I’m a big fan of Ban-Rol tape, and for a good reason: it gets the job done fast and effectively every time. Before using it for the first time, make sure you prepare your tape for its task. In this example, the frayed edge of my tape has a 1/8″ width, which will become the width of my baby hem. 

Starting on the FACE side of your garment, align the tape with your fabric’s edge and start stitching as close as possible to the inner side of the frayed edge, making sure not to catch lengthwise threads of the tape. At the end we’ll be pulling this tape out from our baby hem, and we want to have fabric move freely. 

Continuing all around our hem, we’ll come to the beginning of our tape, which we want to align and overlap with our working tape. I usually stitch an overlap of about 1 1/2-2″

Next step is to trim any excess or hanging threads. In this example I’m working with a bias edge, and that’s why you don’t see much fraying of the fabric, just little excess created by the bulk of french seams. If you’re working with a piece that was cut on straight grain, and it frays significantly, align your tape slightly away from the edge so that it catches your fabric that is still intact, and you’ll be using the edge of the tape as a guide to trim loose threads and damaged part of the fabric.  

Now we’ll be turning the tape to the inner part of the garment, which will create the width of our hem automatically. You can help yourself ironing down your hem before proceeding to this step: it really depends on how comfortable you are with fabric you’re working on. 

Stitch on the inner side of our hem closest to Ban-Rol, making sure not to go into the tape area.

Coming up to the point where we started our stitching, align the bottom tape as shown, making sure the width of the hem is not distorted. Finish with a short back stitching and we finished our baby hem.

The only thing left to do is pull the tape out and press our hem. If you did catch some lengthwise threads of the tape, don’t worry, it happens to all of us. Just carefully cut this thread and pull it out from the baby hem, as it will be enclosed in it. The hem is safe, but the width of the tape is damaged, so consider using this tape for wider hems. 

This shirt’s hem was also made with Ban-Rol, with a narrow 1/8″ hem.  The tape is very flexible, and usually goes over curves without any problems, so what I was experimenting here with is whether it will take such a sharp turn. It worked out beautifully. 

Of course you also can (and should!) use it for traditional 1/4″ hem in shirt making, especially if you’re working with soft, hard to handle fabrics. It will make hemming a lot more enjoyable, I promise!

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