A Simple Curved Hem

The weather is finally cooling here in Atlanta and I’m reminded that I don’t actually have a lot of cool weather running gear. Obviously, as someone who sews, this was something I knew I could, and should, rectify immediately. So, I pulled out my go-to sweatshirt pattern, Hey June’s Tallinn Sweater and set to work designing what I think may be a new favorite sweatshirt.

You may notice that I’ve already modified the cowl and the front bodice from the original pattern. This time, I decided to reshape the hem. A subtly curved hemline is one of those details that I think can give a sweatshirt a little something extra as well as the potential to provide the functional coverage I was looking for to pair with my running tights.

Note: this tutorial can be used on any pattern with a straight hem, though I’m demonstrating on one with hem bands. It could also be noted that Hey June actually has another sweatshirt pattern that already includes a curved hem, but why not get a little extra mileage out of a pattern you love, right? And this way, I got exactly the curve and length I wanted.

To make the modifications, I recommend tracing your pattern on an oversized piece of tracing paper (but be sure to leave excess paper at the bottom!) to start with a fresh copy and preserve your original, then, you’ll need your preferred drawing tool (I use Frixion pens), a curved ruler such as a hip curve, a tape measure, scissors, and of course a length of your favorite French terry (mine is here) or sweatshirt fleece.

Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Tutorial-2

Let’s get started!

First, I measured myself from the base of my neck to the top of my thigh, as well as another sweatshirt I knew I liked the length of, to compare it to the pattern I was working with (don’t forget to subtract the length of the hem bands, if your pattern includes them!) and noted that I would want to raise the center front by 1” and lengthen the center back by 3”. Knowing I would need to blend that together, I decided to lengthen the side seam by an inch as well.

To alter the back of the sweatshirt, I marked 3” below the original seamline at CB and 1” below at the side seam. Then, I drew a flat horizontal line for the width of the side seam allowance to ensure that curve would look seamless. To keep the curve subtle, I used a long hip curve and simply shifted it around until it created a gentle slope between the two points, ensuring that the curve looked somewhat flat toward CB to avoid a point or “tail” and traced the curve.

Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Tutorial-3

To alter the front bodice piece, I marked 1” above the original seamline at CF and 1” down at the side seam. Then, I again marked the seam allowance to remove it from the curve. Next, to ensure the curve continued nicely from the back to the front, I laid the front pattern over the back, matching the seamline and traced a bit of the curve onto the front sheet.

Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Tutorial-4

Then, I lined my hip curve up with that marking and selected a portion of the ruler that connected it to the CF at a subtle arch.

Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Tutorial-5

To confirm I liked the shape, I once again overlapped the pattern pieces (the advantage of tracing paper, right? ) and took note of how the line continued from one to the other.

Here’s the result on paper:

And here’s how it turned out in fabric!

Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Mod-6


Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Mod-3

Such a simple change with a great impact! I get the coverage I was looking for and the sweatshirt looks just a bit trendier.

(Tip: if your pattern includes hem bands, don’t forget to compare the circumference of the original hemline to your new curved one and adjust the width of the bands if needed. My particular curve didn’t add much at all, so I left my front hem band piece as designed and added 1/8” to the back band pattern piece, then made sure to sew the bands on with the sweatshirt body closest to the feed dogs to allow them to ease any minor differences into the seam.)

Jenny Maker Curved Hem Hey June Tallinn Mod-7

So, tell me, do you like modifying patterns or do you prefer to try new designs?

Happy sewing! x

Jennifer M, from Jenny Maker

Hi! I’m Jennifer, or Jenny if you’d like, and I blog at Jenny Homemaker. I currently reside in Atlanta with my fiancé/sounding-board/photographer, Brandon, and fur baby/supervisor/photobomber, CoCo.

I started sewing in 2009 after a long-distance move, when it became clear I needed a new hobby. I was fearless, choosing a fully-lined, polyester satin, bubble-hem party dress as my first garment. As you might expect, it was a bit of a disaster and was never worn (we dubbed it the “shiny trash bag” dress), but I saw potential in the idea of sewing my own dresses and didn’t hesitate to jump back in.

What started as a way to pass the time has turned into one of the things I’m most passionate about! I’m well on my way to having a fully handmade wardrobe, sewing everything from lounge clothes to silk dresses! When I’m not sewing, I’m learning. When I’m not learning, I’m planning.

Since fabric is such a great part of sewing (sometimes the best part, right!?), I’m really looking forward to being a part of the Cali Fabrics team, sharing some amazing fabrics and helpful tips with you!

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