Sewing Blog

Sewing Curved Shirt Hems: It’s Easy as a Summer Breeze With Bias Tape

If you've ever sewn a button-up shirt with a curved hemline, you know it can sometimes be a little tricky. The hem allowance is usually very narrow, and the fabric tends to want to pucker and bunch at the hip curve as you're stitching. If you have trouble with this issue (I know I do!) you'll be happy to know there's a much easier way.

The secret to getting a clean finish on a curved hemline is bias tape!

Sewing a curved hem with bias tape

For this method of hemming you'll need some single fold bias tape, either store bought or custom made. Follow the instructions included with your sewing pattern for the construction of the shirt until you get to the bottom hem, then give this method a try!

unfold one edge of your bias tape and pin it to the bottom hem

Step 1:

Working on the outside of your shirt, unfold one edge of your bias tape and pin it to the bottom hem. Make sure to leave an inch of bias tape free from the center front so you can tuck it in for a clean finish later.

Adding bias tape to a curved hem

Step 2:

Sew the bias tape to your shirt using the "ditch" of the bottom fold as your guide. Work carefully around the curves, allowing the bias tape to bend naturally into shape.

Bias tape on a curved hem

Step 3:

Turn the bias tape to the inside (wrong side) of your shirt so the raw edges are concealed. Press the bias tape down flat and smooth, paying special attention to the curved portions of the hemline.

Sewing with bias tape for professional looking hems

Step 4:

Now we're going to tuck the free hanging portion of the bias tape into the hem for a clean finish at the center front. I like to trim the edge at an angle so it folds in neatly. You'll see how this is helpful in the next step...

Using bias tape in sewing

Step 5:

Press the free hanging edge of the bias tape away from the center front and into the hem. Next, fold the bias tape back up (as you did in step 3), press well, and pin everything in place.

Hem all pressed and pinned into place

Once you have everything pressed, tucked, and pinned into place, it should look like the photo above. So far so good? Almost done!

Stitching your bias tape down

Step 6:

For a really neat, clean finish on both the outside and the inside of my shirt, I like to stitch the bias tape down from the inside. If your thread tension is good, and your thread color matches well, the stitching should be nearly invisible on the outside.

Here's a close-up:

Here you can see I've stitched the bias tape to my shirt hem from the inside of the shirt, which allows me to stitch very close to the edge. For this tutorial I've used a green top thread so you can see it better, but I used a bobbin thread that matches my fabric. The result is a nearly invisible line of stitching on the outside of the shirt (which is technically the bobbin side of the stitch) and a really clean and professional looking top stitch on the inside of my shirt.

Now give everything a nice press on the outside and you're finished! This method is really quite simple when you get the hang of it, and it takes me less time to complete than doing a traditional hem on shirt with a curved edge. I get a a smooth, even hemline with no pulling or puckering at the hip. It's great!

Learn more quick sewing techniques for flawlessly finished pieces with the Craftsy online sewing class Sew Better, Sew Faster: Advanced Industry Techniques with instructor Janet Pray, president of the American Sewing Expo!

Have you tried using bias tape on a curved hemline before? Do you find it easier?



Ervyna Sherwany Ahmad

what a life saver! ive tried.. im very satisfied with the outcome.. thanks for the great tip..

Ervyna Sherwany Ahmad

what a life saver! ive tried.. im very satisfied with the outcome.. thanks for the great tip..

Maria Hall

excellent advice. Thank you.


thanks for the great tip..

Gma Carma

Thanks for sharing this tip! Your instructions are nice and clear and your pictures are wonderful.. Please keep up your good work – I can’t wait to try this method!


clear and doable! Thank you.


Brilliant, thank you! Worked like a charm.


One correction to your otherwise perfect instructions, though: you specify single-fold bias tape, but I believe the photos show that you used the double-fold variety. I used double-fold, otherwise following these instructions, and my results were exactly like your photos.


Disregard my correction above! Of course you used single-fold bias tape, and I am a bonehead.


I’m very new to sewing, and this tutorial worked successfully for me! Very easy to follow and good detail. 🙂


What about a gauze Boho dress that I gave my daughter for her Bday…..but of course!!!it’s way too long! I’m frightened to Cut it! I tried to tell her u will end up with a straight hem…”She said but that takes away from the character…yikes


Would I cut off excess b4 hemming on a curve also..How Do u take almost 3inches of material and NOT SCREW IT UP????
I just read about the bias tape!!!They have bias that looks kind of needlepoint 70’s looking….but I would want it to show…I need some helpful advice please! I have only been sewing less than a year, but my mother was a seamstress…an I remember her cussing put whatever she was making…I would be observing because the item was MINE!!! ON WAY TO DANCE! SHE DID IT AN it was ….Gorgeous👏GOSH THAT WAS 1973!!! I DO WHAT I CAN NOW TO COVER AN WEAR LONGER BLOUSES!


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