sew perfect knit hem

Mastering the Art of Sewing Perfect Knit Hems: A Fail-Proof Guide

We’re going to learn all about sewing nice, clean hems on knit fabrics like t-shirts or stretchy pants. Here are the key points we’ll cover:

  • What a knit fabric and why it needs a special hemming technique
  • The easy steps to sew a stretchy knit hem that won’t pucker or bunch up
  • Tips for getting really neat, professional-looking knit hems

Ready to get started? Let’s go!

What Is Knit Fabric?

Knit fabrics are made by looping yarns together instead of weaving them. This creates a flexible material that can stretch out and return to its original shape. T-shirt material, sweatshirt fleece, and yoga pants are all examples of knits.

Because knits are so stretchy, you can’t just sew a regular hem on them. The stitches would pop, and the fabric would pucker all around. Knits need a special stretchy hem to look nice and smooth.

How To Sew A Stretchy Knit Hem

How To Sew A Stretchy Knit Hem
Photo credit: freepik

Here are the steps for hemming knit fabric pieces:

  1. Finish the raw edge first by sewing a line of zig-zag stitches or using an overlock foot. This stops the fabric from fraying.
  2. Next, fold the raw edge up towards the wrong side of the fabric. Make a 1/4 inch fold first, then fold it up again to create a double fold hem.
  3. Using a narrow zig-zag stitch, sew along the edge securing the double fold  hem in place. Go slowly and gently stretch the fabric as you sew. This allows the stitches to stretch with the knit.
  4. Give the finished hem a little tug from both ends to distribute the stretchy stitches evenly.

That’s it! With some practice, you can sew stretchy knit hems that look store-bought.

Knit Hem Tips

Here are some extra tips for perfect knit hems:

  • Use a walking foot or adhesive sprays to keep knits from stretching out while sewing.
  • For extra stretch, use a triple zig-zag stitch or stretch stitch on your machine.
  • Match your needle size to the thickness/weight of the knit fabric.
  • Wash and dry your knit piece before hemming so it’s already preshrunk.

With some care, you can get professional knit hems every time!


What is a knit fabric?

Knit fabrics are made by looping yarns together, creating a stretchy material that can be found in t-shirts, sweatshirts, and yoga pants.

Why do knit fabrics need a special hemming technique?

Regular stitches on knit fabrics can pop and cause puckering. Knits require stretchy stitches that can move with the fabric.

How do you sew a stretchy knit hem?

Finish the raw edge first, then create a double-fold hem. Sew with a narrow zig-zag stitch, gently stretching the fabric as you sew.


Sewing hems on stretchy knit fabrics is easy once you get the hang of it. The key is using a zig-zag or stretch stitch that can move with the knit as it stretches. As long as you go slowly and gently stretch the fabric as you sew, you’ll get clean, pucker-free hems.

Give it a try on an old t-shirt or tank top first. Once you master the knit hemming technique, you’ll be able to hem all your favourite stretchy clothes! What knit projects will you work on first?


Main image: freepik

Priti Nandy
Priti Nandy
Articles: 249

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