On to the next question in my weaving education!  How does everyone do hems?  I've had two methods recommended to me and they both sound good, but I'd like any feedback or other ideas too.

Method 1: separate items on the loom by a few pics of waste yarn.  When the items are removed from the loom, machine zigzag up close to the waste yarn.  Machine wash and dry,  Cut apart where waste yarn is.  Fold over zigzag, fold again and machine hem.

Method 2: Hemstitch both ends of each item while on the loom and weaving.  Take off loom, cut to short fringes, fold up twice and handsew hems.  Then wash.

I hate getting out the sewing machine and my next warp of towels will be done with method 2. 


Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 22:26

Option 2 sounds like my towels!

wet finished (wash & dry), hand hemmed,
finished size 14 x 24 inch.

This is woven with peaches and cream cotton yarn
No. 1 white, I bought a 14 oz cone at Walmart about $7

No. 205 gumdrop, 2 oz ball, $1.75 ea, two balls

Here is a youtube video that showed me how to hemstitch with the fringe. I handhemmed on the loom after weaving.

hemstitch video

Have a good day!

Franco Rios

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 22:26

I handsew my hems - but I also separate items by machine stitching , wash, turn up hems, and then  handsew. I usually hemstitch on the ends that are visible - like scarves. But - my sewing machine is always out and handy to use - I say - do what is easiest for you and that you like the look of best!

Posted on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 23:10

When using finer threads, you can make hems exactly as you would on commercial fabrics.

It is definitely best to wash the entire yardage and then cut and sew. That way, any "working" during wet finishing can be compensated for when hemming. Cloth at 20 epi or finer will not ravel any more than what you buy at the fabric store.

Hand rolled hems are nice on decorative items, but tend to be weak on items that are frequently qwashed by machine.

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 02:37

 I hand hem scarves when I haven't fringed them and machine hem towels.  When I weave the hems, I weave the 1/2 inch turn-under in a finer yarn than the the rest of the weft so the hem isn't too bulky. Hems on other items are determined by their purpose and the look I want.

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 15:57

I will add my two cents, by saying that dish towels should be wet finished (if cotton) in hot water to set the cloth before cuting apart and sewing. You can see a 17 yard dish towel warp hanging (for the picture) before being sew at www.handweaver.us

Sherie I have your mag on the too buy and sell listing.


Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 16:37

I used to do as Michael suggest and wet finished the entire warp length before cutting and hemming.  But my new washing machine boasts a 'high roll over rate' - which means that long lengths turn themselves into long 'ropes'.  :(

So now I cut and serge tea towels before wet finishing - in hot water - no fabric softener - and then give them a hard press.  After hemming they get another hard press before I consider them ready for sale or gift giving.



Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 16:44

I have noticed on the few items I have finished so far that my washer does the same thing - they come out totally twisted over and over like rope.  I can leave probably 2-3 towels together but not more than that.

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 18:33

 I've found that I have to do the same thing with my washer.  I actually have some hand towels where all I did was serge the edges, they are worsted weight yarn, but have held up well with weekly washing.

You should see the mess I untangle when I'm washing commercial fabric for 1840's dresses. (7-9 yards of fabric)

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 19:14

Twisted towels is something I encountered also with the wet finish. I now put the towels in a mesh laundry bag for the wash/dry cycle.

Have a good day!

Posted on Wed, 07/08/2009 - 20:41

My teacher suggested we do this:


You can weave a few rows of waste if you wish to make the hadling easier in the end, but...


for your first 1/4" or so (however deep you want your hem divided in half) weave with a matching SEWING THREAD.


Then you can finish howerver you want, hand or maching sewing. But this makes your edge not so thick and the hem will we nice and flat once turned up and sewn down.

Of course, this is if you want a fringe-less towel...