Hemstitching Layers without Sewing Them Together

Handwoven Magazine Ask Madelyn

Dear Madelyn,
On my loom when I begin and end a piece, I hemstitch to keep the warp and weft from unraveling when I take the fabric off the loom.  I am currently hoping to try a doubleweave project that will open up to twice its weaving width.  My question is: if the piece is connected on one side and open on the other, how can I hemstitch both layers without sewing them together? 


Hi Jeanne!

In thinking about it long and hard, I am afraid there is no way you could really hemstitch the two layers individually on the loom. You could try to raise one of the layers and hemstitch the bottom one under the top one and then hemstitch the top one, but I think this would be much harder than doing the hemstitching off the loom.

To make hemstitching off the loom easier and more effective: Start the weaving with a header in some slippery, tightly spun yarn (plied nylon cord or some such). Next, weave 2 picks of the real yarn (or the number of picks you want to include in each stitch of the hemstitching) followed by a single pick of the smooth yarn. Then weave the complete piece with the real yarn as usual. At the other end, weave with the nylon as you did at the beginning but in reverse. Note that each pick mentioned above is really 2 picks, one in the top layer and one in the bottom layer (I.e., 4 picks total of the real yarn, 2 picks total of the nylon spacer cord).

When you remove the project from the loom, do the hemstitching, pulling out the single strand of slippery scrap yarn and the yarn in the header as you take each stitch. You could do this hemstitching without having used the nylon spacer thread, but the effect will be smoother (and the task easier to do) with its addition.


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