Hello! Today, we have Linda Lee, founder of The Sewing Workshop pattern company, kicking off a series of sewing tutorials for us. She is here to teach you about pressing fabric using templates. Have you tried this method before? We hope you learn something new!

As you might imagine, over the last 25 years of publishing patterns, I have sewn a lot, and I have picked up many tricks that helped my sewing become more proficient as well as efficient. Today I want to share with you one of my favorite techniques, hemming using pressing templates. This is such a simple idea, but one that makes a big difference when you are trying to create even hems.

Using a template made from tagboard, which is lightweight cardboard similar to a standard file folder, helps you create a consistent edge in bands, hems, and pockets. Templates can be made in a variety of shapes, widths and lengths.

This is a versatile technique that you can use with woven or knit projects. We use this trick so much that we actually have started including it in our published pattern instructions. Our two newest patterns, the Memphis Dress (designed for knits) and the Zayn Top (designed for wovens and knits) both include pressing template tips.

This idea isn’t just for garment sewers, pressing templates can be used on any project. Whether you are sewing a knit skirt or a set of linen placemats, I hope this technique makes your sewing that much simpler.


Prepare two templates, one the size of your hem allowance, the other ¼  inch to an ½ inch narrower by the length of the tagboard.

 Pressing-With-Templates-1 Pressing-With-Templates-2


Using templates when pressing hems in stable, woven fabrics such as cotton or linen is certainly handy and helps to simplify the hemming process, but they are absolutely essential when trying to control slippery fabrics such as silk charmeuse or chiffon.


Our new Zayn digital pattern can be made with a woven or knit fabric. In this woven version we have used the hem template method to create the crisp hem. Want to make one for yourself? Find the pattern and fabric on our website.

1. With the wrong side of the fabric up, place the wider template along the hem foldline. Fold the hem up to the top edge of the template along the hem foldline, then press along the template edge. Continue folding and pressing by moving the template along the edge. Note! Before hemming, be sure to finish your raw edges with your preferred method.


2. Open the pressed hem. Using the narrower template, place the top edge of the template on the foldline of the pressed hem, then press the raw edge of the fabric up and over the bottom edge of the template to form a second foldline.


3. With wrong sides together and using silk thread, baste the hem along the inner fold. The stitches on the right side of the hem should be longer than the stitches on the back or inside of the hem. Use silk thread for basting because it is easy to remove and it does not leave press marks in the fabric.

4. Draw a line on the right side of the fabric using a straightedge and a thin chalk marker, then topstitch along the marked line. The length of the topstitch should coordinate with the weight of the fabric. Finer fabrics use shorter stitch lengths, while heavier fabrics use longer stitch lengths.


Hems can be created in knit fabrics using templates and lightweight fusible interfacing such as Fusi-Web. This technique prevents stretching and rippling during the finishing phase of your project.


Our new Memphis Dress pattern made in a stripe knit, using the Hemming with Templates & Fusi-Web technique. Want to make your own? Find the pattern and fabric on our website!

1. Prepare one tagboard template that is the width of the finished hem. *Note: While the raw edges of knits can be left unfinished, if you are planning to finish your edges, that should be done before hemming.

2. Mark the project hemline. With the wrong side up, place the template along the foldline, then fold the hem up to the top edge of the template and press. Taking care not to stretch the fabric, continue to press as you move the template along the length of the hem.


3. Cut a strip of Fusi-Web that is the length of each major section of the hem.

4. With the paper side up, press the Fusi-Web to the inside raw edges of the hem allowance. Remove the paper.


5. Press the hem up to fuse it in place in preparation for topstitching.

6. With the right side of the project up, topstitch the hem. I use a walking foot to help evenly feed the fabric through the machine.

For more great sewing techniques, see my Sew Confident tutorial collection. Whether you are looking for basic sewing lessons or couture sewing techniques, we have it all. With Sew Confident you can create your own personalized library of sewing education!