Back 2 Basics, Sewing, Tutorial

Tutorial: How to change a straight hem to a split hem

Happy Friday! Man, this daily posting thing is tough. But I did manage to eek out my fifth t-shirt hack for the week, turning a straight hem into a split hem.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

This particular hack is simple enough that you don’t even have to alter your flat pattern pieces.  The hack is primarily in the construction, rather than the actual pattern drafting.

So let’s get down to it!

Cutting your fabric:

1.  Frequently split hem tees are a little longer than a standard tee, but there’s no reason they have to be.  I decided to lengthen mine 2″ in the front and 4″ in the back.

2.  Cut your pattern pieces, adding any additional lengthen on the front and back hems:

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem
Front hem. I added 2″.
Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem
Back hem. I added 4″.

Construction:

1.  Sew the neckline per the pattern instructions (or hack of your choice) and attach sleeves if you are using them.

2.  Sew the side seams on a sewing machine.  This is important because you’re going to need to press that side seam open, which you can’t do on a serger.  Stop stitching where you want the split hem to open.  On my shirt, I stopped it 3″ above the bottom of my piece on the front and 5″ on the back (accounting for the 1″ hem allowance).  In hindsight, I wish I’d stopped it 1-2″ further up.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

3.  Press the side seams open.  Press the sides of the pieces all the way down.  That means that the vent part of the shirt will be pressed to the wrong side of the shirt by the amount of your seam allowance.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

4.  Press your hem up to the wrong side of your tee.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem
Side seams pressed open and my 1″ hem allowance pressed up.

5.  Now we’re going to make the corners of our vent/hem nice and pointy.  To do that, flatten out the hem of your tee (with your fingers, not your iron.  We want to keep the creases we just pressed in to the fabric).  Flip your hem allowance up to the outside of your shirt so that the right sides of the fabric are touching.  Find the crease by the vent where you pressed the side seam open (it should be 3/8″ to 1/2″ over, depending on the seam allowance on your pattern.  Stitch along that crease to secure the corner of the hem.  You will only be stitching about 1″ at the edges of the vent.  Repeat on all 4 corners.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

6.  Flip the corners so that the corners have a nice point, and your hem and seam allowance are back on the inside of your shirt.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

7.  Hem your shirt.  Start at one of the corners and go across the bottom, up and around one side vent (I like to backstitch a few times at the top of the vent to secure it), across the other bottom, and then around the other side vent.  If you can pivot on your cover stitch, you can certainly use that.  I like to use a stretch stitch on the bottom hem, switching to a straight stitch around the vent.  A straight stretch stitch (or triple stitch) would work well too.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

8.  Press the hem to set the stitches and flatten it all out.

Voila!  A split hem is far easier than it looks.

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

Creative Counselor: Straight hem to split hem

Don’t forget that you can pick up the Only Tee (affiliate link) for 35% off with the code “B2B” and be sure to link up your basic makes here.

All fabrics in this post are sponsored by Simply by Ti Fabrics.

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