A number of people have asked how I did the hems on my January TAST samples. So I have put together a few tips. Firstly I have to say that this type of hem takes a bit of time to stitch about 3 hours for each sample which measure 6" X 8 1/2". The time taken can be considerably less than this if you are using an open-weave even count linen, (the needle-book). This type of linen is great for drawn thread work but not so good for other types of stitching.
The other good thing about this type of hem is that it allows you to use under sized pieces of fabric. By that I mean a piece of fabric that would be too small if you turned a normal hem
It gives a firm, non frayable edge but does require an even weave fabric to get the right effect.
To begin, I withdraw a thread at what I want to be the outside edge, on all four sides.
To start my stitching I run a small number of running stitches on the edge that I intend to turn under. (I will stitch over these when I get to the four sided stitch.)
I use a 24 tapestry needle and a 12 perle cotton, it the fabric is of a lower thread count I sometimes use a 8 perle cotton.
In the space left by the withdrawn thread I gather 4 thread with a back stitch around the whole piece. When stitching this you need to have some tension on your thread as this line of stitching will form the picot edge.
At this point I cut back the hem edges so they are about the same width, no less than 1/2" if possible. As I want my four sided stitch to be as wide as it is high I withdraw the 5th and then 10th thread from inside the line of back stitch. (You could make this the 4th and 8th theads if you are running short on fabric. I find any less than this is unsuccessful.)
The fabric is then turned under so that the back stitch stands proud. I like to turn the two short edges and then the long, ironing them in place. I then start with a back stitch over the 4 threads in the space left from the withdrawn thread and through the turned over fabric held at the back. Pull this tight. Doing this forms the holes and holds the fabric in place.
Take the thread up between the picots and 4 threads further along from your last back stitch. This holds the fold in place and accentuates the picot.
Sometimes the thread may catch and pull out of position. Use your needle to lay it in the right position and then pull tight.
Continue with these two steps around your fabric.
When you get to a corner you will need to stitch through a number of layers. The best way to do this is with a stabbing motion.
The needle will take the thread through all the layers and hold the corner firm.
The next row uses the same stitches but is a lot easier as you don't have to worry about the picot.
When starting and finishing my thread on the edge, I use the channel formed by the stitching to hide the ends.
To finish off, turn your fabric to the wrong side and trim back the fabric to the stitching.