Conquering the Narrow Hem Foot

In order to finish my latest project, a dress made from Simplicity 1881, I decided I would learn to use my narrow hem presser foot for my Brother CS6000i sewing machine.

This saga actually began a while ago, when I received my first narrow hem foot, sometime last year.  I stuck it on my machine, read the instructions, tried to use it on some scraps, failed miserably, cursed like a sailor, and decided after 30 minutes of trying to figure the little device out that I could have already completed whatever project I was working on if I hadn’t tried the “shortcut” method.  Not long after this disaster session, I proceeded to misplace the presser foot so that I could not suffer the experience again.  (I did not really lose the presser foot on purpose … definitely did not want to have to repurchase it.)

I recently bought a new narrow hem foot, and finally got around to sewing something where I needed to use it.

I grabbed some scrap fabric and, instructions in hand, plodded on through a few trials.


OK.  So Trial #1 looks like Penny (the dog) was trying to use my sewing machine – she wasn’t.  We can’t all be perfect.  This isn’t even a remotely good hem, much less a narrow one.

However, Trial #2 showed some promise.  I struggled a little bit trying to get the appropriate amount of fabric into the curled part of the foot and maintain it, but I could tell I had finally done something correct with this foot.

Let me give you a few tips that really helped me figure out the narrow hem foot:

1)  The fabric you are sewing is placed in your machine with the WRONG SIDE UP.  I totally missed this information the first time around, which probably explains why I was ready to scrap my machine for parts that day.

2)  Use your left hand to help guide the fabric into the curled part of the foot as you are stitching.  As the machine is pulling the fabric through, you can use your index finger to help the fabric properly set itself up to be curled under.  I don’t have a great picture of this, so I apologize.  But it really helped me.  Below is what the fabric should look like from the front as you are feeding it through.



I also took a picture from a side angle.  See how the fabric is getting more curled, almost folded, as it nears the foot?



I decided I was ready to actually hem my sundress.  It went pretty well.  The only thing that I found problematic was hemming over the side seams of the skirt … they seemed too thick to fit through the curled part of the foot.  I kinda forced it a little, but I don’t recommend this to anyone.  In fact, in the future, I intend to try to do all of my narrow hemming prior to stitching pieces together.  If anyone has any tips for this, I would love to hear suggestions.  Or at least others commiserating with this particular woe.

Regardless, here is the finished hem, from the inside of the dress and the outside.  Look how tiny!  And very neat.  I could never have achieved something so pretty without this presser foot.


In case my help wasn’t able to get you on your way with your narrow hem foot, maybe this tutorial will help.

Alas, I promised a finalized picture of the sundress, but I haven’t taken any yet.  When I wear it for the first time, I promise to take pictures and post them here.


2 comments for “Conquering the Narrow Hem Foot

  1. February 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Hooray! I really need one of these suckers. Congrats on figuring out this mystery, bud.

    • Tyraenna
      February 5, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      You’ll have to borrow mine in the meanwhile. Now that I know how it works, it is GLORIOUS!


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