Hem Stays

For a long time, I used a six strand cord of embroidery floss to make my hem stays.

Is that what they are called?

Hem stays?

I couldn’t think of a better term for them.

They are the cords that keep the hem of dress pants and its lining from straying too far from each other.

They look like this:

Once I realized that the embroidery floss wasn’t holding up well to everyday wear, I began to use Perle Cotton.

I buy it at quilting shops and it comes on a spool that looks like this:

As you can tell, it is a little thinner than the original cord that is put in by the manufacturer.

But, about a year ago, it dawned on me that I could use a strip of satin ribbon just as easily and it would hold up well.

I like that I don’t have to thread a needle with any cording.

That, in itself, was an encouragement to me.

I cut two pieces of ribbon (one for each pant leg) into about three inch pieces:

I don’t measure; I just eyeball it.

Then, I fold under one edge of the ribbon and machine stitch it to the seam allowance just above the hemline on the pant:

Then, I take the other end of that same strip and fold under the edge and attach it to the lining seam allowance:

It takes a little bit of manipulating to get it sewn on the seam allowance without catching other parts of the lining.

But, I patiently work on it until I get it just right.

And, it occurred to me today, that I don’t have to work so hard to get the ribbon sewn onto only the seam allowance!

I can stitch right through the lining.


Yes, the stitches show through the lining, but they won’t be seen as they are up the hem of the lining a few inches:

I can hear some of you out there saying, “Duh!”

I love it when I get a new idea that saves me time and makes things a little easier.

How about you?

Have you been doing this trick for years?

What do you make your hem stays out of?