See that delicate and decorative stitching running parallel to the stitched hem?
This type of hemstitch is often associated with heirloom items like handkerchiefs and vintage clothing but it can also be used for a fresh look on contemporary styles.
It works best on natural fabrics and use silk or embroidery thread. Regular thread is too thick and will fill the holes defeats the purpose and desired effect.
At the heart of this distinct and elegant presentation is one simple and inexpensive sewing tool called a wing needle.
A wing needle can be used on any zigzag machine and literally punches a hole into your fabric while the sewing machine stitches around the piercing.
You can find wing needles at your local fabric store in the notions aisle right next to the other assorted sewing machine needles.
For the purposes of our table runner/napkin pattern, follow these simple steps. This technique is very easy, but it is a good idea to give a practice run before you work on your finished piece.
Decorative stitches are not straight lines and the machine will go back and forward to complete the stitch. It’s important not to pull the fabric through the machine – that can distort the stitching.
Position your napkin or item right side up. You want to stitch on the FRONT of the napkin to get the full effect of the stitched design.
The runner/napkin hem line is important because that’s what you’ll use to help guide your wing needle placement. Line up the presser foot edge along the hem line stitching.
Also, the corner-turns on the box stitch are especially important to practice so the perpendicular corner stitches line up perfectly.
I think the trickiest part of this technique has to do with matching your corners so that you get a perfect point where the two ends meet.
This is where you need to pay close attention to the needle position. When you get close to the end of a row, make sure the wing needle is in the down position in the UPPER RIGHT corner of the box stitch.
Then, turn the fabric to begin the new row. At this point, the new box stitch in the new row will overlap the old box stitch in the old row and the corner stitches will line up perfectly.
There are a ton of creative possibilities and before you know it… you’ll be searching for ways to put your wing needle to beautiful use.