Step-by-Step Guide: How to Hem a Knitted Sweater

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Hem a Knitted Sweater

Knitting your own sweater can be a rewarding and fulfilling project. However, one of the final steps in completing your sweater is to hem it properly. Hemming a knitted sweater is important to give it a finished and polished look. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of hemming your knitted sweater.

Step 1: Prepare your materials

Before you begin hemming your knitted sweater, gather all the necessary materials. You will need a tapestry needle, scissors, and matching yarn or thread. It is important to choose thread or yarn that matches the color of your sweater to ensure a seamless finish.

Step 2: Measure and mark the desired length

Using a measuring tape, determine the desired length for your sweater’s hem. Once you have determined the length, mark it with pins or fabric chalk. This will serve as a guide as you sew the hem.

Step 3: Fold and secure the hem

Take the bottom edge of your sweater and fold it up towards the wrong side of the fabric, using the marked line as a guide. Pin or baste the folded edge to the wrong side of the sweater to secure it in place. This will ensure that your hem stays in place as you sew it.

Pro tip: To achieve a clean and neat hem, press the folded edge with a steam iron before pinning or basting it.

Step 4: Sew the hem

Thread your tapestry needle with the matching yarn or thread, and begin sewing the hem. Start at one end of the hem and use a whipstitch or a slipstitch to attach the folded edge to the wrong side of the sweater. Take small stitches and ensure that your stitches are even and neat.

Step 5: Finish and secure the hem

Once you have sewn the entire hem, finish by securing the thread or yarn. Tie a secure knot at the end of your stitching and weave the ends of the thread or yarn securely into the wrong side of the sweater. This will prevent any loose threads from unraveling.

Following these step-by-step instructions will help you achieve a professional and polished look for your knitted sweater. With a well-hemmed sweater, you can confidently wear and showcase your knitting skills.

Choosing the Right Yarn

When hemming a knitted sweater, it is important to choose the right yarn for the task. The type of yarn you use will determine the overall look and feel of the finished hem. Here are some factors to consider when selecting the yarn:

  • Weight: The weight of the yarn refers to its thickness. For a hem, it is recommended to use a yarn that matches the weight of the rest of the sweater. This will ensure that the hem blends seamlessly with the rest of the garment.
  • Fiber content: Different fibers have different properties, such as stretchiness, durability, and warmth. Consider the desired characteristics of the finished hem when choosing the yarn fiber content. For example, if you want a stretchy hem that will bounce back into shape, opt for a yarn that contains some amount of elastic fiber.
  • Color: The color of the yarn will also affect the final look of the hem. Choose a color that complements or matches the sweater. Alternatively, you can also opt for a contrasting color for a fun and unique look.

It is always a good idea to swatch with the chosen yarn before starting the hemming process. This will give you an idea of how the yarn works with your knitting and whether you are happy with the gauge and appearance of the swatch.

Overall, choosing the right yarn is crucial in achieving a professional-looking hem on your knitted sweater. Take into consideration the weight, fiber content, and color of the yarn to ensure a seamless and visually appealing finish.

Preparing the Sweater

Before you begin hemming your knitted sweater, it’s important to make sure that it is clean and dry. This will ensure that you have a smooth and even hem. Here are the steps to prepare your sweater:

  • Inspect the sweater for any loose threads or knots. These should be fixed before hemming to ensure a neat finish.
  • If there are any stains on the sweater, pretreat them according to the garment care instructions. It’s best to remove any stains before hemming, as the process may cause the stain to set.
  • Measure the desired length of the sweater. Use a tape measure to determine where you want the hem to fall. Mark this spot with a pin or a fabric marker.
  • If necessary, block the sweater to reshape it. Blocking can help even out any uneven stitches and make the hemming process easier.
  • Prepare your workspace by clearing a flat surface where you can lay the sweater. Make sure the surface is clean and free of any debris that could transfer onto the sweater.
  • Gather the necessary tools for hemming, including a sewing needle, matching thread, and scissors. It’s also helpful to have pins or clips to hold the hem in place while you sew.

Once you have completed these preparation steps, you are ready to move on to the next stage of hemming your knitted sweater. In the following sections, we will cover the hemming process in detail.

Measuring and Marking

Measuring and Marking

Before you start hemming your knitted sweater, it’s important to measure and mark the areas that need to be adjusted. This will ensure that your finished hem is even and the length of your sweater is just right.

What you’ll need:

  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins
  • Chalk or fabric marker

Follow these steps to measure and mark your sweater:

  1. Put the sweater on and stand in front of a mirror to assess the length.
  2. Decide on the desired length for your sweater. You can measure the length of a similar sweater that fits you well or use a tape measure to determine the desired length.
  3. Once you have determined the desired length, use the tape measure to measure equal distances up from the existing hemline on both the front and back of the sweater. For example, if you want to shorten the sweater by 2 inches, measure 2 inches up from the existing hemline and place a pin at that point.
  4. Repeat the above step at various points around the sweater, ensuring that the distances between the pins are consistent. This will help you maintain an even hemline.
  5. Once you have placed pins all around the sweater at the desired length, carefully remove the sweater without disturbing the pins.
  6. Using a chalk or fabric marker, draw a faint line connecting the pins all around the sweater. This line will act as a guide for your sewing.
  7. Double-check the markings to ensure they are even and that the length is as desired.

Now that you have measured and marked the sweater, you are ready to move on to the next step, which is preparing the sweater for hemming.

Creating the Hem

Creating the Hem

To create the hem of your knitted sweater, follow these steps:

  1. First, fold the bottom edge of the sweater up to the desired length for the hem. It’s recommended to fold it up about 1-2 inches to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
  2. Pin the folded edge of the hem in place using sewing pins. Make sure to distribute the pins evenly around the edge to keep the fold secure.
  3. Using a matching yarn or thread, begin sewing the hem in place. You can use a needle and thread or a yarn needle, depending on what you have available and what will work best with the fabric of your sweater.
  4. Start sewing from one side of the hem and work your way around to the other side. Use a simple straight stitch to secure the hem in place.
  5. For added durability, consider sewing a second row of stitching close to the folded edge. This will help reinforce the hem and ensure it stays in place during wear and washing.
  6. Once you have finished sewing the hem, remove the pins and trim any excess yarn or thread.
  7. If desired, you can also press the hem with an iron on a low heat setting to give it a crisp and neat appearance.
  8. Your hem is now complete! Try on the sweater to ensure the hem sits at the desired length and adjust if necessary.

Creating a hem for your knitted sweater is a simple process that can give your garment a polished and finished look. Follow these steps carefully, and you’ll have a professionally hemmed sweater in no time!

Sewing the Hem

Once you have measured and marked the hemline of your knitted sweater, it’s time to sew the hem. Follow these step-by-step instructions to ensure a clean and professional finish:

  1. Thread your needle: Choose a sewing needle that is suitable for your yarn weight. Thread the needle with a matching thread color.
  2. Knot the end of the thread: Make a small knot at the end of the thread to prevent it from slipping through the sweater.
  3. Begin sewing: Start sewing from the inside of the sweater, positioning the needle just below the hemline. Take a small stitch through the fabric, being careful not to catch the yarn strands. Pull the thread through, leaving a small tail on the inside.
  4. Continue sewing: Move to the next stitch along the hemline, taking small and even stitches. Make sure to keep the tension even, neither too tight nor too loose.
  5. Catch the yarn strands: As you sew, make sure to catch the yarn strands of the sweater with the needle. This will secure the hem and prevent it from unraveling.
  6. Secure the end: When you reach the starting point, take a couple of extra stitches and then make a knot on the inside of the sweater. Trim any excess thread.
  7. Press the hem: After sewing, gently press the hem with a warm iron to make it lay flat and neat. Be careful not to press too heavily or you might flatten the stitches.

Remember, take your time and sew with care to achieve a professional-looking hemline on your knitted sweater. With a little practice, you’ll be able to hem your sweaters with confidence!

Pressing the Hem

After you have sewn the hem in place, it’s important to press it properly to give it a polished finished look. Here is how to do it:

  1. Prepare your iron: Make sure your iron is clean and in good working condition. Set it to the appropriate heat setting for your fabric – consult the care label if you are unsure.
  2. Use a pressing cloth: Place a pressing cloth, such as a thin piece of cotton or muslin, over the hem to protect the fabric.
  3. Pre-press the hem: Before applying the iron directly on the hem, give it a quick pre-press without any steam. This helps to set the stitches in place.
  4. Apply steam: If your fabric can handle it, apply steam to the hem by gently pressing the iron over the pressing cloth. The steam helps to relax the fibers and create a crisp hem.
  5. Be careful with delicate fabrics: If you are working with delicate knitted fabric, be cautious with the heat and steam. Test on a scrap piece of fabric first to avoid any damage.

By pressing the hem, you will achieve a clean and professional finish for your knitted sweater. Remember to always follow the care instructions provided with your garment to ensure longevity.

Finishing Touch

After completing the hemming process, there are a few finishing touches you can do to give your knitted sweater a polished look. These steps are optional, but they can make a big difference in the overall appearance of your finished project.

  1. Weave in loose ends: Take the time to weave in any loose ends from joining yarn or finishing off stitches. Use a yarn needle and weave the yarn along the back of the stitches, making sure it is secure and does not show through the front of the sweater.
  2. Steam or block the sweater: Depending on the yarn and stitch pattern used in your sweater, steaming or blocking may be necessary to even out any inconsistencies in tension and shape. Follow the instructions on the yarn label or consult a blocking guide for the best method.
  3. Trim excess yarn: Use a pair of sharp scissors to carefully trim any excess yarn from the inside of the sweater. Be careful not to cut through any stitches. This step will give your sweater a clean finish on the inside.
  4. Check for any mistakes: Inspect your sweater for any mistakes or imperfections in the stitching. If you notice any errors, use a crochet hook or yarn needle to carefully fix them. This step will ensure that your sweater looks professional and well-made.

Once you have completed these finishing touches, your hemmed knitted sweater will be ready to wear or give as a gift. Remember to always take your time and pay attention to detail when finishing your knitting projects, as it can make all the difference in the final result.


What is hemming a knitted sweater?

Hemming a knitted sweater refers to the process of sewing or attaching a decorative border or edge to the bottom of the sweater to give it a finished look.

What materials do I need to hem a knitted sweater?

To hem a knitted sweater, you will need a sewing needle, thread that matches the color of the sweater, scissors, and pins to hold the hem in place before sewing.

How do I prepare the sweater for hemming?

To prepare the sweater for hemming, you should first try it on and decide on the desired length. Then, turn the sweater inside out and use pins to mark the desired length from the bottom. Carefully remove the sweater and lay it flat on a table or other surface.

What is the best stitch to use for hemming a knitted sweater?

The best stitch to use for hemming a knitted sweater is the whip stitch. This stitch is strong, durable, and creates a neat finish. It is also relatively easy to do, even for beginners.

Can I use a sewing machine to hem a knitted sweater?

Yes, you can use a sewing machine to hem a knitted sweater. However, it is recommended to use a zigzag stitch and a stretch needle to prevent the fabric from stretching or puckering. Alternatively, you can also use a serger machine if you have one available.


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