5 Easy Methods You Can Hem a Shirt

Imagine yourself on a sunny day and come across a fabulous t-shirt you like to add to your wardrobe. But here’s a dilemma. You’re supposed to be favorite t-shirt is practically hanging on your knees once you put it on.

And yes, I can relate to that since I’ve been there too. But the excellent news is that you do not have to let go of cute and beautiful t-shirts just because they don’t fit. You can always hem a shirt. Yes, you heard me right!

So, without further introduction, here are some simple hemstitching methods you can do to hem your shirt at home easily. But first, here’s a quick stop at how much it usually costs to have your shirts stitched.

How Much Will It Cost to Hem a Shirt?

Having your t-shirts hemmed would, of course, cost you. But it varies depending on the tailor shop you go to. The starting price for sewing a shirt is around $6.50 to $40. But if you want to shorten the entire shirt, that will be much pricier, from $25 to $35.

On top of everything, if your favorite shirt needs more than a simple, circular hem, you might expect the shop to charge you more. So, I am trying to say that having our shirts hemmed can cost you a few bucks.

But if you don’t want any hassle, and twists and turns, here are the five easy methods you can do at home. Keep on reading!

The Top Five Easy Methods to do When Hemming a Shirt

Hem a Shirt

The most popular way to hem a shirt is by using a serger and creating a permanent hem with a shorter length. On the other hand, you can always use a sewing machine.

Other quick but functional methods would be stitching by your hand or utilizing a handy hem tape on the side. Let’s look more into details on the five easy ways and see what will work best for you.

1. Using a Sewing Machine

Hemming a t-shirt using a sewing machine is arguably the best method. With this tool, you can give your shirts a professional and store-bought vibe. On top of everything, this hemming technique would not jive with your busy schedule as it would not take too much of your time.

But the thing is, sewing machines cannot usually work around fabrics having stretchy materials such as knits. So, if you encounter that, you can pick the stretch stitch or zigzag stitch option.

Do you want to hem your shirt with the sewing machine? Follow these steps!

  • At the onset, you can try the shirt again. With a fabric marker like chalks, mark and make a new length that you prefer on the shirt’s inner material.
  • Afterward, lay off the shirt flat, and measure a line on the shirt’s bottom ½ longer than the first mark you created. This second mark is essential so you can have again ½ inch where you can make a new hem.
  • Thirdly, start cutting the short’s bottom, following the markings you created. Then from the new base of your shirt, measure again another ½ inch.
  • Fold the shirt’s bottom edge upwards, meeting the new line, and press the fold gently with an iron. Here’s our pro tip: it will be helpful to use some clips or sewing pins to keep the iron in place.
  • Start threading your sewing machine using cotton thread that matches your t-shirt’s color. Set your sewing machine with a stretch stitch or flat-zigzag stitch.
  • Finally, start sewing on the new side seam of your shirt.

For more detailed guidelines on how to shorten or hem a knit shirt with sewing machines, look at this YouTube video.

2. With a Serger

And now if you have your serger at home or there’s one readily available for you, that’s good news. Indeed, a serger is super helpful when hemming a shirt. Once you try the machine, you’ll realize that the serger produces a clean hemmed edge compared to other usual hems. Here are the guidelines to follow if you plan to use a serger.

  • If you only need basic hemming, start to set your serger for overlock stitch. On the other hand, if your shirt has lighter fabric and needs much-polished hemming, put your serger into rolled stitch mode.
  • The next step is to trim your fabric as neatly as possible in the length you prefer. If you don’t like to fold your fabric, keep your shirt within ¼ of your desired finished measurement.
  • Thirdly, try a few stitches on your serger without putting your t-shirt in the machine. This step is essential to create a stitch pattern to kick off your hemming process.
  • Once ready, slide the shirt into the serger, keeping the edge firmed with the serger knife.
  • Slowly serge down one entire side and pull the t-shirt out. But still, continue stitching for one or two inches more for another stitch pattern. If you’re hemming a shirt with corners, it’s best to have a new seam for every edge.

3. Without a Sewing Machine

While the sewing machine is so functional when hemming a shirt, having none is not a problem! And if the idea of stitching your shirt by hand doesn’t sit with you, here’s a modern invention. Why not try to use a hem tape instead? Here are things to do when hemming a shirt without the sewing machine.

  • Wear your shirt while turning it inside out. After that, note the preferred length that you want. Then, start measuring the line across your shirt, making a marking ½ lower than your select length.
  • Cut along the line you created like you’re sewing a hem. Once you’re done, measure ½ inch from your shirt’s raw edge and fold it ½ inch.
  • Measure the shirt’s bottom width and carefully cut a piece of hem two times the length. Then, you can unfold ½ inch.
  • Fourthly, start smoothing the hem tape along the inner part of the folded edge. Once again, press the border to seal the hem tape between the shirt’s inside and the ½-inch fold.
  • You may iron the folded edge while going around the shirt’s bottom. If necessary, you might repeat the ironing method to keep the hem tape firmed and fused.

4. By Hand

hand sew shirt

Of course, there would be times that a sewing machine or even a serger is inaccessible. On top of that, you can’t find hem tapes everywhere. But if your shirt needs a quick fix, you will find the needle and thread very handy. So, here are a few steps to hem a t-shirt by hand.

  • The initial step you can do is to iron your shirt to eliminate wrinkles. Also, ironing will ensure the same folds for the hem.
  • Then, it would be best to wear your shirt in front of the mirror. After that, start marking the spot where you want the new hem.
  • You can turn your t-shirt inside out. Fold its edge in an outward manner along its hemline. Once you’re done, pick the type of stitch you like to use. You can use either whipstitch, catchstitch, or slipstitch.

A whipstitch is fast since it can quickly unravel and expose it. On the other hand, there are some benefits to using a catch stitch since its elastic and durable.

But if you want to keep your hem cleanly come out, you may use a slip stitch. Using slipstitch will make the seams neat and trim on both sides.

  • Finally, you can thread your needle and start sewing. Always remember that keeping stitches spaced while sewing a hem for clean outcomes will be best.
  • And last but not least, you may stitch your shirt’s folded edge along its hemline. Continue until you get to the seam that you want. Once you’re accomplished, tie the thread for the finishing knot.

For a more detailed guide, you can stream this video tutorial on hemming a shirt by hand brought to us by Sewn Company.

5. With Hemming Machine

Ultimately, when hemming a shirt, you can always use a hemming machine or cover stitch machine. You’ll get a hint that hemming machines produce neat hems. So, if you’re fortunate enough and own a hemming machine, follow these steps!

  • Start on the essential step of putting on your favorite shirt. As usual, mark your desired length, and take the shirt back. Then, start measuring 1 inch longer than your preferred length, and slowly cut along this line.
  • Secondly, carefully press the edge. Use an iron to make a nice and sharp fold. You may use sewing clips or pins to keep the fold firm and steady as you sew.
  • Afterward, set your hemming machine with two needles. And here’s the advantage. Cover stitch machines are not tricky to use. They don’t have complicated settings, making hemstitch relatively easy.
  • Lastly, sew the entire circle of the hem. Release the threads once you’re done covering the stitched circle.

Ending Thoughts

We all can agree that a one-sized t-shirt is not suited for everybody. After all, we have a unique body and torso length. But luckily, there are easy methods on how one can hem a shirt.

So, if you like to alter or hem that cute shirt you find in the mall or on your online shopping spree, there’s no stopping you. Try our list of top five easy methods to hem a shirt.


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