How to Sew Lettuce Hem/Edge? – (Full Step By Step Guide)

Last Updated on September 12, 2023

How to Sew Lettuce Hem/Edge? Are you looking to add a touch of whimsy and texture to the hemlines of your knit garments? The lettuce hem is a delightful finishing technique that gives your garments a wavy, lettuce-like edge. While it’s commonly done with a serger, you can also achieve this look using a regular sewing machine.

How to Sew Lettuce Hem/Edge


  • Lettuce hems add a playful finish to lightweight knit garments.
  • You can create them using a regular sewing machine with a zigzag stitch.
  • Choose stretchy fabrics with the greatest stretch running horizontally.
  • Practice on scrap fabric before sewing your final project.
  • Enjoy the wavy, decorative edge of your lettuce hem!

Materials You’ll Need

Before we dive into the sewing process, let’s gather the materials you’ll need:

  1. Stretchy fabric (ideal for lightweight knits like jersey)
  2. Sewing machine capable of a zigzag stitch
  3. Stretch or ballpoint needle
  4. All-purpose thread

Choosing the Right Fabric

The lettuce hem works best on stretchy fabrics, particularly lightweight knits that tend to roll at the edges.

When selecting your fabric, ensure the greatest stretch runs horizontally across your body. This ensures that you sew the hemline with the fabric’s natural stretch.

Determining Hem Allowance

How to Sew Lettuce Hem/Edge

Since the lettuce hem is narrow and delicate, you won’t need a substantial hem allowance. Trim any excess fabric, leaving approximately ⅛-inch of hem allowance.

It’s always a good idea to practice on scrap knit fabric before working on your final project to get the hang of it. Remember, this is a lot of threadwork, and it’s a pain to undo if you’re unhappy with the result.

Full Guide to Sew a Lettuce Hem – Step by Step to Sew Lettuce Edges

Can you sew a lettuce hem with a sewing machine? Yes, you can sew a lettuce hem with a sewing machine. With a sewing machine capable of a zigzag stitch, a stretch needle, and some practice, you can create a wavy, decorative hem that adds a unique touch to your clothing.

In this tutorial, we’ll walk you through the process step by step.

1. Stitch


Set your sewing machine to a narrow, dense zigzag stitch. A stitch width of 5 and a stitch length of 0.7 is a good starting point, but test on scrap fabric and adjust as needed.

You may also want to lower the thread tension slightly.

2. Placing the edge of fabric

Placing the edge of fabric

Place the edge of your fabric under the presser foot, right side up. Stretch the fabric gently, and you’ll notice that it naturally wants to roll toward the right side.

This rolling effect is what we’re aiming for. Allow it to roll over about ⅛-inch.

2. Stretching the fabric

With one hand, continue stretching the fabric as you lower the presser foot onto it.

Now, use both hands to stretch the fabric evenly in front of and behind the presser foot as you sew. The more you stretch it during sewing, the wavier your hemline will appear.

3. Start sewing

Start sewing

Start sewing while maintaining consistent stretching and the ⅛-inch roll-over measurement. When the machine completes the right side of the zigzag stitch, it should extend beyond the fabric edge, resembling an overcast stitch.

4. Steaming

After sewing, the fabric may appear slightly distorted due to stretching. Allow it to rest on your table, or give it a gentle blast of steam from your iron to help it recover.

Once finished, your hem should have a charming, wavy appearance. Remember, this technique is best suited for knit fabrics only.

5. Finishing Touch

How to Sew Lettuce Hem

With your lettuce hem complete, your garment will have a unique, playful edge that’s perfect for lightweight knit fabrics.

If you’re interested in achieving a similar look with lightweight woven fabrics, be sure to check out our Curly Hem with Fishing Line tutorial for more inspiration.


And there you have it – a step-by-step guide to sewing a lettuce hem. Enjoy adding this fun and stylish finish to your knit garments, and don’t forget to explore our other sewing tutorials and resources for more creative sewing projects!

If you’d like to learn more about sewing and garment making, consider checking our other sewing guide here; happy sewing!

Credit – Professor Pincushion

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