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How to use iron on hem tape

Updated April 17, 2017

Iron-on hem tape is an ideal alternative to sewing for those who cannot sew or are pressed for time and need a quick fix but don't want to pay for the services of a professional seamstress. Many brands of tape are widely available in sewing shops and department stores. While each manufacturer will provide slightly different directions for use, they all work in the same basic way to provide an extremely user-friendly solution to a ragged or too long hem.

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  1. Try your garment on and pin the hem to the desired length. Ask a friend to help if you find it difficult to do this on your own.

  2. Take your garment off and carefully turn it inside out. If you are working on material such as a curtain, turn it over and lay it on a flat surface.

  3. Adjust the pins for a more precise measurement. Check that your hem is turned up an equal amount all the way around, using a ruler or tape measure. If you are hemming sleeves or trouser legs, measure them both to check they are equal in length.

  4. Cut surplus material off, if necessary, with dressmaking scissors. Your hem should only be 6 mm to 1.2 cm (1/4 inch to 1/2 inch).

  5. Preheat your iron to a silk or wool heat setting. Read the directions on your hem tape package; some brands recommend using your iron with steam, while others do not.

  6. Iron your hem to form a sharp crease. Remove the pins.

  7. Place your iron-on hem tape, with the adhesive side down, inside the hem and sandwich it between the fold. Press your iron on one section of the tape and hold it lightly. Follow the manufacturer's directions regarding how long you should press your iron down. Continue around the entire hem until all tape is attached.

  8. Turn your material right side out and iron the entire hem in a sliding motion. Leave it to cool completely before wearing or handling your material.

  9. Tip

    Prewash your material before applying the iron-on hem tape. Do not use fabric softener, so that the tape adheres to the material better. Do a practice run; apply your tape to a scrap piece of material. Use iron on hem tape to repair small tears in fabric; cut a length of tape slightly longer than the tear and iron it onto the underside of the tear. Choose tape in the same colour as your fabric.

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Things You'll Need

  • Pins
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Dressmaking scissors
  • Iron

About the Author

C. Giles

C. Giles is a writer with an MA (Hons) in English literature and a post-graduate diploma in law. Her work has been published in several publications, both online and offline, including "The Herald," "The Big Issue" and "Daily Record."

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