Saturday, June 21, 2008


After seeing the hemstitching on my Daisy Chain skirt, Dawn commented, "I love that hemstitching. Seeing things like that make me sometimes wish my machine had more than just the basics."

What's pretty cool about hemstitching is that you don't necessarily need a lot of special stitches on your machine. In the sample on the right, I used various utility stitches on my machine, machine embroidery thread (and bobbin thread) and a 100/16 wing needle. From top to bottom:

  • Feather Stitch
  • Zig-zag Stitch*
  • Ladder Stitch
  • Triple Stretch Stitch
  • Blanket Stitch
  • Overcast Stitch
*I stitched over the zig-zag twice, taking care that the needle went into the same holes.

So while they're not a daisy chain, you can still get some pretty nice effects. The main thing to keep in mind when choosing stitches is the more times the needle goes in and out of the same hole, the more "open" your hemstitching will appear.


Dawn said...

That's cool. Thanks for taking the time to do it with the basic stitches to show us. I have 12 different stitches on my machine and you showed most of them. :) Are there different sizes wing needles? I don't mean the shaft size, I mean the "wing" part. Are there larger wings and smaller wings?

Paula said...

You know, I'm not sure. I know they come in different sizes, but I'm not sure how the sizing system works. You can also get TWIN wing needles, which I just found out trying to answer your question. I feel a need for a twin wing needle coming on! You can also do hemstitching with a really big universal needle for a slightly different look.

2BSewing: said...

Wow...Thank you for sharing the sample stitches. Also, thanks for the tip on using a larger Universal needle. Need to try it out.

Paula said...

The tip about the larger universal needle came from Bunny and I hope if it's supposed to be some needle other than a universal, she will speak up about it when she gets back home!

Bunny said...

Hi,Paula! I'm back. I use a size 18 universal needle for my hemstitching. I know many use the wing needle and that works great. I like the universal for really delicate fabric, like a fine hanky linen, or silk, as I think a wing needle can sometimes damage these delicate fabrics. The double wing, which really is a universal needle on one side and a wing on the other is great to play with. Getting the stitches in the same holes is what its all about. Thanks for the sample and inspiration.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure this is a stupid question, but how do you get the stitch to go in the same hole twice? (I've never used the decorative stitches in my machine.)

Paula said...

If your machine is adjusted properly, the needle will go exactly where it's supposed to go on each stitch so you don't have to worry about it. If, on a sample, you notice that the needle is slightly off, check your owner's manual for the procedure to adjust the stitches.

On the zig-zag stitch, I turned the fabric around, lined the needle up for the first stitch and then went slowly and carefully. You can see, though, that I was off on some of the stitches.

Marisel said...

I want to do hemstitch edge ("Tru-Tru")for a flannel baby blanket and then finish it with crochet. How can I do it with a home model sewing machine using wing needle 120. Please help! Or do I need an industrial machine, if so, which one?

Paula said...

You definitely don't need an industrial sewing machine! You can do hemstitching on a home sewing machine.

Depending on the stitches you have available on your machine, your choice of stitches might be limited. But I think if you want to use the holes you'll create for your crochet, use the triple stretch stitch (two stitches forward, one stitch back; two stitches forward, one stitch back and so on). If your machine actually has any specialized hemstitches, so much the better.

Press your hem allowance to the wrong side. For flannel, I think you might need to stabilize the hem, you could use tear away stabilizer designed for embroidery machine use. Follow the instruction on the package. Cut narrow strips and put them along the stitching line on the wrong side of the fabric, but not inside the hem.

Use machine embroidery thread in the needle, and machine embroidery bobbin thread in your bobbin to get a nice, open effect.

Stitch from the right side of the fabric. Go slowly! If you rush, you can distort the stitching. When you're done, tear away the stabilizer from the back. Good luck!

Alipurr said...

thank you for your detailed intstructions to Marisel....this is exactly what I was looking for.