Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hem Stitching Part 1

This is a little photo intensive so I split it in two. The first part is the withdrawal of threads and pressing and that's the most important part. Once you do that, the stitching is a piece of cake. This is how I do it and it is by no means definitive. Or perhaps even the best way.This is a schematic I made up showing the threads drawn for folding and stitching. You do not need to draw threads for the fold lines but I find it much easier than trying to follow one thread line with a hot iron all of the way across a piece of fabric.

Pulling out a thread gives you a clear pressing line. Just be sure not to count it into your hem was eight threads so I counted out eight threads from the line of drawn thread for hemstitching. Then I pulled one thread. Then I counted eight more threads for the back of the hem and then I pulled one. I counted four more for the turn under to hide the raw edge and then I pulled a thread to make a clear cutting line.

Here is the fabric with all of the threads pulled out.Here I've folded side one and pressed it. I folded the raw edge over on the first withdrawn thread line and pressed it, then I folded on the hemline, the second withdrawn thread line, and pressed the first fold so it just meets the withdrawn thread for hemstitching. I don't want to cover or obscure this line.I've opened up side one so I can fold up side 2. I miter the corner. After folding and pressing both sides, I open out the corner. I trim off the tip of the corner to reduce bulk and fold it diagonally so the fold matches the withdrawn lines for the raw-edge fold on both sides (an exact 45 degree angle without having to measure!). Once that is done, when I fold both sides back in place on the fold line. The corner will now fold up to meet in the corner on the diagonal. As I stitch around with the hem stitch, I whip or tack this diagonal line to hold it in place.This is the back side folded up. This is the side you stitch from. Bury you thread knot (I do knot this thread) inside the folds.

I used the same perle cotton I used for the needleweaving but it you want a really invisible hemstitch, pull warp threads (not the cross threads, weft, but the stronger lengthwise ones) from a scrap piece of fabric and use them to do your stitching. It works beautifully.This is the front, before stitching.And this is my secret weapon, a simple spray bottle with plain water. Especially for a sized fabric like unlaundered Hardanger or linen, I like to spritz it with water much more than using steam. I use a dry iron. I didn't even need to pin the hem at all as I stitched it on this runner. Iron the fabric on hot until it's completely dry.

Part two tomorrow.


Pat B said...

Thanks, Marj! Hemstitching is something I've always wanted to learn.

Anonymous said...

vraiment beau
very nice

lkrum1999 said...

I just learned a new technique on hem stitching. When you draw your thread for the fold line at the bottom of your hem, if you stitch in a backstitch every four to five threads, it makes a lovely picot edge to the bottom of the fabric. This came from a book on Schwalm Whitework. I love hemstitching because it adds such elegance to the piece. Your hardanger is very beautiful. Jana

Moonsilk Stitches said...

I love this idea for adding a picot edge to the hem. thanks!

Erica said...

Thank you so much for the idea of spritzing the work and using a dry iron. It is going to save my fingers from further scalding! In fact, why didn"t I think of it myself?

Fidget said...

You do lovely work!

I love doing hemstitch. When I pull threads for fold lines I count a bit different. Assuming you want 8 threads showing, count up 8 threads from the hem area, pull the next thread. Count 7 from that withdrawn thread, pull the next one. Count 6 from that withdrawn thread and pull the next one. The final one is the cutline.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I love the Hardanger piece, and the idea of finishing it with hemstitching. Can you tell me where you got this design, the name of it, etc. I would like to make it for myself.
Thanks. Sandi

Moonsilk Stitches said...

The details of where this piece came from are in the previous post--