (you could always just double fold the very edge of your fabric and top sew it using an ordinary foot but this would be fiddly).
This works best on fairly thin material. First, especially if you have used french seams like me, cut out some of the bulk from the bottom of each seam to enable it to fit into the rolled hems foot. To get going, double fold a small section of very tiny hem, begin sewing a small straight stitch and then lift your fabric into the trumpet shaped part of your rolled hems foot. Keep feeding it in as you sew and the machine will automatically fold and hem at the same time. This is so quick and easy to do. If you want a rounder machine rolled hem try using a zigzag stitch. I haven’t used this method because I feel the stitches would be too visible for me. (That’s just me.)
At school I was taught how to sew rolled hems by hand. This is my preferred method to use on garments that have visible hems such as a blouse. This produces a very neat, polished hem. You could use a whip stitch with this one but the stitches would show.
(Working from right to left.) Double fold a tiny hem. Insert your needle into this (with a knot in your thread), pick up a thread or two under the hem and take a stitch from the hem itself. Repeat this stitch whilst rolling the hem with your thumb. This really is a very effective technique. Apparently, my old sewing teacher knew her stuff.
This is the second technique that I discovered a couple of years ago. This is the method to use on a scarf or hanky. It creates an extremely tiny, ’round’ hem. I don’t feel it is suitable for use on a top due to the distance between the stitches leaving it a less strong, less even hem. However, that does also make it more decorative for a scarf or hanky.
(Working from right to left.) Fold a tiny hem (just once, not a double fold) and insert your needle and knotted thread into it. Pick up a thread or two at the base of the (single) fold, put your needle into the top of the fold next to the previous stitch and bring it out about 1 cm along the fold. Pick up a thread or two at the base of your hem, insert back into the top of the fold next to the previous stitch and bring it out about 1 cm further along the fold. Repeat for about five stitches, then pull the thread tight. This pulls the hem into a small round roll.
This method does make an impressively tiny, neat hem.