Saturday, April 7, 2012

Hemstitching and Lace

One of the problems with having so many unfinished projects lying around is that I get distracted quite easily. I tell myself that I'll work on a certain project, but then something that's been lying around for months catches my eye and I just have to work on it. Back in October 2011 I showed you the progress I had made on the Rosebuds and Hemstitched Baby Dress that I took as a class at the SAGA Convention. This past weekend I just had to pick it up and work on it. I finished all the hemstitching on the block of fabric that would become the sleeves. Here's a little step by step tutorial on the hemstitching as taught by out teacher, Jeannie Baumeister of The Old Fashioned Baby. First, slip the needle under four threads and loop around the thread.

Pull the thread up and give it a bit of a tug to make a little thread bundle.

Then bring the needle around to the left of the thread bundle and bring under two horizontal threads just above the withdrawn portion,

and pull up to secure. Repeat, repeat and repeat! This is a very soothing and relaxing stitch, and I found I didn't want to get up while I had any length of stitching left. I had to force myself to stand and stretch out my shoulders. The middle row has the hemstitching on both sides of the withdrawn threads, but the two outer rows just have one row of hemstitching.

After all the hemstitching was complete, I added the lace edging to the front of the dress. The pattern calls for gathering the lace and stitching it to the edge of the lace insertion that had already been added to the dress. I pinned the lace to the dress, making little loops between each pin for the gathers.

Then I pulled a thread from the header of the lace insertion, and it gathered and lay down nicely. I didn't pull all the gathers from one end, but pulled from each end, gathering half the length of the lace at a time.

You can sew this down by machine, but Jeannie recommends doing this by hand, as it gives you much more control. And you know what? She's right! I know I would have said some very naughty words doing this by machine, but by hand it's nice and relaxing, and really doesn't take that much time. Besides, speed is not the key here. As I'm stitching, I'm able to even out the gathers with my thumb.

After all the lace was applied, I started in on the bullion roses that the dress is named for. These are on one of the sleeves. Now I won't be posting about this for a while, as I have over 60 of these little guys to embroider. They do work up quickly, but 60 is still quite a few!

I've only made two posts on this dress, but click here to see them both.


  1. I, too, find hemstitching relaxing - it's a lovely meditative stitch.

  2. Beautiful!! Happy to see you working on it. And I totally agree....speed is not the key. It's the pleasure of stitching and creating that I love.

  3. I think some of us just have to have several different projects on the go and flit between them. You will get finishes along the way. I love reading your explanations of each stage and you explain things very well. Tips will come in handy when I get back into some smocking etc

  4. This is lovely. This type of repetitive stitching can be so relaxing. Can't wait to see your finished little garment.


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