Mediterranean Folk Embroidery

Videos and Demos - Drawn Thread Hem

Basic Hem - How to Embroider - Drawn Thread Hem

Drawn Thread Hem Step 1

If you would like a more historical or precise hem finish, let's continue onto the Drawn Thread Hem Technique. This is my all-time favorite hem technique and really quite easy to learn. Once you get the hang of it, it has a lovely rhythm--wrap, snug up, secure, wrap, snug up, secure. Tip: when you're working this, it's helpful to sit at a table or put the embroidery on a pillow on your lap since you need to get it a little closer in order to see the little "bars".

Step 1: Once you've prepared your finished embroidery hem following the Basic Hem technique and have the hem pressed up in place and the mitered corners pressed and pinned into place, draw out 2-3 threads just above pressed edge, just like you did when you pulled the threads in order to trim the cloth, but this time, don't trim the cloth, just pull the threads. Pull very gently so you don't disturb your pressed hem.

Drawn Thread Hem Step 2

Step 2: Secure your thread by pulling through about an inch of thread into the pressed hem (so your thread tail is invisible) and then take a couple of tiny stitches to secure it. Now, look at the little vertical bars left when you pulled out the drawn threads.Pass your needle behind three bars as shown in the photo. Why don't we use a knot to secure the thread? Because a knot would pull through this kind of open weave fabric.

Drawn Thread Hem Step 3

Step 3: Pull the thread through and gently snug it up, using your finger to hold it in place if needed.

Drawn Thread Hem Step 4

Step 4: Put the needle into the fabric from right to left, directly under the first bar. Make your needle come up at the first bar of the next group of three bars you'll be wrapping.

Continue working these wrap-and-secure stitches around the entire embroidery. When you get to the miters, use a few invisible stitches to close them up. This photo shows how this looks from the side as you're working. At the corners, stitch the miters down with a few anchor stitches to keep them from coming undone.

Drawn Thread Hem Step 5

Step 5: Admire your lovely, traditional hem finish!

Note: if you want to work the wrapped stitches on the other side of the hem (the side that is not folded over, but is just plain fabric), you will need to sink your thread tail in the hem and then "float" your sewing thread next to one of the bars and then wrap it up with that group of 3 bars. Each time you start a new length of thread, you'll need to do this since there is no place to hide a thread tail on that side of the hem. You can also pull out additional horizontal threads for a deeper hem. Drawn thread work is an embroidery technique in its own right and has endless variations. The close up photo at the bottom of this page shows a piece of hand-made "Lefkada" work in which drawn thread technique is used to create beautiful openings and geometric designs.