“…half-past four at Manderley, and the table drawn before the library fire. The door flung open, punctual to the minute, and the performance, never- varying, of the laying of the tea, the silver tray, the kettle, the snowy cloth.” from Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier
I have 2 sets of napkins like the one I've photographed above. One set is dinner size, and the other cocktail or luncheon size. In each set, half of the napkins have a lady in one corner & the other half have men. I can't find any information about when they were made - possibly in the 1930s. I enjoy using them because they remind me of Renaissance period Reticello designs.
The hem on the napkin is the same as that used on a 1610 linen collar (called a standing band) in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion 4. The collar is housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and is available for viewing online : Acc 30.135.147. The book gives a much clearer closeup of the hem, but there is a closeup photo of it on the museum site that shows a corner of the collar. This hem is actually comprised of 2 steps, first the Antique Rolled Hem that is detailed in my tutorial of the same name. The second step consists of a pulled-thread stitch, called a Four-sided stitch, that is added immediately below the hem.
This tutorial addresses how to turn corners when using the Antique Rolled Hem technique. The Four-sided stitch will be addressed in another tutorial.
Turning corners when hemming in this manner is quite simple. In this photo, the last bundle of threads are being gathered, before turning the corner. This technique is detailed in my tutorial Antique Rolled Hem.
Now the linen, along the next side to be hemmed, is rolled such that it abuts where the needle/thread are emerging from the linen, as shown. The linen has been folded over once, and then again to conceal the raw edge within the fold.
Take a small compensating stitch to bring the needle to the starting position to turn the corner. As shown the thread travels between the layers of linen in this compensating stitch, so that it's not visible from front or back.
Tack down the corner with a few tiny stitches. Take care that they are not visible from the front of the linen....
On the last tack-down stitch, bring the needle up, as shown, to begin hem stitching along the new side.
Gather the first group of threads to begin hemming.
Proceed as usual along the new side. In this photo, the corner has been completed.
The last photo shows the hem from the front. Notice that the area where threads have been pulled for the hem can be seen on each side of the corner. That same area is noticeable on the vintage linens as well. If this is not desirous, do not pull out any threads when preparing to hem. The hem itself will not have the open, or pulled thread, look that this has.
On those 16th &17th century linens that I've seen, threads weren't pulled for the hem, even on very high count linens. The exception to that is when there is an openwork area immediately below the hem. I will go over that technique in a future post.