There are certain times when hemming a piece of cloth just seems like hard work. For example, maybe your fabric is too thick when folded, and you know how tough sewing it will be. You try to come up with an easy yet quick alternative, and then someone suggests you use hem tape. But the material you are using is a polyester fabric.
Does hem tape work on polyester fabric? Hem tape works well with polyester fabrics and can be used the same way you would use it on cotton or other fabrics. If you are new to working with hem tape, knowing what to expect before you get started can help make your project a success.
Make the hemline straight the same way you will when sewing with a machine, and you’re good to go.
What Is Hem Tape?
Hem tape is a thin strip of tape fused with glue that sticks on both sides. This tape is usually made into a roll from which you can cut any length of tape you need.
The glue comes inactivated, but when the tape is heated, the glue becomes sticky and ready to hold your fabric together. The glue is a strong enough adhesive that fabrics with hem tape can be washed several times without worry that the hem will come undone.
Hem tape comes in two main types: permanent and temporary.
Permanent Hem Tape
Permanent hem tape, also called fusible or iron-on hem tape, requires a heat source. In order to create a hem, you have to apply heat to the tape and fabric to activate the adhesive. This is most commonly done by pressing with an iron.
Temporary Hem Tape
Temporary hem tape, also called adjustable hem tape, is great for quick fixes. Temporary hem tape does not require heat to apply it to your fabric. Temporary hem tapes come with an already-tacky backing on both sides. To apply it to your fabric, remove the backing on one side, and attach the sticky part to the fabric. Then remove the backing on the unattached side, and adhere it to your fabric to complete the hem.
Uses for Hem Tape
Hem tapes are great for fixing or adding a hem to fabric garments or other projects. Hem tapes are also very versatile and can be used in your projects in unique ways.
- Quickly repair a hem in a piece of clothing
- Hold down the top of a shirt
- Hem thick fabrics that are difficult for a needle to pass through
- Hem knit fabrics that shift when sewn on a machine
- Fasten bursting buttons
- Affix the collar of a shirt
- Fasten and properly close a wrap dress
- Hold decorative belts in place
- Keep scarves in place
- Secure the insole of a slingback shoe
- Hem textured or irregular fabrics smoothly
- Hold cuffs in place
- Fasten a zipper fly closed if a zipper breaks
How to Apply Hem Tape to Polyester Fabric
You can use hem tape on polyester the same way you’d use it on any other fabric. It’s a great alternative if you need a quick repair for a garment or if you are working with thick or difficult fabric that makes hand or machine sewing a challenge.
Using hem tape is a quick and easy way to add a new hem, fix a ripped hem, or adjust an existing hem. Just follow these simple steps:
- Make sure your fabric is clean. Wash the garment or item if needed. When washing, do not use a fabric softener or the tape will not adhere well.
- Cut enough hem tape from the roll to run the length of the hem. If you are working on a large piece of fabric, you may cut the hem tape into small portions.
- Turn the garment inside out or place the fabric wrong side up.
- Fold the fabric where you want to add or fix the hem and press the fold.
- Open the fold, place the hem tape between the fabric layers, and refold the fabric so the hem tape is inside.
- Set the iron to the temperature indicated on your hem tape packaging. If the heat is too low, the glue may not stick. If the heat is too high, the tape (and your fabric) may burn.
- Place the iron on the hem fold and press for a few seconds. Lift and place the iron down the length of the hem fold until the entire hem has been pressed and the tape has bonded to the fabric.
- Turn the garment right side out or place the fabric right side up. Iron the hem one more time and then allow the hem to cool completely.
9 Fabrics That Work With Hem Tape
Hem tape is great to keep on hand because it can work on various types of fabric. Hem tape can work on thick or thin fabrics and across fabrics with different materials. In addition to polyester, you can safely apply hem tape to garments or projects made with these fabrics:
You should not try to use permanent hem tape with fabrics like vinyl, lycra, and spandex. Applying heat to any of these materials will cause them to melt. If you can’t apply heat to a fabric, you can’t use permanent hem tape.
How Long Does Hem Tape Last?
There’s no firm consensus on how long hem tape will last. Various factors can affect the bonding strength of hem tape and influence how long it remains effective.
One of these factors is the frequency of washing. The more often an item is washed, such as an article of clothing, the more likely it is that the hem can come undone as the adhesive breaks down.
The type of detergent used can also affect hem tapes. Expect hem tape glue to weaken and your hem to open up more quickly if you use harsher detergent that includes a long list of chemicals or surfactants.
Generally, a permanent hem tape is expected to last at least a few washes. A temporary hem tape, on the other hand, may not last more than a wash.
Hem tape will work on polyester fabric and most other materials that can withstand heat. Hem tape is a useful alternative for people who are working with difficult or thicker fabrics. People new to or not very skilled at sewing can use hem tape as a work around to hand or machine stitching. Hem tape is also useful for quick repairs and fixes.