December 8, 2014

Hand-Rolled Hems

Repairing vintage clothing for Basya Berkman Vintage for these last few years has lead me to learn about all sorts of clothing construction techniques that I've never had to use before.

My mentors have been the generous folks who post how-to's on the internet.  I have learned how to mend holes in sweaters, so far just with bulky knits.  I have learned how to make swing tacks.  And just recently I learned how to sew a hand-rolled hem.  Let me tell you, I am now addicted to hand-rolled hems.  They are nearly magical!  I honestly was grinning the whole time.

I always feel it is great to be totally enchanted by the small things in Life!

Here is the saga of the rolled hem, starring a lovely Edwardian dress.

There was a small area at the back waist of this dress that had torn, and someone in the past had darned across the tear.  The area around it was weak, and we thought it wise to back it somehow to help prevent further tearing.

The fabric is a super light weight cotton.  After some trial and error, I settled on using a patch of white organza. And then I thought I'd look into a rolled hem, so as to finish the edge of the patch with as narrow an outline as possible.

And here comes the magic.

A narrow single turn.  Stitches alternate between going horizontally within the fold and horizontally in the flat of the patch, just outside the fold.  The key element is to keep the thread going pretty much perpendicular between the two rows of horizontal stitches.

And the magic word:  Pull.  A gentle pull straightens out the thread which magically rolls the fabric over itself.  Done.

Here is the patch applied to the inside of the dress with a running stitch, longer on the inside and short on the outside.  I stitched around the damaged area as well as the edge of the patch.

View with light behind, so you can see the patch:

And just for pure enjoyment, a couple of shots of the lovely embroidery detailing.  There's nothing that says garden party quite so well as a floaty Edwardian dress!

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