The "M Hem"

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The "M Hem"

Postby pelmut » Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:20 pm

I have been experimenting to see if there is any advantage in having a double false hem on an underskirt. One of the functions which a loose underskirt or petticoat can perform is wind-proofing by filling the gap between the skirt and the wearer's legs; if it had two concentric hems, these should take up more space and give better windproofing without the extra weight of a second underskirt.

I made up the hem from a strip of the underskirt material (thin cotton) about 8" wide, folded it in half lengthways and ironed-in the crease. I then inserted the bottom edge of the skirt into the crease and stitched through the three layers of material with two rows of stitches about 1/2" from the creased edge. If the underskirt was then hung the right way up, the 'V' of the hem band would flop downwards on each side and give two hems which would look like the leter 'M' in cross-section. To finish it off, I then sewed narrow turned hems on the bottom raw edges of each of the two hem drops.

Today was one of the first chilly and windy days of Autumn and I had to spend the morning outdoors surveying a derelict canal. I am pleased to report that the "M Hem" performed distinctly better than I would have expected fron a single-hemmed underskirt and I hardly ever felt my legs were exposed to the wind.
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby Big and Bashful » Thu Oct 09, 2014 7:58 pm

Oh bum just lost my typing by hitting some special key combination which brought up a code window. What I was saying was:

I have spent the last few days sailing in cold October weather, sometimes windy, sometimes wet. Yesterday in the rain I had a heavy denim maxi under a "rain kilt" which is a longish waterproof overskirt. Today as I chilled down I ended up with a macabi under a light denim maxi, under the heavy denim maxi. This combination was a bit bulky but warm enough. Easy enough to move around the boat in as well with a bit of thought. I wonder how an underskirt with an M hem would have worked under those conditions?
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby pelmut » Fri Oct 10, 2014 9:36 pm

Big and Bashful wrote:I have spent the last few days sailing in cold October weather, sometimes windy, sometimes wet. Yesterday in the rain I had a heavy denim maxi under a "rain kilt" which is a longish waterproof overskirt. Today as I chilled down I ended up with a macabi under a light denim maxi, under the heavy denim maxi. [...] I wonder how an underskirt with an M hem would have worked under those conditions?

It wouldn't have any better insulating properties than a single underskirt of the same material; but it might feel somewhat less draughty, depending on how 'full' the underskirt was. The hem would dry quicker than a conventional tubular double-thickness false hem because, although the amount of water-absorbing material would be the same, there would be nearly double the surface area for evaporation.
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby neiljerram » Mon May 23, 2016 6:47 pm

pelmut wrote:I have been experimenting to see if there is any advantage in having a double false hem on an underskirt. One of the functions which a loose underskirt or petticoat can perform is wind-proofing by filling the gap between the skirt and the wearer's legs; if it had two concentric hems, these should take up more space and give better windproofing without the extra weight of a second underskirt.

I made up the hem from a strip of the underskirt material (thin cotton) about 8" wide, folded it in half lengthways and ironed-in the crease. I then inserted the bottom edge of the skirt into the crease and stitched through the three layers of material with two rows of stitches about 1/2" from the creased edge. If the underskirt was then hung the right way up, the 'V' of the hem band would flop downwards on each side and give two hems which would look like the leter 'M' in cross-section. To finish it off, I then sewed narrow turned hems on the bottom raw edges of each of the two hem drops.


That's a really nice idea; thanks for describing it. Only think is that I guess the extra weight has to be matched in the outer skirt. Otherwise - say if the under and outer skirts were made of similar cotton materials, but the under had an M hem and the outer didn't - then perhaps the under skirt would hang reliably close to the legs while the outer skirt was inclined to billow up and out... (Which isn't necessarily a problem, but might not be what the wearer wanted.)

But typically of course an underskirt is a much lighter material than an outer, so the required matching would already be there.
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby pelmut » Mon May 23, 2016 7:26 pm

neiljerram wrote:
pelmut wrote:I have been experimenting to see if there is any advantage in having a double false hem on an underskirt. One of the functions which a loose underskirt or petticoat can perform is wind-proofing by filling the gap between the skirt and the wearer's legs; if it had two concentric hems, these should take up more space and give better windproofing without the extra weight of a second underskirt.

I made up the hem from a strip of the underskirt material (thin cotton) about 8" wide, folded it in half lengthways and ironed-in the crease. I then inserted the bottom edge of the skirt into the crease and stitched through the three layers of material with two rows of stitches about 1/2" from the creased edge. If the underskirt was then hung the right way up, the 'V' of the hem band would flop downwards on each side and give two hems which would look like the leter 'M' in cross-section. To finish it off, I then sewed narrow turned hems on the bottom raw edges of each of the two hem drops.


That's a really nice idea; thanks for describing it. Only think is that I guess the extra weight has to be matched in the outer skirt. Otherwise - say if the under and outer skirts were made of similar cotton materials, but the under had an M hem and the outer didn't - then perhaps the under skirt would hang reliably close to the legs while the outer skirt was inclined to billow up and out... (Which isn't necessarily a problem, but might not be what the wearer wanted.)

But typically of course an underskirt is a much lighter material than an outer, so the required matching would already be there.

My test piece was a denim skirt with a lighter cotton underskirt, so there was a big difference in the weights of the materials.

One reason why the results weren't as good as I had hoped was the tendency of the two hems to move together as one, rather than independently. I have experimented with a single-thickness gathered hem and think that if I could put a bit of gather into the 'M hem", so the two layers were ruffled independently, that would make it far more effective. I'll let you know what happens when I find the time to try it.
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby crfriend » Mon May 23, 2016 9:24 pm

It's not precisely the same thing as the "M - hem" you're describing, but one of my functional petticoats has a "double ruffle" at the hem.

On the one I wear most, the inner one is about four inches deep and has a pronounced ruffle; the outer one is about a foot deep and isn't as pronounced. In this one, I highly suspect that the to operate independently and the thing is very good at keeping draughts at bay in the winter. This one is a fairly heavy grade cotton.

The other petti, which isn't as functional and which also doesn't get as much mileage, has a single ruffle about ten inches deep and an inner layer of stiff netting to give the thing shape and another layer of solid fabric under that to tame the netting (which, on bare skin, I suspect would feel like nettles). This one's the one that I can use a hoop with, and it's not as warm in the winter as the other. This example is all synthetic.

Both have a band of lace at the hem, the cotton one of which has lace on both hems. Yes, I wear lace. Get over it.
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby skirted_in_SF » Tue May 24, 2016 4:16 am

crfriend wrote: Yes, I wear lace. Get over it.

I do too and like you, generally on things that are under my outerwear. :wink:
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby crfriend » Tue May 24, 2016 9:34 am

skirted_in_SF wrote:I [wear lace] too and like you, generally on things that are under my outerwear. :wink:

I have more than a few things with ruffles and lace on the outside. I rather like 'em, and wear them semi-regularly.
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Re: The "M Hem"

Postby Kilted_John » Wed May 25, 2016 9:18 am

crfriend wrote:I have more than a few things with ruffles and lace on the outside. I rather like 'em, and wear them semi-regularly.


Nothing wrong with that at all. Frequently, the tops of the trouser socks I wear have lace. Big deal.

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