Monday, August 8, 2016

Using A Hemstitch Needle

I learned about the Hemstitch/Wing Needle when I was taking a sewing class for my new sewing machine. I was blown away by such a simple thing as a needle being able to open the door for adding more to my sewing repertoire. This special needle looks slightly different than regular needles, the tip is flared to help create a small gap in the fabric. How distinct/defined this gap is depends on how many times the needle goes in and out of the hole.  Today I wanted to show how using this needle can really add something unique to the garment being sewn.


My son has outgrown his first set of Sailboat Tops and is in need of more. The fabric I used for this one is from JoAnn and is one of Cloud 9’s quilting cotton. In general I don’t like sewing with quilting cotton, but Cloud 9’s for some reason is different. Once washed it becomes softer and almost acts like a linen. It still wrinkles, and I need to iron after every wash.

With the Sailboat pattern there are facings for the neckline and hem. The facings raw edges are sewn to the garment, which is where the curved lines at the top and bottom come from. The pattern suggests to sew on the wrong side so that the raw edge of the facings can be used as a guide, this results in the bobbin thread showing on the right side. I have a wonderful machine but my bobbin stitches can not compare to my needle stitches. However, it would be extremely difficult to sew on the right side without some kind of guide.

To get started first I serge my raw edges of the facings (this is stated in the instructions), I sew the facings on as instructed, and understitch the seam allowance to the facing (I don’t think this part is mentioned but it helps in keeps the facing to the wrong side and in turning the fabric). Once everything is pressed in place I use a contrasting silk thread and baste the facing to the shirt, following the stitch line of serger. I like to use silk thread because it is easier than polyester and cotton to remove if it is accidentally sewn over. The basting stitches creates the guide needed to stitch on the right side of the fabric and ensure all layers are stitched together. Next, cut several strips of tear-away stabilizer (this is key to getting a really nice stitch), this will be placed along the stitch line on the wrong side of the fabric while sewing.

Now we are ready to sew the facing onto the shirt from the right side. Attach the hemstitch needle, chose a decorative stitch, you don’t need a fancy machine, just give the stitches on your machine a try and see what happens! The more the needle goes into the same spot the bigger the hole in that spot will be. Than start sewing, following the basted line created earlier. On the sleeves for this shirt I used the same hemstitch to create a decorate hem. Doing this will take a little bit more time but the results are amazing!


There are lots of resources online to learn more about using this type of needle, I have listed a couple below.

Written by: Shawna


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