Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along

tea & crumpet sew-along: hems, belt, & finishing

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along

Hello and welcome to day six of our sew-along – our final post! You will need:

1. Your constructed dress
2. Your ban-roll (about 5 yards should be adequate)
3. Your belt pattern piece(s)
4. Your thread or embroidery floss for belt carriers

You can do it!
You Can Do It! And as always: remember to direct any questions in the Facebook group associated with this sew-along.

We are in the home-stretch of our dress! In our last entry we installed our lining and collar. Today we’re finishing up our hems, belt, and carriers.

Now, there are so many ways to hem a dress. The method(s) you use will depend on your fabrics, the desired effect (with hand-picked being the most formal; topstitched being more casual), and your skill. You also might – as in the case with my striped knit version of this dress (here’s the muslin, before I constructed the dress) and the lining for my wool crepe – decide not to hem the shell and/or lining – leaving a raw edge.

Back when we first got into the project, I touched on hem finishes. You may stitch at 1/4″ or so, then cut at 1/8″, then use the threadline to fold. You may use a serger in similar fashion – as a way to firm up a foldline. Or narrow-serge then press up for a single-fold. You might use starch. You might sew by hand.

Point is? There are many tutorials online showing how to create a narrow hem.  Today I will be demonstrating making a baby hem with ban-roll.

What is ban-roll? It’s a waistband stabilizer, firmer than waistband interfacing. It comes in several widths and is very inexpensive. You cut one of the long threads, and pull out a few of them, to create a little “ladder” to sew along, and therfore stabilize that first fold. Then you can trim, re-fold, and sew your second seam. Finally, you remove the ban-roll – and can put it aside to use again!

So first, carefully cut off the first couple long strips, and tear them out of the long strip. I usually remove enough for a 3/8″ wide “ladder” (shown in the second picture below):


Next, place the exposed “ladder” to the hem, right side of the fabric. Stitch adjacent to the first remaining long fiber – but do not stitch on top of it, or you won’t be able to remove the ban-roll later. Sew slowly, here! A perfect hem is worth it!

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Preparing The Pattern

Note I’m stitching about 3/8″ from the raw edge of the fabric. You can also stitch right at the raw edge, but I like the stabilizing effect of having a longer raw edge overhang – you can see this edge lines right up with my presser foot. This also helps keep the hem even.

Now, carefully trim any excess – fabric only! – from the hem:

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Preparing The Pattern

Next, fold to the wrong-side of the fabric, and snug up the fold. You know have a scant 3/8″ to 1/8″ hem (depending on your ladder and stitch placement:

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Preparing The Pattern

Stitch right on top of the whole shebang, right-sides up! Again, sew slowly to place those stitches  – in this case, about 1/32″ from the inner folded edge:

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Preparing The Pattern

Then, carefully remove the ban-roll. It comes right out, and looks as good as new! A simple press on the finished hem, and you’re all set!

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Preparing The Pattern
It’s really quite amazing! Like dark magic!


Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along

Before moving on: there are other methods that are similar, with other mediums besides ban-roll. For instance, Kenneth D. King showcased a method using stabilizer; you can find tutorials online that use this method or variations of it.

I encourage you to experiment with hem finishes as it’s wonderful to have several skillsets to bring to bear!

For our belt, I recommend using some form of interfacing for the entitreity of the belt pattern piece. I have also found I like to sew the long edge and leave a gap:

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Hems, Belt, & Finishing
Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Hems, Belt, & Finishing

I then press the seam allowance open (using the tip of the iron so I don’t press any other part of the tube), turn the belt right-side out, and press such that the seam runs down the middle of the underside of the belt. I then sew up the gap, and finish the short edges by hand. I have been doing this with simple fabric belts for some time, and they all seem to hold up well and perform beautifully. Here is the silk version (this version is not interfaced) just before turning right-side out:

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Hems, Belt, & Finishing

After you’ve pressed and finished the belt, we’re on to the last lovely step – crocheting belt carriers! I use between two to four lengths of DMC cotton. There are many tutorials on how to crochet belt loopsthis one by Suzanne Beubien shows the basic premise; or if you prefer a photo-tutorial, try this one by Mirela Popovici. (Here’s an example of belt loops by machine!)

What you will notice is, I like big fatty belt carriers – all the examples shown below use four lengths of the DMC:

Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Hems, Belt, & Finishing
Tea & Crumpet Sew-Along: Hems, Belt, & Finishing
Bootstrap Fashion: Draped Sheath Dress

Gorgeous, no?


So there we have it! Your dress is completed! Go you!

Thank you everyone who has participated, sent in comments, and “liked” on Facebook! I love putting together these tutorials, and I will keep doing so as long as I’m able.

A reminder: in a few days, I’m starting up an Elevation hoodie sew-along – hosted on my blog, starting May 1st. This hoodie is gorgeous and comes in a children’s or women’s fit, with a men’s fit on its way. I look forward to seeing you soon!

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