In this tutorial, I'll demonstrate marking the hem on my pink cotehardie, and demonstrat hemming both a lined skirt, the blue cotehardie, and unlined skirt, the pink cotehardie.
When making skirts that will be leveled at the hem, I always make them a little bit too long. You can see that here. The gores in particular are quite long on this one. When I cut them, I didn't take the longer diagonal edge into consideration, knowing that it would be fixed when the dress was hemmed.
If you're sewing by hand, leave the last inch or so unsewn so you don't have to worry about picking out and refinishing seams later.
Start at the center front. Estimate how much you need to fold, and hem. Drop the skirt and check the length. Be sure to stand up straight!
Continue folding your hem until the next seam, or another good stopping point if you have very wide panels. Check for length.
When you have a lot of excess fabric, you'll need to pin near the edge of the fabric or it will flop down and you can't see what's happening.
Unless you're extraordinarily lucky, you won't get it right the first time, but chances are it will be close. The way I adjust it after it's pinned is to leave it pinned, gently roll it shorter or longer between my thumb and index finger, and then repin it, and try again. This makes it easy to make small adjustments.
Keep going on one side until you reach the center back of the skirt. You can see one side pinned here, the other left alone.
When you do one side, the second side is easier. The part I'm holding is all that's left to do and you can use the existing side as a guide. In the picture on the right, I'm using the hemmed back seam to figure out a starting point for it's matching seam on the other side.
There will be trouble spots! Some parts of the hem will dip or rise even if the area around them is fine. Very carefully, grab the fabric as directly over the spot as you can. Keep walking the fabric up until you get to that spot, and adjust by rolling it a bit, as described above.
And the finished hem! The front does look a little high in this picture, but it's hanging a bit oddly--it is where I want it in real life!
Here's what it looks like on the inside. Not quite ready to be hemmed! I still need to flat fell all those seams as well :)
Now, a few pictures with the blue dress. This step is the same for both a lined and unlined dress. After you're done marking the hem, fold the dress in half, line up the seams and check your work. There will be small differences. Most people are asymmetrical, so this makes sense. As long as the sides are close, your work is accurate. I like to make it a little more even though, which I do by splitting the difference.
The next few steps are for a lined dress. An unlined dress will continue below. After any adjustments you make to the hem, move the pins from their places to the fold. For now, just pin the outer layer.
The pinning along the fold in progress.
Once this is done, smooth the lining into place and pin both the lining and the outer layer together. Trim the excess fabric. I finished this skirt with a straight strip of China silk, so just left a half inch below the pins.
Here's the finished trimmed skirt edge! I sadly stopped taking pictures after this step, but it's quite simple. I sewed the strip of China silk around the hem along the line of pins, right side to right side, pressed it up, turned it and the hem, turned the edge of the silk under, and whipstitched it to the skirt.
And now, back to the unlined skirt. First, check for accuracy by folding it like above. Then, press the bottom edge into place. Trim away the excess.
Fold the cut edge under, and hem!