Lettuce Hems... On a Sewing Machine! What?!

So today I want to bring you something that is near and dear to my own heart. Lettuce hems. They're cute, they're frilly, and they're my favorite way to finish off a knit garment. Now, I'll admit, it is a very love-hate relationship. I love the look, I love the ease (once you have it down), but I hate the time it takes. Ultimately, though, I adore them and use them any chance I get. So I thought I'd pass along the knowledge of how you can create your own lettuce hems... on a regular sewing machine!

Lettuce Hems... On a Sewing Machine! What?!

You heard me. A regular sewing machine. Why? Because I do not (yet) own a serger. But I loved the look, so I learned how to do it. And now I'm going to teach you! Are you ready? Let's get started!

What you need:

A sewing machine


A full (matching) bobbin

Knit fabric with a good stretch

The Key to a Successful Lettuce Hem

It all starts with machine settings. Lettuce hems NEED the correct settings to come out perfect and beautiful. You basically want to set your machine to a satin stitch. On my machine that is a zigzag with a 5mm width and a 0.3mm length.

Working With the Fabric

Now that you have your machine all set up, it's time to stitch! I recommend starting with a scrap for your first couple of tried to make sure you have the technique. It can be tricky to pick up, but once you have the hang of it, there'll be no stopping you!

Place your fabric under the needle with the edge about 1/8" right of the center under your presser foot. You need to make sure that the needle will be OFF your fabric on the right-hand side. Start slow and STAY slow

Start slow and STAY slow. Gently push on your foot pedal and feed your fabric through while stretching it. This stretch paired with the tight stitches is what creates the ruffled effect.

If you go slow and stretch well, you'll end up with a beautifully ruffled lettuce hem! Now you can take this technique to your dress, shirt, and sleeve hems! Do keep in mind, though, this might not be the best finish for ALL knit garments (I occasionally still use a traditional hem because it fits the aesthetic better, so use your judgment), but it is often perfect and pretty on circle skirts! (Think Maci and Sahara)

That's it for today! But if you have suggestions for other sewing tutorials you'd like to see, please drop them in the comments and we'll see what we can do! And join our Facebook group for help, more tips, and to share your beautiful creations!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.