Hemming Satin Fabric: How to Hem Satin Pants, Ribbon, Dress

Satin – with its gorgeous drape, its silky touch, and its glossy finish, it’s a dream of a fabric. Until you come to work with it. At which point, it can quickly turn from a dream to a nightmare. Not only is sewing with satin a steep learning curve, but even the simple act of taking scissors to it can also be fraught with danger. Cut at the wrong angle or with a less than sharp blade, and you’re liable to end up with a frayed, snagged mess.

Fortunately, there are way’s around the problem. Get to grips with the proper cutting technique (stay tuned for more on that in our next section) and the right hemming method, and you can forget about any risk of fraying for good.

Does Satin Fray When Cut?

Satin is renowned for many things, not least its unsettling habit of fraying like billy-o when it’s cut. But it’s not inevitable – with a few tricks of the trade, you’ll be able to cut and work with satin without worrying of it, quite literally, coming apart at the seams.

How do You Stop Satin from Fraying?


First up, never, ever use a scissors that’s even the tiniest bit blunt. If possible, sharpen the scissors to a crisp before using it. Not only will this reduce any chance of fraying, it’ll also guard against that other common challenge of satin – pulled threads.

But just because your scissors are sharp doesn’t mean you’re home free. If you want to avoid any future unraveling, you’ll need to make sure those seams are properly finished – whether that means pinking them, serging them, or hemming them with some good old-fashioned zigzag stitching.

Can You Hem Satin?

If you want to stop any fraying, then yes – not only can you hem satin, you’re pretty much obliged to do it… unless, of course, you use an alternative instead.

We’ll look at the why’s and wherefores of hemming in greater detail shortly, but for now, here’s two other ways of dealing with fraying.

Pinking for Fray-Proof Edges - Sew a straight line of stitches along one side of the seam allowance. The stitches should be positioned around ¼ inch from the edge. Trim 1/8 inch off the edge using pinking shears. Press the seam to finish.

Seal the Deal with Liquid Sealant - To stop any unraveling in its tracks, simply apply a small amount of liquid seam sealant along the raw edge of the fabric. Go carefully to avoid it transferring to other parts of the fabric, and be sure to let it dry completely before touching.

What Thread do You Use for Satin?


If you’re going to go to the trouble of sewing satin, there are a few basics you need to know.

First of all, never use anything but the very sharpest of needles in your arsenal. Micotex needles are the best, but a lightweight standard universal point needle will do. Never be tempted to use regular needles, especially if you’re working on a very thin satin, otherwise, you risk snagging the fabric.

Second, make sure to choose an appropriate thread. Cotton wrapped polyester works well, as does extra-fine, mercerized cotton, and 100% polyester long staple thread.

How do You Hem Satin by Hand?

Hemming satin by hand may be tricky, but it’s by no means impossible. Hand-rolled hems often work best on satin, giving a lovely finish that’s well worth the effort.

The Method

  • Step 1 - Find something you can use as a weight so you can pull the fabric taut (a must for slippery fabrics like satin) as you sew. Start by sewing a row of stitches around the entire edge. The stitches should be around ¼ inch from the edge (if you want a hand sewn finish but are happy enough to use a machine when called for, you can use a sewing machine for this part).
  • Step 2 - Trim as close to the stitching as possible. To avoid the fabric unraveling, trim no more than 6 inches at a time.
  • Step 3 - Pull the fabric taut and hold it between your thumb and forefinger. Roll the fabric until the stitching is out of sight.
  • Step 4 - Secure the hem by using a slipstitch, working your way around the entire hem. Don’t be tempted to press the hem when you’ve finished, as you’ll ruin the look of the roll.

Best Hem Stitch for Satin


If you’re planning to use your sewing matching to sew satin, a zigzag stitch will be your best option. Not only will it secure your hem, but it’s also lightweight and won’t create any ugly stitch marks on the visible side of the garment.

How to Hem Satin Without Sewing

There’s no getting around the fact that sewing satin is a challenge. Considering even the most experienced home-seamstress can quake at the thought of working with this notoriously difficult fabric, it’s understandable why those who struggle to find their way around a needle would prefer to do just about anything else. Fortunately, hemming satin needn’t involve you sewing a single stitch… not if you don’t want to in any case.

The Hemming Tape Method

Hemming tape makes the process of hemming a piece of cake. All you’ll need is a roll of hemming tape, an iron, and a steady hand.

  • Step 1 - Start by folding the hem of the garment to the required length. Make sure the hem is even all the way around. Pin in place with silk pins.
  • Step 2 - Preheat your iron to a low heat (if you have a delicates setting, so much the better). Press the hem in place, making sure not to iron over the pinheads. Remove the pins but leave the iron on- you’ll need it for the next step.
  • Step 3 - Place a length of iron-on hem tape into the crease of the hem. Place a damp cloth over the first section of hem you plan on ironing, then press down with the iron for 3-5 seconds. Continue to do the same around the rest of the hem.

The Fabric Glue Method

This method is a breeze – just be careful not to get the glue anywhere it shouldn’t be.

  • Step 1 - Start by folding the hem of the garment to the required length. Make sure the hem is even all the way around. Pin in place with silk pins.
  • Step 2 - Preheat your iron to a low heat (if you have a delicates setting, so much the better). Press the hem in place, making sure not to iron over the pinheads. Remove the pins.
  • Step 3 - Squeeze a thin line of glue into the crease of the hem and press the two sides of fabric together. You might want to use silk pins to help keep the fabric together as the glue sets. Allow to dry as per the drying time mentioned on the glue’s instructions (usually, this will be between 2- 4hours). Don’t handle the fabric as it dries, and allow at least 48 hours until you next wash it.

How to Hem Satin Pants

Got a pair of satin pants you need to hem? Here’s what you need to do.

The Method

  • Step 1 - Work out how much of the pant length you need to remove. Fold to the desired length and pin using silk pins. Turn the pants inside out.
  • Step 2 - Measure the length between the edge of the pant legs and the hemline fold and make sure both legs are cuffed to the same length
  • Step 3 - Use an iron on a low temperature to press the crease in the fold.
  • Step 4 - Measure up 1 ½ inch from the hemline and mark the distance with a fabric pen. Repeat on the other leg.
  • Step 5 - Remove the pins and cut along the lines created in the previous step using pinking shears to prevent unraveling. Once you’ve trimmed both legs, pin the hemline back in place.
  • Step 6 - Use a zigzag stitch to sew the new hems in place. The stitching line needs to be around ½ inch from the hem edge.

How to Stop Satin Ribbon from Fraying


Stopping a satin ribbon from fraying can sometimes feel on par with stopping the tide from turning. Within seconds of cutting a length, it’s already starting to unravel. The problem is, satin really enjoys fraying. It’s in its nature. if you want to keep your ribbon looking pristine, you’re going to have to find a way of fighting against the fabric’s base instincts. Fortunately, it’s not actually that difficult. Providing you have the right pair of scissors, that is….

The Method

  • Step 1 - Using a pair of uber-sharp sewing scissors (for a decorative edge with excellent fray-resistance, try pinking shears instead), snip the ribbon at a 45-degree angle. If you prefer, you can cut into the fabric at a V shape.
  • Step 2 - If you’ve been left with any hanging threads after making the cut, snip them away. Any stubborn threads can be singed with a flame (although be careful – satin is flammable). Treat the edges with anti-fray spray to stop them unravelling. If you haven’t any spray, dab some clear nail polish along the edge. Allow the polish to dry completely before storing or wearing the ribbon.

How to Hem Satin Ribbon

Satin ribbons can look lovely… when they’re not fraying, that is. If you want to keep your ribbons looking respectable, try this simple hemming method – it’s designed to fix the problem after a small amount of fraying has already started, but works equally well as a preventative measure.

The Method

  • Step 1 - Lay the ribbon flat on a clean, hard surface.
  • Step 2 - Trim the edges of the ribbon with pinking shears.
  • Step 3 - If you’re using a machine, sew the edge using a zigzag stitch. If you’re sewing by hand, a small straight stitch will work.
  • Step 4 - Seal the ribbon by spraying the edge with an anti-fray spray (you should be able to pick up a can at most craft and fabric stores).

Hemming a Satin Skirt


If you want to hem a satin skirt, you’ve got a few options. We’ve already looked at how you can hem a garment with hem tape or fabric glue, but the other viable options include:

Serging - If you’ve got a serger, you’ll find hemming a skirt a piece of cake. Simple serge along the unfished hem, making sure to shave a few threads as you go to give a clean looking edge.

Sewing - If you’re sewing with a gorgeous fabric like satin, the last thing you want to do is make any unsightly ridges in the hem. Using a three-step zig-zag stitch (i.e. one that sews three little zig zags with each stitch) is a great option.

Best Way to Hem a Satin Dress

Satin dresses may look heavenly, but as any seamstress knows, they’re the devil to work with. While you can’t make the process of hemming a satin dress a delight, you can make it a lot less challenging with this simple method.

The Method

  • Step 1 - Set your iron to a low heat – if you have a delicates or satin setting, now’s the time to test it out.
  • Step 2 - Assuming you’ll be shortening the dress as well as hemming it, measure how much of the edge needs to be removed, allowing an extra ½ for a seam allowance. Trim the fabric as required, making sure to use only the sharpest pair of scissors in your toolbox. If your dress is already the perfect length, feel free to skip this stage and move straight to step 3.
  • Step 3 - Fold the raw edge under to face the inside of the dress. You want the fold to be around ¼ inch. Press the crease in place.
  • Step 4 - Fold up the edge of the dress by another 1/4 inch and press the crease again.
  • Step 5 - Using your sewing machine, stitch the hem in place, keeping the line of stitches to around 1/4 inch from the folded edge. Once you’ve worked your way all around the dress, give the hem one final press to finish.

Leave a Comment: