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Tips for a Raw Edge Hem & Unfinished Seams

3 min read

Who said every garment needs to have a traditional hem? So many incredible pieces have embraced intentionally unfinished hems and seams, while still being able to keep them neat and stylish. If this is something you want to experiment with, you can certainly achieve great results, but it is important that you follow the proper methods and techniques to nail the look. Remember, a raw edge hem may hold its own particular charm, but it is when you make them uniform that onlookers will realise and appreciate the creativity of your design.

This video outlines a simple method of finishing side seams, securing & hiding the overlocking threads, if you're not adding a hem to stretch fabric projects.


Fabrics suitable for a raw edge hem must not curl. These include:

  • Swim fabric
  • Ponte
  • Scuba
  • Liverpool


Patterns you can use this method on:

  • Follow Me Wrap Dress & Skirt - flounce & hem, flounce sleeve
  • Forever Friends Wrap Skirt - flounce
  • Spellbound Dress - hem & flutter sleeves
  • Wanderlust Dress - hem & flounce sleeve
  • Heartlight Skirt - hem
  • Little Miss Heartlight Skirt - hem
  • Sashay Shorts - hem
  • Exhale Top - hem
  • In My Stride - flounce hem
  • Starlight Skirt - hem
  • Starstruck Tie Top - flounce sleeve


Tools: Rotary Blade* & Quick Unpick. 

*Note: A rotary blade is a useful tool to have in your sewing kit. Whilst it's not essential for an unfinished hem, it will make the edge look much smoother & cleaner. It also makes cutting out your sewing projects much faster. I use mine on everything. Just make sure you have a cutting mat underneath. 



Step 1: Create an Even Hem Line

To get started, you want to make sure that the line of your hem is nice and even. You can do this by placing the garment atop a cutting mat, and using a sharp, rotary blade to run across the raw edge hem and cut an even line.

Step 2: Unpick the Overlocking Threads

It is likely that you will then have some excess fabric, which can prove unsightly and leave the unfinished seams liable to come loose. The simple fix is to unpick the overlocking area right up to the edge where the shortest hem finishes.

Step 3: Cut Away Excess Material for an Even Raw Edge Hem

Next, take your blade again and trim the excess of the hem away to make the line more even again, making sure to keep your threads long and well clear of the blade. It helps to get a long enough line when you are cutting so it is nice and smooth, as well as gives you more room to work without risking cutting your threads.

Step 4: Knot & Hide Your Threads

Next, tie the threads in a double knot. To make things a bit neater, you can then hide the ends of your threads by taking a darning needle and threading all four threads through the eye of the needle. Then, proceed to insert the eye of the needle under the overlocking threads, going backwards as far as you can before pulling out.

Alternatively, you could also choose to put all four threads neatly together, and run a little stitch down using a straight stitch on your sewing machine.

Step 5: Review the Exterior for a Clean Finish

Once you turn the fabric back to the exterior, you will be left with a nice, clean finish – and voila!

Contact Pattern Emporium for Further Assistance & Inspiration with Your Raw Edge Sewing

If you would like to learn more about raw edge sewing and getting the most out of your unfinished seams, review the selection of tips, ideas, designs and knit fabric sewing patterns available at Pattern Emporium. We offer a range of items to help build both your skill level and wardrobe, including the Crush on Me Tee & Dress, Heartlight Skirt, and the Spellbound Fit & Flare Dress. For more information or to discuss your specific needs, contact us directly by completing our simple, online enquiry form.

 Sewing tips - Raw edge hem