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Hem Stitching - Stitch Library

Hemstitching is defined as the decorative bundling of a group of threads on an even weave fabric where part of the ground has been removed.

As featured in Baby’s First Christmas, Classic Sewing Holiday 2016 Issue

Downloadable File:

Stitch Library – Hem Stitching – PDF


Even weave fabric
Needle compatible with thread
(#26 or #28 tapestry)
Thread slightly smaller than your even
weave fabric (1 strand of floss or machine
sewing thread)


Withdraw the desired number of threads from your fabric.

If you are hemstitching a hem, baste your hem in one or two threads below the withdrawn area. Remove those basting threads as you progress with your hemstitching.


1. Loop your thread to the left of your stitching area and out of your way (like you are going to stitch an up or top cable in smocking). Notice the thread lies under the tip of the needle.

2. Holding your needle horizontally, slide it all the way through from right to left behind the first 3 threads to be bundled. The number of threads to be bundled may vary depending on your design.

3. Pull down on your thread and tighten hard enough so a bundled group separates from the other threads.

4. Anchor your bundling stitch by taking a tacking or anchor stitch straight up and down (needle pointing down). This stitch falls to the left of your first bundle and needs to go down into your fabric 2 threads below the withdrawn area. (Very fine fabrics call for anchoring 3 threads.) If you are hemstitching a hem, be sure to just catch the hem below the fold with your anchor stitches.

5. Tighten your thread.

6. Stitch across your fabric alternating your “bundling” and “anchoring” stitches, until the row is complete.

Wrong Side / Working Side

Right Side


1. Cut a new piece of stitching thread and lay it across the top of the last few stitches worked in the row.

2. Stitch several hemstitches over the top of the new thread (at least 5 – 7 stitches). Your anchor stitches will hold your new thread down. Make sure to end your stitching with an anchor stitch.

3. Thread your needle with your newly secured thread being careful not to pull it out from under any previous stitches. Stitch again over the last anchor stitch with your new thread.

4. Lay your old thread across the area you are getting ready to stitch.

Proceed stitching along the row over the top of the old thread.

5. When the thread is well anchored (at least 5 – 7 stitches) clip the old tail end and continue stitching along the row.

Wrong Side / Working Side

Right Side


1. If you have not done so, stitch a final anchor stitch. Weave the loose thread end back in under the last 5 or 6 angled stitches. Pull your thread to tighten. Be sure not to pull your thread so tight you distort the last bundle stitched. Cut your thread tail.

2. Go back and tie off any waste knots in the same fashion.