Can you hem a sweater

Can You Hem A Sweater Dress Like A Pro – Expert Guide

When you buy a sweater or already own one, it might not fit you exactly the way you want it to. If you are in this situation, you would like to alter your favorite sweater, either to lengthen out or cut it, but the problem is it is made of wool (knitted fabric), which means it’s difficult to sew. It’s likely that you would ruin your sweater for a good fit, so you would have to survive with old sweaters all winter long.

Can you hem a sweater dress? The answer to this question is straightforward, but it requires some careful consideration and technique. A detailed discussion of the essentials it requires and taking precautions could be an exciting venture not only for your sewing journey but also for your personal experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Hemming is an essential altering method to increase, or decrease the length, and add decorations if needed.
  • If requires information take precautions on whether can you hem a sweater dress or not.
  • There are two methods to hem a sweater and both of them are effectively safe.
  • Be aware of the problems you’d face during the hemming and prevent them with tricks.  

What is Hemming?

What is hemming
What is hemming

Hemming is an altering method. It is a process of sewing the edge of a piece of fabric to prevent it from fraying. The purpose of hemming is to give a clean and finished look to clothes. It is possible to hem a garment by hand or by sewing machine using several techniques. These tips and techniques are used to achieve different finishes. The most common techniques include the blind hem, the rolled hem, and the double-fold hem.

Can You Hem a Sweater Dress?

Yes! you can hem your sweater dress. It is simple and easy to do if you have the proper tools and guidelines. It is a much more effective approach to personalize the style of your sweater according to your fit. Hemming a sweater dress is about folding the fabric up to the desired length and then sewing it in place.

You have to pay attention to the thickness and stretchiness of the knits when hemming sweater dresses because they are typically made of knitted fabrics. It is necessary to add a few extra stitches to the hemline if the sweater has an uneven pattern in order to prevent it from stretching out of shape.

How to Hem Sweater Dress: Step by Step

Hemming a sweater dress has two methods. One is with a machine and another is by hand without even a serger. As a sewing machine can be a quick and efficient way to achieve a professional-looking finish, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to hem your sweater dress using a sewing machine:

Tools and Materials

You need the right tools and materials when you hem a sweater to ensure a neat and secure finish. Using the right tools and materials will prevent damage to the fabric or compromise the sweater’s integrity.

  • Sweater dress
  • Sewing machine/Serger (if you prefer)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Measuring tape or ruler
Tools and materials
Tools and materials

Step 1. Measure The Dress

To hem the sweater dress, measure the length from the bottom edge of the dress to the desired hemline. Use a measuring tape or ruler to get this measurement.

Step 2. Pin The Hemline

Place pins straight to the hemline on the fabric and fold them upward to the desired length.

Step 3. Set Up Your Sewing Machine

A regular sewing machine would be perfect for sewing knit fabrics like a sweater. Use the appropriate machine settings for the knit fabric. Sewing experts suggest, the machine to a medium width (around 3.0) and a medium length (around 2.5 – 3.0). Knitted stretchy fabrics will work better with less width. It’s recommended to a stretch stitch or a zigzag stitch for the sweater to allow for some room to stretch.

Step 4. Hem The Sweater

Starting at one of the side seams, sew a straight line along the folded edge of the fabric. Make sure you remove the pins as you go. Use the presser foot to guide the fabric, and keep it remains straight. Continue sewing around the hemline, and do a backstitch at the beginning and end of the seam to secure the stitches in place.

Step 5. Trim any excess fabric

Once you’ve completed sewing the hemline, use scissors to trim any excess fabric. Make sure you leave a moderate space for seam allowance.

Step 6. Final Touch

If you prefer, use a serger to finish the raw edge of the fabric to prevent it from fraying. However, it depends on your preference.

Step 7. Press the hemline

Use a steam iron to press the hemline, flattening any wrinkles and ensuring that it is straight and even.

How to Hem a Sweater Dress by Hand?

How to hem a sweater dress by hand
How to hem a sweater dress by hand

It is a relatively easier way to hem a knit fabric by hand. It requires no extra features or tools to get the job done. However, when repairing a ripped hem on a knit garment, such as a sweater, sewing hems by hand takes longer than using a machine. In a few simple steps, your task would be complete. Just make sure you keep a sharp eye for the details so that the straightness doesn’t miss out.

  • Take the measurements
  • Fold the edge over
  • Sew along the edge
  • Give it a gentle press
  • Done!

Note: Consider adding hemming tape to the opposite side. It helps to keep away stitches from puckering.

Common Problems for Hemming a Sweater Dress

Since we already know that hemming a sweater dress is completely different from hemming a woven fabric because knit fabrics, so, you are bound to face some problems while hemming them.

Common problems for hemming a sweater dress
Common problems for hemming a sweater dress
  • Sweater hemline can become wavy or stretched out of shape. Mostly if the fabric is thin or has a lot of stretches. It can also occur if the wrong stitch or tension is used.
  • If the fabric is not supported properly during the hemming process it will cause uneven stretches.
  • Another common problem is too much fabric. If you fold too many fabrics in the hem and did not press (iron) properly before sewing, you’ll most likely end up with distorted seams.
  • The most reported problem while hemming a sweater dress is too much pressure and pulling out the fabric suddenly. It can damage or distort the whole hemming of the sweater.

Tips and Solutions for Hemming Sweater Dress

To have a successful hemming session with your sweater you must decide the method you want to work with it doesn’t matter whether you want to do it with a machine or by hand but what it requires is a solution to the problems that come during the process. If you them beforehand it’ll easy for you to dodge them and get do with the task perfectly.

Tips and solutions for hemming sweater dress
  • Test your stitch on a scrap of fabric before hemming the dress with a ballpoint needle or stretch needle. In order to prevent stretching If you prefer you can use a stabilizer.
  • Trim the excess fabric and use a pressing cloth or iron-on interfacing to flatten the hemline before sewing.
  • Use a light touch when running the fabric through the machine and consider using a walking foot or a dual-feed foot to prevent stretching.
  • It can also be helpful to use invisible or matching thread when hemming sweater dresses to hide any uneven stitches. This will give the hemline an even more polished look.
  • Do the whole process slowly, don’t rush through; It takes time to end up with the perfect hemming of a sweater dress.


How do you shorten a sweater dress?

It is easy to do in a few steps, just, measure the length you’d want to cut, mark the new hemline, and cut the excess fabric.

Can you alter sweater dresses?

Sweater dresses can be altered by shortening or lengthening the hemline by adjusting the length, and other modifications.

What Are The 5 Basic Steps in Hemming?

The five steps of hemming are: Sewing a narrow hem, pressing the hem allowance, sewing the hem down, then pressing, and sewing the g narrow hem in place

Final Thoughts

As long as you make sure not to skip any steps and guidelines to hem a sweater you are good to go for it anytime. It is important to take care of every detail and make sure you use the right tools and techniques when you hem a sweater dress. You can achieve an amazing result in the end by choosing the right hemming method, preparing the fabric, following the steps, and avoiding problems. It is possible for anyone to hem a sweater dress at home to create a customized look to fit perfectly and complements the style aesthetics.


Hey I’m Sherry Howes an expert in sewing, knitting, crocheting, and embroidery. With a passion for fiber arts and a talent for crafting, I Have spent years improving my skills and sharing knowledge with others. Whether teaching a class or creating a new project, I’m always excited to share my love of crafting with the world. I like researching new techniques and trends in the crafting arts community.

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