This section is from the book "School Needlework. A Course of Study in Sewing designed for use in Schools", by Olive C. Hapgood. Also available from Amazon: School Needlework: A Course Of Study In Sewing Designed For Use In Schools.
A hem is a fold, made by twice turning over the edge of a piece of cloth, and then sewing it down.
To prepare the hem, make a fold one-fourth of an inch wide, and crease; then fold again one-fourth of an inch deep and crease. Baste near the edge of the first fold with uneven basting stitches. For wider hems, have the first fold one-fourth of an inch wide, being careful to crease it thoroughly, as much depends upon this; crease the second fold the required width, which can be done evenly, by measuring every two inches with a paper or other measure. If a very wide hem is required, baste as you measure, first along the upper edge of the hem, and then along the lower edge. On woollen cloth, baste down the first narrow fold, then baste as for a hem on cotton cloth.
Fig. 1 8. - Showing the needle in position for beginning the work.
Practise Drill No. 2 (page 14).
1. Have no knot in the thread.
2. Hold the hem across the cushion of the left forefinger, as in Fig. 6 (page 14).
3. Pointing the needle from you, insert it at the edge of the fold, one-third of an inch from the right-hand end, and bring it out close to the end, as in Fig. 18.
4. Carefully draw the needle through, leaving a little of the thread at the end, to be tucked under the hem with the point of the needle, and to be sewed down with the first stitches.
5. Take, up one or two threads of the cloth, and one or two threads of the fold, keeping the needle on a line with the hem, and pointing towards the left shoulder.
Fig. 19. - Showing the work as it looks on the right side.
6. Draw the needle out and continue, making the stitches close and slanting (Figs. 19 and 20).
7. When the thread becomes too short for use, either cut or break it.
Fig. 20. - Showing the work as it looks on the wrong side; and how to join the thread, the double line representing the old thread, and the black line the new thread.
8. To join the thread (Fig. 20). If there is no end left of the thread, pick out a few stitches, always leaving the end between the hem. With the needle, draw the end under the fold, and towards the thumb. Begin with a new needleful, as when commencing the work, putting the needle into the last hole the short end came out of, and sewing both ends down with the next stitches.
9. At the end of the work, fasten the thread by taking two or three stitches over each other in the fold.
Hems should be begun and finished by neatly overhanding the ends of the fold. A narrow hem on stiff cloth, as on table linen, need not be basted. The seams of a garment should be sewed before hemming, to conceal the edges. Before turning the first fold, the end of the seam should be cut to avoid extra thicknesses and wear; when basting the hem, seams or stripes should exactly match. In sewing, to hold a wide hem easily, fold it over and over until it is a convenient width.
What is a hem? How should the hem be folded? Where and how should it be basted? How many times should a wide hem be basted? How many times should a wide hem on woollen cloth be basted? Should there be a knot in the thread? How is the hem held? How should the needle point? Where is the needle inserted? How should the thread be drawn through? What is done with the end? How is the stitch made? How should the needle be held? How should the stitches be taken? In joining the thread, where should the end of the old thread be left? Where should the end be drawn? In starting with a new needleful of thread, where should the needle be put? What should be done with the two ends? In fastening, where and how should the stitches be taken? What should be done to the ends of a hem?