In the comments to my "M's And O's Dishtowels" post, Bspinner asked how I hemmed my handspun dishtowels. I was very interested in how she did hers, and, being the sort of person who loves new ways and methods, thought I would ask you all the same. How do you hem a dishtowel? Or a handtowel? Or blankets? Or place mats and table runners? Or anything handwoven?
I have to admit that it took quite a few years before I could build up the nerve to actually cut my handwoven cloth, let alone sew it. In fact, I still have several lengths of yardage from years ago. These remain packed away in a trunk, because I couldn't bring myself to cut and sew them. It was quite an occasion when I finally did it. In fact, it wasn't all that long ago; it was when I made the log cabin necktie for my DH.
I admit it was several posts ago that Bspinner first asked this question. Hopefully it hasn't been forgotten by now but, being a visual person myself, I wanted to wait until I could get the last M's & O's dishtowel off the loom, so I could take photos of what I'm doing.
Probably most of you do something similar, but I would be interested in your feedback and comments. I'm always looking for either confirmation or better ways to do things.
My current method is to start by running a quick zig zag stitch over both ends of the fabric right after I take it off the loom. Then it is wet finished in whatever manner I intend for the finished item to be laundered. In the case of cotton dishtowels, I wash in cold water and laundry detergent.......
..... and then dry in the dryer on medium. If it's too wrinkly after that, then I iron it.
To prepare them to cut apart, I run two more zig zag rows on either side of the cutting line.
I used white thread here so you could actually see the stitches. Usually I use a color that matches.
I'm not sure why I prefer a zig zag stitch. Perhaps because it offers a little "give" to the fabric. Does anyone like a straight stitch better?
Then I cut them apart and prepare to sew the hems.
I do a double fold hem, and I find that it's neater if I press the first fold and then pin for sewing.
I say "press" rather than "iron" because they aren't the same thing and I have found that which one I do makes a difference. Ironing is the act of sliding the hot iron back and forth over fabric to remove wrinkles. Pressing involves setting the hot iron straight down on the fabric, holding it there, and then lifting it up again. I found that when I ironed, I somehow pushed or stretched the cut edge of the fabric so that it ended up a tad wider than the rest of it. This didn't make for nice square corners!
After folding and pinning, I either hem by hand (because I enjoy hand work) or use a zig zag stitch. I do prefer to pin them so that I can remove the pins as I get to them. (I've broken too many needles running over pins.)
The label sewn into the hem is an idea I got from my friend Ann in England. Awhile back, I purchased 50 labels from Heirloom Woven Labels. However, I was rather dismayed at how long they turned out to be.....
This has been okay for some projects, like my afghans, but the labels are a little too long for smaller projects. I thought Ann's idea was a clever way to both attach a label, as well as create a loop to hang the dishtowel up with.
So that's how I've been hemming my handwoven dishtowels. Now it's your turn. I'd love to know how you hem handwoven fabric, as well as any other tips, experiences, or ideas for sewing it. If I get a good response, I'll put all your ideas and suggestions into another post. (Click here for that post.)
Posted 24 Feb. 2008 at http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com
Hemming Handwoven Fabrics