I think people who sew are always interested in any tool that could help to save time and improve accuracy and the tools presented here will really help in sewing curved hems and edges. Some of them are well known, some are not – but all are helpful.

sewing tools guide

There are myriads of sewing tools, accessories and notions on the market now.  And the assortment is all the time expanding, new inventions are created constantly to greatly simplify the work and help in mastering some sewing techniques.

In this article, I will tell you which sewing tools and accessories will definitely be needed for sewing curved hems and edges. If you are interested in 20+ methods to sew curved hems read my ultimate guide “How to sew a curved hem”. I will not describe all common sewing tools and notions you already have like sewing machines, needles, threads, scissors, etc. I will share only those tools that, in my opinion, can be useful to sew curved hems, that can make sewing easier and more enjoyable and your projects look more professional.

Wherever possible I will try to provide alternatives for buying the tools, it is always good to look around and compare prices!

Note: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means I will receive a commission if you order a product through one of my links. I only recommend products I believe in and use myself. 

Sewing tools for measuring

1. Hem Gauge for sewing by Dritz.

This hem gauge is a very helpful tool for sewing curved hems. Ezy-Hem Gauge has standard and metric measurements. It can be used to make a hem from 1/4″ to 4″ on a straight edge and from 1/4″ to 2 1/2″ on a curved edge. Use with a steam iron.

Ezy-hem gauge by Dritz

Always test a fabric sample for proper heat and moisture. There are complete illustrated instructions on the back of the package. The only problem with this gauge is that it gets hot when you press hems with it. Below is also an Amazon link for comparison.

2. Hem measuring tool (seam gauge). I really love to use it.

This hem tool has measures in inches and centimeters. There is a slider on it to hold the position for repeated marking.

3. I also use this hem gauge for sewing from Collins. It is the perfect tool for easily and quickly measuring anything, even in small or tight spaces. 14 in 1 Measuring tool. A double-sided gauge has 14 functional measurements. Pity they don’t have it in centimeters.

sewing gauge

4. Clover Nancy Zieman Seams Right Multipurpose Tool is very handy for measuring all those small hems. I like that this tool is made from metal so I can iron over it. You can also measure buttonholes up to 1″.

Special sewing machine presser feet to sew hems professionally

5. Rolled hem presser foot. With it you can hem lightweight and some medium-weight fabrics without pre-ironing hem edges. I find it quite difficult to use (it curls my fabric too easily) but if you don’t have a serger then it can be a useful option for sewing curved hems. Here is a very nice video “How to Use a Rolled Hem Presser Foot: by Babs at Fiery Phoenix

The rolled hem presser feet come in various sizes depending on how wide you need the hem to be. Here is another smaller size

rolled hem foot

Madam Sew feet also come in sets and the store sells many other types of feet and an entire assortment of useful accessories, check it out: MadamSew

6. Blind hem presser foot

I have a detailed tutorial and a YouTube video on using the blind hem foot. Check it out – Blind hem foot: How to sew an invisible hem with a sewing machine. It makes sewing beautiful curved hems so much quicker!

This blind hem foot has a very easy to adjust guide that is set to follow the fold of the hem. Sew slowly to make sure that the guide travels along the fold. Practice using this foot on scraps several times before you stitch the actual garment.

blind hem foot

7. Adjustable Bias Binder (or Binding) Presser Foot

It fits sewing machines that use snap-on presser feet. Adjustable to fit bias tapes in different widths, from 5mm to 20 mm. There is no need to use pins or baste the bias strips. If you do not have this foot but you do have a serger, you can use the classic method described in this article: Making quilt binding with a serger

Drafting tools in sewing

8. Flexible Curve Ruler

If you need to draw a curved edge when making a pattern then you can use Flexible Curve Ruler.

This one is made from vinyl that will not discolor with age and is exceptionally flexible. With it you can draw a perfectly contoured curve. It is also great for measuring curved seams and adjust quickly from one shape to another.

If you need to draw a curved edge when making a pattern then you can use a Flexible Curve Ruler.

This one is made from vinyl that will not discolor with age and is exceptionally flexible. With it you can draw a perfectly contoured curve. It is also great for measuring curved seams and adjust quickly from one shape to another.

Flexible Curve Ruler

Cutting tools in sewing curved hems

9. Pinking shears

If you are using facing to sew curved edges you usually have to clip the seam allowance with a snip every 1/2 inch. But you can do it easier if you just use pinking shears.

You know, the simplest little technique can make your project look very professional.

Pinking shears

When we sew a facing to a curved edge we need to cut small notches in the fabric approximately every 2 inches to remove bulk from the insides of seams and keep curved hems and edges flat and even. Notches are those little triangles on the seam allowances that look like V’s.

If you turn the facing right side out without those notches, you will have too much fabric in there jamming it up. Usually we cut these notches in the fabric with sharp small scissors, but now I learned to cut them differently.

It’s a time-consuming job to cut many of them at once when following the curved lines. It’s also really easy to accidentally cut past a notch and break your stitches. But cutting notches can be done in a simpler way just by using pinking shears and the images below show the result.

cut notches using pinking shears
Cut notches
pinking shears
pinking shears
Hem

Sewing notions useful for sewing curved hems and edges

10Iron-on hem tape

You can use strips of iron-on hem tape (also known as fusible web) that sticks to fabric and securely bonds the fabric. Let me tell you how to use iron-on hem tape. 

Most often we use these strips for hem repair, but we also can easily apply temporary hem tape with the steam iron before stitching the curved hem or for joining trims and laces.

It works only for non-sheer fabrics that can be steam pressed. Don’t go beyond the hem or you will make your iron dirty (the strip will melt not on the fabric but on the iron).

Also, at very high temperatures the melted adhesive can penetrate to the right side of the fabric. The trick with the fusible web is to make the width of the hem not bigger then the width of the web. Otherwise you may get some distortion of the hem.

The fusible web can also create some hard area in the hem and make the hem stiff for some fabrics. So always test on scrap fabric before applying.

Here is a link to Amazon for this type of material.

And for comparison here is another good online store as a source.

11Premium Invisible thread for sewing curved hems.

Once I bought an invisible thread in a dollar store and used it in my Janome sewing machine. Big mistake! After winding the bobbin it contracted somehow and the wound bobbin could not be taken out of the winder. I thought at first that the winder got broken, fortunately I only had to unwind the bad thread. And immediately discard it.

But the invisible thread from Sulky or other sewing brand names is really good – it is soft and strong.  It’s just ideal for hems. It doesn’t tangle, snarl or break. And the bobbin thread flows easily. But I still remember that fiasco and when I use invisible thread, I sometimes put the thread on the bobbin manually (just in case).

Premium invisible thread

12. Quilting Gloves for Free-Motion Sewing – Lightweight and Form-Fitting

There are many brands available, I have selected two for comparison. They are perfect for securely gripping the fabric and promise to reduce tension in hands and neck.

Quilting gloves are great not only for quilting but everyday sewing also.

They are made from soft flexible plastic so you are still able to feel your work. They are good for pulling a needle and also good to protect your fingers from hot steam when you apply a fusible web, for example.

13. Topstitching  threads and needles 

Topstitching is defined as one or more rows of stitching visible from the garment’s right side. In my article “How to sew straight” you can read more about this technique. I use these special threads mostly for sewing denim – extra strong heavyweight cotton covered polyester and the colors are just right for denim!

Topstitching needles have a long eye to accommodate thicker threads.

There are special topstitching threads and topstitching needles you can use for sewing curved hems to achieve a professional look. For comparison below are also Amazon links too.

topstitching thread
Topstitching needles

14. Hemming clips

Metallic clips to help hem any skirt, pants or shorts – they hold the hem while you sew. These are great quality and very easy to read. They make hemming curved hems so much easier! It is like having extra set of hands! But don’t use these on thin or stretchy fabric. They are best for heavier fabric like wool, denim, fleece, drapery and upholstery. Also they really comes in handy to keep the fabric steady while you hand sew.

Hemming clips

15. Lead weights

Sometimes you will need to add some weights to a curved hem for balance.

These weights are especially useful when you make an evening or wedding gowns with a train or a long circle skirt from heavy fabric. They can also work to keep your dress down in gusts of wind and are not noticeable at all. Place them inside the hem fold. They were designed initially for drapes or heavy curtains, to keep them in place, but I found out that for certain special dresses they are equally good.


Did you find this tutorial helpful? If so, save this pin (see below) on your sewing board so you can come to this tutorial later when sewing a curved hem and follow me on Pinterest for more tips, tutorials, and inspiration! 

hemming tools sewing

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