How to Hem a Sweater by Sewing

By Christine Brown ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Cloth measuring tape
  • Straight pins
  • Marking chalk
  • Sewing machine
  • Ballpoint needle
Hemming knitted fabrics is similar to hemming other kinds of fabrics.

Hemming a sweater is not much different than hemming anything else, but there are a few pitfalls. You have to be careful not to let the fabric unravel when you cut it, and if the sweater is extra bulky, you could have a problem with the thick hem. If you sew the hem on a sewing machine, you also need a specialized needle for the job.

Measure the length you want the sweater while it is on the body of the person who will be wearing it. Mark the length every inch along the bottom of the sweater, using the chalk. Turn up the edge and pin it in place. Remove the sweater and turn it inside out.

Replace the sewing machine needle with a ballpoint needle specially designed for working with knits. Set the stitch to the narrowest zigzag on the machine. Ensure it is a medium stitch length.

Stitch along the marked line with a 1/4-inch seam allowance, removing pins as you go. Proceed slowly and avoid pulling the fabric through the machine. Let it go at its own pace.

Remove the sweater from the sewing machine and carefully cut away the excess sweater from the bottom, leaving 1/4 inch along the stitch line.

Tip

Sewing a hem works best on thin sweaters.You can knit a hem using a completely different method on thicker sweaters. You can hand-stitch the hem instead, using very small, tight stitches so the sweater fabric won't unravel.

About the Author

Christine Brown has worked for various Midwest newspapers since 1996, including the "Chicago Sun-Times." She is currently a craft blogger and curator of craft tutorials for an online publication, specializing in knitting, paper crafts, printmaking and paper mache. Brown holds a B.A. in journalism and anthropology from the University of Arizona.