Materials For Practice

Unbleached Muslin,

6x2 1/2 Inches.

White Victoria Lawn,

4 1/2 x l Inches.

Colored Cotton, No. 60.

White Cotton, No. 100-150.

Needle, No. 9.

Needle, No. 10-12.


Washcloth, handkerchief, apron, kimono. See No. 23.


A means of finishing the raw edges in clothing and other articles such as aprons, dusters and towels.


The double fold of material and the slanting stitch make a strong finish.


The stitch is worked from right to left on the edge of a folded hem. When the hem is well turned down and when necessary carefully basted, lay the work across the first finger of the left hand, with the fold turned toward the outside of the hand. Make a small knot and conceal it under the hem or point the needle to the right into the extreme end of the folded hem, and draw through all but a little end of thread, which must lie along the hem to be sewed in with the first stitches. Now point the needle toward the left, first into the material and then through again into the edge of the hem. Make slanting stitches. (The hemming stitch is sometimes made straight with the hem instead of slanting; it is less strong in this way.) Uniformity of slant and size are more important than small stitches for beginners. If pupils are taught to notice carefully, they will observe that in a correct position the two thumbs are at right angles with each other. When the thread has been pulled through the fold on the wrong side, be particular not to begin the next stitch directly under it, but a little in advance. The stitch is composed of two parts, slanting toward each other, and in close hemming forms a tent shape, the two sides of which are equal. (See Fig. 12.) The needle should go fully through to the right side if the material is to be laundered, or it makes an insecure stitch. The stitch must be even, but threads should not be counted. Care must be taken in beginning a new thread in the middle of a hem. If the fastening of both new and old threads cannot be neatly made in the hem break the old thread off short, pull out a stitch or two, leaving the end between the fold and the material, and begin a new thread in the fold where the last stitch was pulled out; hold down the ends of both old and new thread with the first stitches, letting them lie along the fold. Fasten off by taking two stitches in the fold over the last stitches taken. To avoid pricking the finger, loosen the work a little as the stitch is taken.

Fig. 12. Hemming Stitch on Canvas.

Fig. 12.-Hemming Stitch on Canvas.

Fig. 13. Hemming. Taking of New Thread.

Fig. 13.-Hemming. Taking of New Thread.

For hemming on silk, chiffon or very sheer cotton material the stitch is made differently so that it will be almost invisible on the right side. In such cases a very long slanting stitch is taken on the wrong side, while the needle takes up on the right side as little material as will hold the hem in place. Sometimes, catching one half of a single thread of the cloth is sufficient to hold down the material.


First practice piece. Take a strip of unbleached muslin, 6x2 1/2 inches, fold 3/8 inch hem along the two short sides and across one long edge. Square the corner nearest to the point where the hem is begun, cut out the unnecessary cloth from under the fold. Miter the other corner, according to Miter No. 1. Baste the hem carefully with white cotton. If the cloth is cut and folded exactly, it is easier to make the stitch even. Begin the work at the extreme left hand. Hem along one short side to the square corner. (In hemming across the square and mitred corners, do not allow the stitch to go through to the right side.) Put the needle through the hem without going through to the right side, overhand neatly the fold to the under fold, and begin the hemming stitch again at the point where it reaches the corner. At the mitred corner put the needle through the cloth to the extreme outer point, and hem along the mitre and then along the remaining short side of the practice piece. The work on this practice piece should be done with colored thread, that the weak points in the stitch may be seen and criticised.

Second practice piece. Take a strip 4 1/2x1 inch of white Victoria lawn, or some fine muslin. Cut one end into a point. Turn in the narrowest hem possible along each of the long sides, and across the pointed end. Hem with white cotton No. 100, and the finest hemming stitches.


Hemming is a difficult stitch to learn, as it requires neat and accurate adjustment; it is not well for young children to attempt it on fine cotton cloth. As decoration it is very attractive; children in first and secondary primary grades may utilize it on canvas with colored wool and gain ideas of its form and accuracy which will make it easier for them later to learn to make it on muslin, or they can make a coarse stitch with colored wool on cheesecloth for a duster.

For the first practice on muslin, the stitch should be made rather coarse. When once learned it is easy to make it small and accurate.

The pupils should be given articles to work on as quickly as possible, even if they can only make a large and irregular stitch at first, improvement will come more rapidly than on practice pieces. The very interest they feel in the work will increase their critical spirit and their desire for better effects. Handkerchiefs, aprons, sheets, and sails may be made entirely of the hemming stitch.

Running, stitching and hemming are so universally utilized in articles of everyday use that any child who has learned them, is able to be of use to herself and to others. It is in the hands of the teacher to suggest uses for them by showing the classes hemming on garments, by giving various articles to construct and by encouraging free expression of opinion to develop ideas connected with them.