Getting The Edges Right– Hemming Your Masterpiece

Now that you have completed your masterpiece (hooray you!), you need to decide how to hem it.  If your project is intended to be hung on a wall, or a centerpiece on a table (items that won’t need to withstand much wear and tear), you can do a simple folded over hem.

Cut away excess backing, leaving about 3" all the way around for your hem.  If you have corners, it's best to trim away (as shown above) to reduce bulkiness.

1.  Cut away excess backing, leaving about 3″ all the way around for your hem. If you have corners, it’s best to trim away (as shown above) to reduce bulkiness.

The first step in creating a mitered corner is to fold down the diagonal edge.

2.  The first step in creating a mitered corner is to fold down the diagonal edge.

Fold the sides down to meet on the corners.

3.  Fold the sides down to meet on the corners.

Hand sew your hem, making sure you pick up the backing with your needle, not a bit of yarn.

4.  Hand sew your hem, making sure you pick up the backing with your needle, not a bit of yarn.

If your project is meant to be put on the floor, you will need to bind the edges.  This is a very simple process, but it adds years and years of life to the rug.  I repair old rugs, and unfortunately you rarely see bound edges on the old rugs.  Usually the backing has worn out along the edge, and some of the hooking is coming out.  (I’ll cover the subject of repairing old rugs in a future post!)  I don’t know who we have to thank for the technique of binding the edges, but it is so simple and effective there is no earthly reason to avoid using it.

When binding the edge, the first step is the same.  Trim away excess backing  leaving 3" all the way around for the hem.  Trim the corner, leaving about 1" of backing from the hooked corner.

5.  When binding the edge, the first step is the same as #1 above. Trim away excess backing leaving 3″ all the way around for the hem. Trim the corner, leaving about 1″ of intact backing from the hooked corner.

Wrap the backing around cotton cable cord (3/16"), sticking out from the hooked edge, and baste it down all around the edge.

6.  Wrap the backing around cotton cable cord (3/16″), sticking out from the hooked edge, and baste it down all around the edge.

Tack down the edges to make a nice corner.

7.  Tack down the edges to make a nice corner.

After you have added the cotton cording all the way around, fold down your corners, just like you did above.
8.  After you have added the cotton cording all the way around, fold down your corners, just like you did in #2 above.
Fold down one side and pin it.

9.  Fold down one side and pin it.

Fold down the other side so they meet up along the corner.

10.  Fold down the other side so they meet up along the corner.

Whip stitching the edge:  Using a matching yarn and a tapestry needle, come up from the back, close to the hooked edge, and leave a 1" tail in the back.

11.  Whip stitching the edge: Using a matching yarn and a tapestry needle, come up from the back, close to the hooked edge, and leave a 1″ tail in the back.

Bring your needle around and come up from the back again.  Notice how I am holding the 1" tail down.  I will be sewing right over it.

12.  Bring your needle around and come up from the back again. Notice how I am holding the 1″ tail down. I will be sewing right over it.

After you have done a few stitches, you will want to turn the needle around, so that the final end of the yarn will be in the back.  Just go back through with your needle, from front to back, and continue until you run out of yarn.

13.  After you have done a few stitches, you will want to turn the needle around, so that the final end of the yarn will be in the back. Just go back through with your needle, from front to back, and continue until you run out of yarn.  When you come in with the next bit of yarn, start the same way as you did in #11, back to front.  Then you will sew over both ends, so they disappear.

Continue whip stitching around the corner, making sure you cover all of the linen backing.

14.  Continue whip stitching around the corner, making sure you cover all of the linen backing.

When you have finished whip stitching and you are back where you began, just run your needle through the back about 1", and trim away the rest (now your final end is sewn over).

15.  When you have finished whip stitching and you are back where you began, just run your needle through the back about 1″, and trim away the rest (now your final end is sewn over).

Hemming:  make sure you are picking up the backing with your needle, not a bit of yarn.

16.  Hemming: make sure you are picking up the backing with your needle, not a bit of yarn.

Waste Not Want Not, 31"x20", Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Waste Not Want Not, 31″x20″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Crown of Thorns, 36"x22", Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor.  This rug was bound in a hit or miss fashion, using colors from inside the rug.

Crown of Thorns, 36″x22″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor. This rug was bound in a hit or miss fashion, using colors from inside the rug.

Counting Sheep, 17.5"x40", Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor.

Counting Sheep, 17.5″x40″, Designed and hooked by Judy Taylor.

Close up view of the two-color binding

Close up view of the two-color binding

The Crown of Thorns rug is the Featured Rug of the Month at Little House Rugs.  The pattern is easy and amazingly versatile, not to mention a great way to use up leftover yarns from other projects. Blog followers can get the Crown of Thorns pattern on linen for 20% off during the month of April.  Go to http://www.littlehouserugs.com/crown-of-thorns-blog-special.html.

I will have a booth at the Puyallup Spring Fair Shepherd’s Extravaganza April 16-19.  If you’re in the area, come on down!

Hand-hooked Victorian Santa, with mohair beard.  34"x20", designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

Hand-hooked Victorian Santa, with mohair beard. 34″x20″, designed and hooked by Judy Taylor

And remember that for every $50 you spend with Little House Rugs, between now and November 25, you will be entered to win this hand-hooked Victorian Santa (value $165), just in time for Christmas!

Have a happy April everyone!

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2 thoughts on “Getting The Edges Right– Hemming Your Masterpiece

  1. Tammy Hort says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! I just finished my very first project and needed this info. Instead of hemming the back edges, can they be cut close to the bound edge?

    Like

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