How to Alter a Top With an Elastic Hem

You’ve seen these blouses everywhere:

top with elastic hem, 1428

They’ve got elastic around the bottom edge of the top.

Many women don’t like how they look when they wear them because they look poufy and make their hips look too big. When they don’t fit well, they pass up the idea of buying them because they think it will be difficult to fix. But they aren’t difficult at all.

Let me show you how to alter a top with an elastic hem.

First, with your scissors, just trim off the elastic as close to the actual elastic as you can:

trimming off the elastic from a top, 1430

I use sharp small scissors to accomplish this task:

elastic from hem is cut off, 1431

Next, turn the hem up the amount you’d like and press it with an iron.

I hand baste the hem as well so that the knit doesn’t slip around.

If you have a woven fabric, you should press the hem up as well.

knit hem pressed up after elastic is cut off, 1438

In addition, if you are sewing on a woven cloth, be sure and finish the edge with a serger or a zig zag stitch first.

In fact, if you have a cover stitch capability on your overlocker (serger), you can use that technique easily and quickly.

But, I am going to show you how to get the same professional look with your sewing machine.

First, look for a spool of thread to match the fabric. It doesn’t have to match perfectly:

thread to match blue knit, elastic hem, 1432

On this blouse, I will sew a double row of stitching on the hem.

That means, I need 2 spools of thread but if I don’t have two spools of matching thread, or they are very close in color, I will wind two bobbins from one spool of thread, because….

thread and bobbins to match, 1433

one bobbin will be used in the bobbin case and the other bobbin will be used as the second spool of thread.

Next, you’ll need a double stretch needle.

They look like this:

double stretch needle, 1434

Put the spool of thread on the first spool pin and the newly wound bobbin on the second spool pin. (or use two different spools of thread if you have them).

To thread your machine with two threads, treat them as one thread and thread them through the thread guides according to your machine manual until you get to the needle area:

threading your machine with two threads for double needle, 1436

Then, thread one thread through each needle. One thread goes through the left needle and one thread goes through the right needle:

up close of twin needle threaded with 2 threads, 1437

Stitch the hem, keeping the right side of the shirt facing up so you can watch to make sure you are stitching straight.

If you turn the hem over, you can see that the bottom threads form sort of a zig zag stitch. This keeps the edges from fraying and looks nice on the under side of the blouse.

underside of twin needle stitches, 1441

As you can see, it doesn’t take long to convert your hem and it looks great!:

top with elastic hem, 1428