Kimberly Servello's Embroidery Blog

Kimberly Servello - Pattern Drawer and Embroideress

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Antique or Rolled Hem

 I'm hemming the edges of this scarf using an antique hem from Therese deDilmont's book on Needlework.  It's a rolled hem.  I used a regular white sewing thread, dual duty, fine.  Use a thread that matches your fabric color, preferably linen or cotton / poly.
 I thought I'd describe first how I prepare the linen to hem my scarves (works well for table linens, too).

I usually leave 3/8" between the cut edge of my linen to where I pull threads to make the somewhat open look of the hem.  Here you see the scarf, after it's been removed from my slate frame (an embroidery frame similar to a scroll frame).  I'm trimming the 1/2" of excess linen off the edge.  That was the area I used to lace my material onto the frame.

You can see here that 3/8" in from the edge of the linen, I've pulled 2 threads.  This is 60 ct linen.  If it were 36 ct or courser, I would only have pulled one thread. 

Starting at one long edge, knot your thread and weave the thread thru an inch or so of the linen so that the knot will be hidden within the rolled edge of the linen as you hem. Roll your linen as shown at left (click on photos to enlarge).  Bring the needle up thru the linen as shown and then pick up a group of threads in the pulled thread area as shown.  Pull your needle thru (see right photo)

Now, bring the needle up thru the linen again and repeat the above process. 


  1. Thank you for showing us how this is done. I have quite a few linens that my grandmother did this treatment to ... I never would have figured it out. Thanks again

  2. Hi Trayne1837,
    You're welcome! About 25 years ago I bought some antique napkins and admired the hem on them, so I know how you feel! I started looking into old needlework books until I identified it and figured out how it was done - some of the old needlework books aren't real clear. I think for this technique the book gave one photo and no instructions : )

  3. Beautiful! It's a true art to be able to create linens like this.

  4. What do you do at the corners?

    1. The corners are mitered. You must have read my mind - I've been thinking that I need to add a tutorial on how to miter the corners. I will add that soon!

  5. Beautiful your work..really nice and exclusive.
    I share with you maybe, the passion for Linen and embroidery on it.

    I'd like to show you my drawn thread's tutorial as well and how finishig the corners...
    My blog is in Spanish but can use translator in there...
    Best Regards,
    Margarita , linenartisan


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