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How to Hem a Shirt with Bias Tape

By Allie

Allie is the co-founder of Indiesew and creator of all things pretty on the site. Follow Allie and receive other Indiesew updates by subscribing to the blog.

Indiesew Tutorials | How to Hem a Shirt with Bias Tape

One of my very favorite ways to finish a button-up shirt or shirtdress is with a bias-bound hem. We thought #shirtmonth was a great time to bring you this tutorial!

My mother was the person who taught me this trick; for curved hems this is her go-to process. And while she typically makes her own contrast bias tape, I always lean towards the store-bought variety. Either way, the finished result of a bias-bound hem is neat and tidy.

Bias-bound hems are ideal for button-ups because they typically have a curved "shirttail" hem. Curved hems can be finicky to press and sew. More often than not mine become stretched out and wavy during the process. Since bias tape is just a strip of fabric cut on the bias, it easily stretches around curved hems. Bias-bound hems lay flat and look great from the inside.

If you've never sewn with bias tape, you'll want to check out our How to Sew with Bias Tape post first. The method we're using here is similar, except that the bias tape is not sewn in the round. The only difference is how we sew the bias tape at the center front plackets.

I'm illustrating this method on the hem of my Wenona Shirt Dress that I decided to shorten into a shirt (before and after shots at the bottom of this post). The dress is sewn in a double cloth fabric.

Ready? Let's go!

How to Hem a Shirt with Bias Tape

First, find a length of 1/2" double fold bias tape that is at least 6" longer than the circumference of your hem. 

You'll notice that I've already pressed one folded edge of the bias tape flat to prepare for sewing. I've also serged the shirt hem because this double cloth easily frays.

Indiesew.com | Bias Tape and Serged Hem

Find the center of the bias tape and the midpoint of the center back hem. Place one pin to align the pressed-open raw edge of the bias tape to the hem with right sides together.

Note: You'll notice that my bias tape is set about 1/8" from the edge of the fabric. That is because I want to make sure my bias tape covers the serger stitch. If you haven't serged your hem, you can align the raw edge of the bias tape with the raw edge of the fabric.

Pin Bias Tape to Center of Hem | Indiesew.com

Starting in the center back, sew the bias tape to the hem, traveling down the fold line of the bias tape. I don't pin the bias tape onto the shirt, I simply take my time making sure it's aligned as I sew. Stop sewing about 1" from the edge of the center front placket.

Repeat down the other side of the shirt hem starting at the center back. It might feel odd sewing with the bulk of the shirt to the right side of your needle, but it's important that you're sewing with the bias tape facing up for accuracy.

Indiesew Sewing Tutorials | Sew Bias Tape to Hem

At the center front plackets, wrap the bias tape around the edge of the placket and trim the bias tape so there is about 1/4" wrapped around the underside of the placket. Pin to keep the bias tape in place.

Wrap Bias Tape Around Placket | How to Hem Shirts

Starting at the center front edge of the placket, sew the bias tape down until you meet the stitch line. Backstitch well to secure.

Sew Bias Tape Down at Placket | Indiesew

Flip the bias tape and the seam allowance away from the hem and press well.

Press Bias Tape Away from Hem | Shirt Month at Indiesew

Understitch the bias tape and seam allowance together about 1/8" away from the seam. This step is important! It'll allow the bias tape to uniformly fold towards the wrong side of the garment, so that none of the bias tape is visible from the right side.

How to Understitch Bias Tape | Indiesew Blog

After understitching, press the bias tape towards the wrong side of the shirt and pin well. At the center front plackets, you may have to tuck the top of the bias tape into the corner.

Press Bias Tape Up | How to Hem a Shirt with Bias Tape

Sew the bias tape down from the wrong side of the shirt keeping a consistent seam allowance as you sew. Backstitch well at the center front plackets to ensure the bias tape stays tucked in there.

Sew Bias Tape to Shirt Hem | Indiesew Blog

And that's it! Your finished bias-bound hem should look like this:

Bias Bound Hem on Button-Up Shirt | Indiesew Tutorials

And here's what my Wenona Shirt looks like before and after I shortened it. I'll be wearing this so much more as a shirt!

Wenona Shirt Dress by Named Clothing | Before and After 

I hope this tutorial was helpful for you! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to get more content like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Happy sewing!

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Do you struggle with sewing curved hems? Use bias-tape to create a clean finish. | Indiesew.com

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