How to Sew a Blind Hem

The bishop dress is one of the most loved heirloom children’s garment designs of all time. It’s a versatile pattern that can be constructed in specialty fabrics for baby’s Sunday best, or in classic cotton for more casual occasions. One of my favorite bishop designs is the angel-sleeve bishop Karen Bosch designed for our classic Martha Pullen book Summertime Baby.


Smocked Bishop

The top is embellished with smocking, white tatted edging frames the neckline and Swiss edging finishes the angel sleeves. The Summertime Baby book is now out of print, but we’ve just released an exclusive project kit for this smocked bishop. The kit is available in pink or robin’s egg Victorian batiste (yellow is already sold out!), and comes with all the trims, embroidery floss and buttons needed to make it.

The original bishop pattern and instructions are included too — including the smocking plate, instructions for several basic smocking stitches and technique tutorials for all the specialty finishing touches like a button loop closing and a blind hem.

The blind hem is a traditional hem finish in which the folded edge of the hem is stitched to the inside of the garment. It’s a great way to add a beautiful and professional finish to your sewing projects. Follow the steps below to create a blind hem by hand:

1. Tie a single knot in the end of the thread.


2. Bring the needle up through the top of the folded hem (fig. 1). The knot will be hidden behind the fold.

3. Take several tiny stitches at the top of the fold to secure the thread (fig. 2).

161001_344. **Take a very small stitch (approximately two threads) in the base fabric (single layer) and exit through the top of the fold directly in front of the base fabric stitch (fig. 3).

5. Slide the needle inside the top of the fold and exit at the top of the fold approximately 1/4″ away (fig. 4).

6. Repeat from ** across the hem of the garment.

7. Take several tiny stitches at the top of the fold to end the hem.

Get the Smocked Bishop Kit in robin’s egg or pink Victorian batiste in our online shop! In addition to the pattern and materials, the kit also includes Martha Pullen’s classic book The Joy of Smocking and a video download for her Smocking workshop.

Want to create more classic children’s garments while learning lots and lots of wonderful techniques? Join us for our Children’s Garment Construction Online Licensing. This online course includes more than 30 adorable projects to make for little ones!

Be sure to also check out our brand new October Internet Embroidery Club designs, released today to our 2016 members. The collection includes three cute Thanksgiving designs.

Much Love to You All & May God Bless,
Kathy McMakin


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