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.





Reproduction Ayrshire Christening Gown – Part 3

I am getting very close to finished with the dress itself.  Just wanted to share this photo, with the sunlight streaming through the fabric you can really see the detail of the embroidery and how translucent the fabric is.  Looks ethereal.

Reproduction Ayrshire Christening Gown – Part 2

It is starting to look more like a dress now. I put gathered 1 inch lace edging along the 2 seam lines, but I am not sure about that, it may be too much, but I’ll have to wait until I get more completed to see if it overshadows the embroidery or if it looks out of place.


I decided to make the remainder of the skirt bottom out of panels divided by lace, each panel will have embroidery like the front but gradually tapering down to only embroidery at the bottom. This is one of the panels that will be attached directly behind the front panel.

Teddy’s Easter Outfit

It will be Teddy’s first easter this year.  I think he needs something special to wear to church.  I have lots of Nelona Baby Blue batiste, so I am going to make a Easter bubble for him.The first thing I set out to do was find a unique embroidery pattern that wasn’t run-of-the-mill Easter bunnies.  I found this pattern and fell in love with it.  It reminds me of Beatrix Potter drawings.



The embroidery in progress.

I decided to make the collars out of white handkerchief linen, they contrast well with the batiste fabric, and the embroidery shows up on them well.

The detail of the embroidery on the collars.

The finished projectThe finished project.  Teddy will be the best dressed baby in the nursery, but then, I am prejudiced.

Reproduction Ayrshire Christening Gown


While doing research for christening gowns, I ran across some photos of an antique Ayrshire christening gown. I fell in love with this beauty and have decided to try and reproduce an Ayrshire gown. Ayrshire Embroidery is hard to find, I could not find a source for any Ayrshire linens to use for the dress, so I will have to embroider my own by machine. I searched for “whitework” patterns in order to find something similar to Ayrshire.

Ayrshire embroidery, also known as sewed muslin, was worked in white cotton thread on white cotton muslin, usually in floral designs with trailing foliage, occasionally incorporating peacocks or other birds. It is characterised by cut-out spaces filled with needlepoint lace stitches, often in circular wheel patterns, surrounded by satin stitch with stem, beading and other stitches. It is most often found on baby robes, caps and bibs, women’s collars, cuffs and caps.

Close up detail of embroidery


Books and Articles

Bryson, Agnes, Ayrshire Needlework (London: Batsford, 1989)

Swain, Margaret, Ayrshire and Other Whitework (Shire Library) (Princes Risborough: Shire Publications, 1986

Swain, Margaret, The flowerers;: The origins and history of Ayrshire needlework (London & Edinburgh: W & R Chambers,1955)



Teddy’s Christening Gown

My middle child, Lindsey, now has a son, John Theodore Ehricht. He is my newest grandchild. Initially we did not know the sex of the baby, so I could not start on a christening gown until she could find out the sex at her ultrasound appointment. When she did finally find out, I was able to start on the gown.

Finding pretty christening gowns for boys is difficult. I wanted it to be elaborate without being prissy. Searching for boy’s christening gowns, I found this pattern. It fit the bill nicely.

I am very picky about items I sew. If I make a mistake I will always know where those mistakes are, even if they can’t be seen by the client. I was just learning my embroidery machine, and I did not know you could combine patterns into one. . Because of that, the embroidery on the center panels initially wasn’t lined up well. Even if Lindsey or anybody else would have never noticed, I knew it was there, so I had to remake the center panels on this dress, and had to order more fabric to do that.

The image above is the detail from the two front overlay panels. In the center between those two panels, I have embroidered the Trinity Cross set.

The finished Gown

Unfortunately these photos don’t do the gown justice as it is difficult to see the level of detail in the gown.

Detail of the center panel

In this photo you can see the Trinity Cross embroidery in the center.

I made shoes and a bonnet to match.  There is a beautiful embroidered “E” on the back of the bonnet in the Christian Crosses pattern. I don’t currently have a photo of the bonnet.

and a smaller complimentary “E” on the shoes.  Teddy’s feet are so big, I don’t think these fit too well by the time he was christened.

Hope’s Dress


I had seen this beautiful dress on the cover of Sew Beautiful magazine and wanted to make it for a while.


The inspiration for the dress.

I decided to make it for my oldest grandchild, Hope, knowing that she was getting too old for frilly dresses, she wants to look like a teenager, not a little girl.

The photo above is a close up detail of the lace fancy band on the bottom of the dress.

Overall dress

Wide Lace Collar

Detail of Sleeve.