A hem is a fold made bytwiceturningovertheedgeof a piece of cloth, and then sewing it down. The first fold is most important; if that is turned even there will be little trouble with the second. Trim the edge of the cloth before turning the hem. It is well to make and use a gauge of the required width. If a wide hem is turned, baste along the second fold or bottom of the hem first, and then at the top. On woolen goods or material that does not crease easily it is necessary to baste the first fold. Either bury the knot between the folds of the hem or leave one-half inch of thread and hem over it.
Hold the hem across the cushion of the left forefinger and point the needle a little to the left across the middle of the thumb. Take up a few threads of the cloth and a few threads of the fold and draw the needle through. Take care that the stitches are regular, of equal length and of equal distance apart. Do not confuse the hemming stitch with the blind stitch, or the damask hem. Join the threads by leaving a half-inch of the old thread and a half-inch of the new to be tucked under the edge of the hem and be hemmed over.
Teachers will find the following suggestions helpful in teaching the hemming stitch:
Put the needle in almost straight with the hem, not at right angles to it. Take up as little cloth on the needle as possible; bring the needle directly through the hem, making one stitch of it instead of dividing the stitch as in the blind stitch. Crowd the point of the needle under the edge of the hem. Do not insert the needle a distance from the hem, trusting to puckering it up.
Damask is a heavy fabric woven of heavy threads of one color in which the pattern is brought out by a change in the direction of the threads, and when new is stiff with much dressing. From the very nature of the cloth it is impossible to hem well with the flat hem. The two folds of the hem are turned the desired width and the hem is then turned back flat to the cloth and creased. The edge of the hem and the crease thus formed are overhanded together with fine even stitches. When laundered this irons perfectly smooth and the stitches do not show on the right side. Do not confuse this method of hemming with the flat hem, as each has its own use.