Sew Beautiful Creations

Hemstitching Tutorial

 Pin stitching was originally done by hand. Drawn thread work is a form of counted-thread embroidery based on removing threads from the warp and/or the weft of a piece of even-weave fabric. The remaining threads are grouped or bundled together into a variety of patterns. The more elaborate styles of drawn thread work use in fact a variety of other stitches and techniques, but the drawn thread parts are their most distinctive element. It is also grouped as whitework embroidery because it was traditionally done in white thread on white fabric and is often combined with other whitework techniques. The most basic kind of drawn thread work is hemstitching. Drawn thread work is often used to decorate the trimmings of clothes or household linens. The border between hemstitching gone fancy and more elaborate styles of drawn thread work isn’t always clear.

 In 1890, Karl Friedrich Gegauf set up his own business in Steckborn, Switzerland, opening an embroidery and mechanical workshop for the manufacture of his own invention, a monogram embroidery machine. Together with his brother Georg, a salesman, Karl Friedrich ran the “Gebrüer Gegauf” (Bros. Gegauf) company. Through his involvement in the textile industry, he noticed how laborious it was to produce hemstitching, which until then could only be done manually. Consequently, in 1893 Karl Friedrich Gegauf invented the world’s first hemstitch sewing machine, capable of sewing 100 stitches per minute.

In 1895 the Bros. Gegauf workshop was completely destroyed by fire, except for the prototype of the hemstitch sewing machine, which was the only thing that could be rescued. Undeterred, Karl Friedrich erected a new workshop in an old barn, where the focus was no longer on embroidery, but on the construction of the hemstitch sewing machine, which the company now also exported abroad. 70 people were employed in the serial production of the hemstitch sewing machine. The name Gegauf became so famous that from then on, the mechanical production of hemstitching, whether as embellishment for handkerchiefs, tablecloths or bedspreads, was commonly referred to as “gegaufing”.

Now some clever seamstress has developed a method to mimick hemstitching using a wing needle.  The wing needle puntures holes in the fabric that look like the holes made by the drawn threadwork.

In order for hemstitching to look good, it must be done on natural fibers, such as cotton or linen.  It will not work on synthetic fibers such as polyester.  In addition, the fabrics should be somewhat thin, such as batiste or handkerchief linen.

Set machine stitch to pin stitch, which looks sort of like a ladder without one side, the “rungs” of the ladder should stitch over the lace heading towards the right. Machine Settings on my Bernina 1260 are Stitch width = 2.5, Stitch length = 2.5
*please note that these are the settings I used – you might have to adjust the width and length on the project you are working on.



Place a piece of Stitch ‘n Ditch paper under fabric and lace Align the needle so that the left straight stitch line will be directly above the lace heading – “rungs of ladder” will stitch into the lace *Note: I like to use a clear foot for this step, as it makes it alot easier to see where the lace meets the fabric and to keep my straight stitch directly above the lace seam line.



As you stitch you will be able to see the beautiful pin stitching! When complete, tear the Stitch ‘n Ditch paper away.   Finished beautiful pin stitched edge! I do not always use the stabilizer, but you must make sure you starch the fabric very well or you won’t see the hemstitching. I also use a very find thread for this, you don’t want to fill up the decorative “holes” with thread.





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