Double-Sided Wonder

Sew Well - Hemmed with Lite Steam-a-Seam 2

I’ve been working on a top out of a soft rayon jersey with a phenomenal drape. Everything was going so smoothly… until I got to the hem. My first attempt at hemming the knit top was to use a band. That hem looked great, but when I tried on the finished top, I realized it was much too long. I’d added extra length when cutting out the top, figuring I’d try on the top just before sewing on the hem band to double check the length, but, of course, I forgot and sewed on the hem band without ever trying on the top in my excitement to be finishing.

I cut off the hem band and resewed it on a bit higher, but this time it looked awful. The band was all stretched out and the seam was wavy. When I cut the band off a second time, I decided I actually preferred the top without a band. So, instead of cutting a new band, I folded the hem over and stitched it down with my machine. But, it was really wavy again, having been stretched out by my machine.

I figured I had one more try before the hem got uncomfortably short, so I turned to Sandra Betzina for help. I just love her More Fabric Savvy book. It was recommended to me at my first sewing class way back when, and I should really pull it out every time I’m using a new-to-me fabric.

It suggested using Lite Steam-A-Seam 2, which I’d never tried before.  I ran to Pacific Fabrics and picked some up.

Sew Well - Hemming with Lite Steam-a-Seam 2

For some reason I was surprised that it’s made by the same company that made the all cotton batting I used in my Hot Potato! post. (An even bigger surprise – what happens when you use the wrong materials to make a microwavable potato bag!)

Anyway, it was amazing. I was finally able to get a nice looking hem – without needing to use a band – on my new knit top.  I was so happy with the results that I grabbed my previously unhemmed BurdaStyle wrap top and hemmed it as well. I’d relegated that top to the back of my closet because the raw hem had started coming apart in the wash. I was also never quite happy with the neckline.  Now that it also has a great hem, I’m auditioning fixes for the neckline. I’m excited to basically have two nice tops because of this wonder product! I’ll definitely be pulling this stuff out the next time I get a chance!

Have you ever used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2?  What did you think?

24 thoughts on “Double-Sided Wonder

  1. I’ve used it for hems, but find it’s not really needed if I lower my presser foot pressure and needle tension.

    I use Steam a Seam Lite for appliques when my daughter was little. It’s soft, but sturdy, especially when you zig-zag around the applique after heat setting.

    1. I’m not sure I can change the presser foot pressure on my machine. Can all machines do this? I’ll have to look at my manual. I have a pretty basic machine, so if it’s a fancy feature, then I bet I don’t have it…

      1. My Bernina has a a huge range of presser foot pressures. My Janome and Kenmore had just 3 pressure choices. I dial down my needle tension two notches (about half of normal). Then I can twin needle hems w/o tunneling or waviness.

    1. Oh! Next time I’ll have to try twin needling with it. I’ve never been happy with the channeling before. Good to know this stuff reduces that – it’ll save me from my pretty-obviously-homemade zigzag hem next time!

  2. Steam a seam is wonderful, fantastic…I use both the 1/2″ and 1/4″ widths, have it in sheet form, and in several weights! The inventor should get an award.

    1. I saw those other widths and types in the store, but I went for the 1/2″ here for hemming. I’ll have to keep the others in mind for the future. Thanks!

  3. I’ve seen this product and even own it. But, the directions said not to use with dryer sheets. Since the washer/dryer guy had told me to not use liquid fabric softener, I’ve only used dryer sheets for years. Does anyone know what happens if you use Seam a Seam 2 in the dryer with softener sheets? If the fusible becomes unfused, that probably wouldn’t matter if you are only holding a seam down to be sewn, but I wasn’t sure.

    1. Unfortunately, I can’t help you there. My mom would be sad to hear that I haven’t used anything like fabric softener or dryer sheets in the dryer for years. One day I ran out, and then I forgot to pick them up at the store the next time I was out, and here I am now. If others have any advice, I’d love to hear!

      Or, Angela, I bet you could run your own little experiment since you already own the product, and I imagine it’s just collecting dust. Take two scraps of fabric and fuse them together with the Steam-A-Seam. Take another scrap of fabric and use Steam-A-Seam to hem it. Then throw them both into the wash and then the dryer with a dryer sheet. See if the two pieces come apart or if the hem bubbles and turns wavy or something. If you do this, let me know!

  4. HI Amy, on knit hems I put a strip of fusible knit interfacing and it works very well. I find the Steam a steam is just a bit too much for my preference. The tricot knit interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply is what I use, and the nice thing is you can cut the strips as wide as you would like.

    1. Thanks Beth! I’ll have to look into that stuff. So far I’ve liked everything I’ve gotten from Fashion Sewing Supply, but I’ve never tried their tricot knit interfacing. Does it just fuse to one side then, while adding just enough to make a nice hem?

      I need to start a new tag – #whatwouldbethdo – because if you do it, then I want to do it!

      1. LOL, I’m in total agreement – if Beth does it – then I should definitely add it to my sewing methods!!

  5. SaS is good but sometimes I find it too stiff later on. My favorite hemming “notion” is a washable glue stick and my iron. The iron to steam/press out any ripples (up/down motion only, no back/forth) and the glue stick to stabilize the fabric and the hem turn-up while I stitch. After applying the glue, give them hem another good (dry) press to dry the glue. Everything washes out later on so no stiffness in the hem at the end.

  6. What a great tip! I’ve had the same problem on rayon knits and will have to give this a try!

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