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Is Hem Tape Permanent?

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Not fond of traditional sewing or in a hurry to fix a hem? Don’t worry! Hem tape can be a great way to bind your fabrics when you’re in a rush or working with a difficult garment.

But just because you need a quick fix doesn’t mean you want a short-term one.

Is hem tape permanent?

Fusible hem tapes are permanent because they use an adhesive to keep fabrics in place. Not all hem tapes are fusible, so if you need a permanent solution, be sure to select the right type for your project.

Hemming, shortening a green courtain fabric with an iron and the iron-on adhesive hemming tape

What is Hem Tape?

Hem tape is material used to hem garments, quickly repair fabrics, and create décor projects. You can also use hem tape to fix tears in clothing that are not along seams.

Hem tape comes in fusible and non-fusible (or sewn) varieties. Fusible hem tape does not require sewing and is permanent due to the adhesive used to add it to fabric.

If you prefer a temporary hem, non-fusible hem tape lets you easily modify the hem because it is removable. Both types are available in craft and fabric shops.

Choose Fusible Hem Tape for a Permanent Hem

If you are looking for a permanent fix for your project or garment, fusible hem tape is your best bet. This tape does not come off even with frequent washing.

Fusible hem tape comes in a variety of weights and widths and can be used for a quick hem, to repair a piece of fabric, or to hold the fabric in place.

When heated by the iron, fusible hem tape melts and bonds the two fabrics together. This permanent hem tape is useful on clothing you want to hem but don’t want the stitches to show.

When choosing the right hem tape for your project, keep in mind that not all hem tapes are the same. There are different types of tapes available in the market.

The type of hem tape you should buy mainly depends on the type of fabric you are going to use it on.

Making curtains shorter with hemming tape

Thick Tape

If you want to hem a heavy fabric, then thick hemming tape is what you need. Thick hem tape should be used if you want to hem fabrics like wool, denim, and corduroy.

Do not use thick or heavy-weight tape with delicate fabrics. This tape will seep through the fabric and will look very messy.

Thin Tape

If you want to hem a thin or delicate fabric, look for thin hem tape. This tape is suitable for fabrics like cotton, rayon, or acrylic. You can use a narrow fusible tape while sewing decorative embellishments or topstitching to hold a turned edge.

Step by Step Guide to Using Fusible Hem Tape

Since adding fusible hem tape to your project or garment is permanent, you want to make sure the application goes right. Here’s a step by step guide adding fusible hem tape to your work.


The first step is to prepare the fabric you want to use the tape on. Remember to wash the garment so that it can easily accept the hem tape.

A prewash is also important in case the fabric shrinks.  Make sure not to use any fabric softener as it will not let the tape stick firmly.


Measure the desired length and then add 1 ¼ inch to the hem for seam allowance if you are shortening a pair of trousers or a skirt.

Use scissors to trim away excess fabric. If you are repairing a hem, measure the portion that needs to be fixed so you can cut the tape accordingly.

Seamstress cutting length of jeans pants to be hemmed


Once the fabric is prepared, the next step is to cut the tape. Cut the tape according to the measurements of the fabric that you are hemming.


Place the cut tape between the hem and the fabric. This is a dry run so be sure to make sure everything lines up the way you want it to before applying heat.

The tape adhesive is applied to both sides, so it doesn’t matter which side of the tape faces up or down.


Turn on the iron and set the desired heat level. Check the tape instructions for specific heat recommendations, but typically high heat is suggested for a thicker fabric.

If the fabric is thin, cover it with a cotton cloth while pressing to avoid burn a hole in the fabric! 

When the iron is ready, press it on top of the fabric and hold it in place for 5 seconds to let the tape melt. Lift the iron up and place it back down on the next section to continue securing the hem.

Do not slide the iron back and forth. Make sure to press both sides of the hem.

Important Things to Keep in Mind

  • Check that the tape is smooth and not wrinkled or twisted between the fabric layers for a smooth hem.
  • Practice on a test sample before you get started.
  • Use a pressing cloth to protect thin or delicate fabrics.
  • Press the iron and hold for a few seconds.
  • Use a press and release action.
  • Don’t iron the same spot repeatedly.
  • Add more tape to make the bond more secure as needed.


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