Skip to main content

About t-shirts and hemming with coverstitch

Pictures of the finished skirt have to wait. I want to hem my skirt with “steam a seam” tape but forgot to buy it and as most of my fabrics and notions are in storage, I had none available at all. So I spent my weekend sewing two t-shirts. The pattern is the Ann T-top from StyleArc:


I’ve made this pattern several times now and it’s a great basic. After the initial one last year (never blogged about as far as I remember) I removed the gathers in the front by folding up at waist level.

Until recently I used an old Ottobre pattern from 2007 as my base for t-shirts, which is still a great pattern. But, as you can guess, it’s in storage (by accident though).

Black and white top

Blue graphic

The neckline and hems of both t-shirts were finished with a coverstitch.

finished hem

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my Janome coverstitch for quite a long time, but have become used to it and now it’s taken out and used regularly. For a long time I did not use it properly either and on the inside you could see the edge of the hem stick out above the stitches.  Recently I saw a tip about how to make the finishing on the inside neat. Looks good doesn’t it?

inside hem

What I did was

  • Measure and press the hem at an exact distance (a sewing gauge will help)
  • Baste the hem at the very edge of the hem. I preferred hand basting but the tip I saw used long, straight machine stitches. I found those more difficult to remove afterwards when I made a sample.
    basted hem
  • Stitch while guiding your foot over the basted line
  • Carefully remove the basting thread.

I did this both for the hem of the body as for the sleeves and it works like a charm. It might be a bit more work, but the result is much better.


  1. I must try this hemming method with my cover-stitch, the end result looks very neat!
    I've just hemmed my V1465 skirt with steam-a-seam. Works like a charm.

  2. Lovely tops - and well done for persevering with your machine. I got a Janome Coverstitch a year or so ago - and I'm afraid that I don't love it. My sewing machine and serger are like extensions of my hands - but not the Coverstitch. Sigh. I may have to get to know it better as it is a rather expensive 'brick' 😔

  3. Oh, thanks for the tip... I avoid my coverstitch but this is a great tip and as usual one that is so obvious but not until someone tells you!

  4. Good that you found sewing projects - great t-shirts. I remember how hard it was to have all my supplies stored away during the moving process. I hope it doesn't take too long before you can unpack and settle in!

  5. I don't have a coverstitch (on my wish list, though) - but I have used this method for twin needle stitching on my sewing machine. I serge the edge of the hem, then press up and hand baste (I agree, hand basting is easier to remove) then guide the twin needle with the basting in the center. End result really looks like a coverstitch. - Heather

  6. I've had the same issue. I took a serging class with Angela Wolf (it wasn't great and I didn't finish) and she would have you sew below the cut edge and trim afterwards. PITA. I would rather hand baste any day. Very nice tee shirts and I will be using this on my next tee shirt.

  7. Love your tops. Thanks for the tutorial on coverstitch. I have the same machine and have a love/hate relationship with it. I have gotten better with it but like the idea of basting the hem and then stitching with it. Will have to give this a try.

  8. You could even avoid unpicking the basting stitches! If you use a water soluble basting thread. Yes, that does exist!

  9. Good tip. I'm considering purchasing a cover stitch machine because I find my twin needle hems often break after a washes.

  10. I always use a double sided tape (SewKeyes has it in different widths - I'm not connected to SewKeyes at all so have no reason to promote just be clear :) ) and find that works perfectly for hemming with my coverstitch. It presses the hem into position and just following a guide on the side it comes out perfect every time. I mention it because it is much faster if you're crimped for time.


Post a Comment

Comments are very much appreciated! I read all of them, try to answer the questions but don't always have time to react to comments.

Popular posts from this blog

How to sew a sleeveless top with facings

Edit to make this post only about the technique, not my ramblings on other subjects.
This is about making a sleeveless cowl neck top with a facing for both the front and the back. In this way no special finishing of the arm holes is needed. This method is based on Carolyn’s way of making a top with all seams enclosed.

Let me show you how to do this. It’s a good reminder for myself too, I forget when I haven’t done it in a while.
First you need a pattern that has a facing for the back that extends below the armhole. Also the front facing has to extend below the armhole. Easy enough to adapt a pattern, just trace a line about 5 cm (2 inches) below the armhole. The photo below shows you the facing of the back

Step 1: stabilize the back neckline of the back pattern piece

Step 2: with right sides together, sew the neckline of the back and the back facing, press but do not topstitch

Step 3: With right sides together, sew the armhole of the front to the armhole of the front facing.

Step 4:…

Dress Burda June 2018, construction picture

Once in a while a pattern shows up in a magazine that I want to make immediately. This Burda dress from the June issue is one of those.

It’s mainly the linedrawing that’s interesting, as the fabric they used for the magazine issue is not really showing the design lines. There would have been better accent options for the piping they uses.
If you’re like me and in general don’t look at the Burda instructions but do it by experience or your way anyhow, DON’T go on autopilot with this one.
Sleeveless dress: I close shoulder seams at the last possible moment. Not here, as you have to sew the bias band in between the center and side parts. The band has no seam (and I wouldn’t add one, too many layers of fabric), so the shoulder has to be sewn earlier than I’m used to.
Darts: I was inclined to sew all darts as first step and realised really just in time that the front dart is taking up the edge of the band. Front and back band! I was stupified why the angle of the band was not matching th…

Pants fitting, part 1

First, I'd like to thank all who commented on the fitting issues for my pants. I did look at Debbie's site and somehow thought it would not be the "one" answer to my problem, as I've become convinced that there is no one-step solution for me. But I think I have found part of the solution there. Tonight I spent adapting my pattern and making a muslin.

My starting point, after reading all the information was the Threads issue of January 2006, an article by Joyce Murphy Adjusting pants from waist to seat. In this article she describes "body space" as an important point in fitting pants. And it does make sense to me, as women have very different shapes. One needs more space in the front, and others (like me) more in the back.
The picture above shows the body space in my pattern, which is 15 cm. I tried to measure my own bodyspace by taking two rulers, and it is 19 cm, which means that 2 cm more is needed (half of the extra width in the pattern). The article d…