THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

October 19, 2006

Rolled hem feet

Filed under: Sewing Machine Accessories,Tutorials — Gigi @ 6:23 am

After I posted my tutorial on machine rolled hems, I was asked about sizes of hemming feet. This photo shows some of the feet from my collection. From the left, they are: a straight-stitch hemmer and four various zigzag or shell hemmers (don’t feel bad, I’ve never been able to tell a difference between the two). Personally, I think the straight-stitch hemmer is not really necessary – I’ve actually never used it. The narrower zigzag hemmers are handy for very fine fabrics such as silk chiffon *but* this is not my preferred method so, again, I rarely use these hemmers. The ones that I actually use the most are the two on the far right. The narrower one is great for making shell and lettuce hems on fine knits and lingerie and the wider one is perfect for napkins and shirts. If I had to choose just one, I’d choose the wider one as I think it’s the most useful all around.


  1. Lovely sewnographic display!

    Comment by Georgene — October 19, 2006 @ 10:51 am

  2. Thanks, Gigi! This answers my question perfectly!

    Comment by Lorna — October 19, 2006 @ 2:18 pm

  3. I agree – they are almost indistinguishable. But when upended, as in your super photograph, they reveal that the straightstitch has a small round needlehole and the others have the diagonal slot that permits a zigzag. I too can’t think in what circumstances a straight stitch foot would be better than a zigzag for a hemmer. If using very fine fabric that gets sucked down, a straight stitch needleplate, with the needle carefully positioned to go into the hole, would surely be better than a non-versatile presser foot. Anne

    Comment by Anne Frances — October 20, 2006 @ 1:36 am

  4. Oh no! There is more than one kind of hemmer? Your graphic made me take a second look at the one that came with my machine. It has a wider opening, so I assume this means I can use it with a narrow zigzag stitch also. Still, I think it is time to pull out the manual and actually read about this foot. I’ve only had the machine for 13 years, so this should be a good time to do that!

    Comment by Linda — October 21, 2006 @ 3:40 pm

  5. Hi Gigi,

    I was wondering what is your technique for hemming silk chiffon? I have been trying to use a 2mm hemmer foot and it is nearly impossible:( Any tips would be much appreciated!

    Comment by Nikki — April 29, 2009 @ 10:20 pm

  6. The difference between a hemming foot and a rolled shell foot is the hemming foot has the straight stitch hole. You use the zig-zag to allow for the thread to go off the edge of the fabric and slightly pull back creating a shell effect along the edge.

    Comment by Phil LaFollette — July 27, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

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