How to Sew a Side Split Hem

How to sew a side split hem.

How to sew a side split hem.

A side split hem is my favorite finishing touch on a shirt lately. I don't like it on dresses and have actually altered store bought dresses that are finished like that. I can't explain myself sometimes-- this is just one of those weird things.

I love it on shirts so much-- especially the shorter in front, longer in the back look. It's boxy and feels casual without being too casual. 

And it's super simple.

Side Split Hem Tutorial

(To recreate the entire shirt see our bell sleeve pattern here and our shift dress pattern here.)

1. Finish the side and bottom with a serger or pinking shears.

Use whatever method you like the most making sure to keep your seam allowance. 

I used a pinking shears and I usually give myself 0.25 to 0.5 inches for seam allowance. 

2. Determine where you want your split hem to start.

Measure and mark that length from the bottom up. Add a few pins to make sure you keep everything aligned.

My side splits are typically 3.5 inches in length from the bottom hem up. I've had 2.5 inches and it's fine, I just like 3.5 inches on me better.

3. Sew the sides together stopping at the mark you made in step 2.

Sew the sides together as you normally would. Just make certain to stop at the predetermined mark and perhaps do a quick backstitch for additionally reinforcement on the seam.

I love the backstitch and use it a lot. 

4. Iron that seam! 

Iron. Press. Repeat. You already know know how important it is, right?

How to sew a side split hem.

How to sew a side split hem.


5. Pin the side seam allowance all the way down to the bottom hem.

Make sure you pin this well.  

6. Measure, fold and pin the bottom hem on both the front and back piece.

Measure and pin your bottom hem as you normally would making sure the fold on the side is staying folded.  This can be the trickiest part and I recommend doing a few light hand stitches to hold the side hem until you get more practice doing this. Iron, iron, iron these folds.

Why is it important to iron before you sew? It will help you make sure the hem is exactly how you want it. And your seams will look much neater if you aren't fighting the fabric while you sew. 

7. Start your stitches at the very top of the split.  

I know this is common sense, but make sure you pick up the pressure foot on your sewing machine when you sew/turn the corners.  

8. Press those seams one more time.

Optional Step:  

Hand stitch the hem sides to ensure it doesn't unravel. If you have a wide side hem, this probably isn't necessary, however, my side hem was only .25 inches wide and I wanted to add extra reinforcement on the hem.  

It's that easy!

To recreate the entire shirt use our bell sleeve patterns here and our shift dress pattern here.