Working Hem stitch

Hemstitch used on a Tablecloth

Hem stitch used on a Tablecloth

Hem stitch is wonderfully versatile, allowing you to hem raw edges, form folded hems or remove horizontal threads and decorate the verticals in many ways.

To remove horizontal threads prior to hem stitching, count carefully to the centre of the band and cut horizontal threads. Using a needle, unpick the linen threads back to the edge of the band. Working in pairs, remove one thread completely and reweave the other into the gap. Continue until all the threads are removed or rewoven.


Basic Hem stitch

Different Types of Hem stitch

Different Types of Hem stitch

Turn the work so that the band is at right angles and you are working down the band. Work a straight stitch across two threads horizontally, turning the needle vertically. Now pick up two of the newly formed threads, make another straight stitch across two threads at right angles to the first stitch, then pass the needle down diagonally under the two threads. Repeat the straight stitches along the row, counting carefully.

Ladder Hem stitch

Having removed the fabric threads, work two rows of hem stitch as described above. The remaining vertical threads form a ladder pattern.

Tied Hem stitch

Begin by stitching two rows of hem stitch as above. Take the needle and thread over a group of four threads, knotting them round. Ensure the tying thread is straight.

As you can see when it comes to finishing your project with a hem there are a large variety of hem stitch available. Whether your just wanting to finish your project with a straight edge to protect your work from fraying, or you are looking to add a decorative feature to your work that will make it stand out, using the techniques described above will enable you to get the desired result.

Recommended Reading

Looking for a good book to read? If your looking for a great reference book to help you out with answers to your cross stitching questions, or maybe your just looking for a present to give that loved one who is mad about cross stitch. Then head over to our books page where we have compiled a list of great books that no serious cross stitcher should be without.

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