Kelly's hand woven, perfectly hemmed technique.

I won't tell you how long these towels have been sitting on my creative table waiting to be hemmed. What is it with final techniques and me? I go to all that trouble to weave something beautiful and then let it sit there for who knows how long before I get around to hemming!  Anyway, lets focus on the positives. The towels ARE hemmed now, and I'm going to share my simple but effective hemming techniques with you!

Firstly, always weave a little extra where you intend to hem, and don't forget to factor in hemming allowances to your overall calculations. I like to make a little contrast weave at the beginning and end of a piece that I'm going to hem. Here I've woven plain weave borders at either end. There are 2 advantage to this - 
1. The contrast looks nice.
2. The border is less bulky and therefore makes a more crisp and pleasing hem.
You can see that my raw edge is secured on a serger to prevent any unravelling during the wet finishing process. It is helpful to give the whole woven piece a good press before beginning, it's always easier to work with pressed fabric.

This is what I call my "dog ear" technique.  Fold in a corner on each side of the hem and press down with an iron. There are 2 reasons for this also - 
1. The corners can get ugly and a bit ragged in the washing process - I want to hide them!
2. Towels have a tendency to be wider at each end. This reduces a little of that "flaired out" look.

Once my dog ears are pressed down neatly, I take the raw edge and fold it over, usually around 1/4" but more if it's particularly raggy. Press with the iron.

Now I fold again, this time 1/2" or more and press. Now all raw edges and corners should be completely encased and hidden. Once pressed, you can also place pins along to hold everything in place if you wish.

Take it to the sewing machine (different towel in this photo but the same process). Sew with a straight, medium stitch close to the folded edge (roughly 1/4 - 1/8"). You can use a different stitch if you want to, I just like the professional looking finish a medium straight stitch gives. Don't forget to reverse stitch at the start and finish.
For an almost invisible finish, you can hand hem with a needle and thread, perhaps I will go over that another time.

Seeing as we're on the subject of towels, if you're on the hunt for your next towel project, you may want to try one of my classes or patterns.

Online class:

PDF Patterns:

Drop me a comment to let me know if this post has been helpful to you, I love feedback!

Until next time...

Happy Weaving!


Marjan said...

Thank you for this great explanation!🌷

Kelly Casanova said...

Thank you for reading, Marjan :)

Valarie said...

Excellent tips and visuals! Please do consider doing a post on hand-hemming, I gave all our mother's machines to my sister! (don't have room for sewing machines at my house, anyway). I've held off on making kitchen towels, which I really, really want to do, because of fear of the hemming.

Yarn Cloud said...

Wonderful blog and yes it ook me month to finally hem my towels and it took only 30 minutes. Guess I love weaving more than finishing LOL

Kelly Casanova said...

Sure Valarie, thank you for the feedback.

Dawn said...

Thank you so much, Kelly! I recently finished my first towels and noticed the flairing at the ends and that the corner sort of poked out after I had sewn the seam. This will make things much better for future towels.

Do you always wet finish before hemming? I wasn't sure whether I should hem and then wet finish or the other way 'round so I hemmed first.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks so much for sharing this! I’ve been wondering about hemming towels. So far I’ve only done things with hem stitching fringe edges, but I didn’t want that on dish towels.

Kelly Casanova said...

Dawn, my rule is always, always wet finish before hemming - you risk distorted hems if you don't.

Kelly Casanova said...

Elizabeth, a fringe on kitchen towels is not ideal, is it? The fringes will show their age long before the towel does.

Unknown said...

I agree with Valerie!! I would so love to see a tutorial or class on scared of my sewing machine!!! Lol!!

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