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Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) icon
Hem stitch (Drawn Thread)

  • Spoke stitch
Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) main image

This hem stitch is a drawn thread stitch where the edge of the open area produces a decorative border. It can be used in conjunction with other drawn thread stitches.
For a version where both sides of the drawn area are stitched, see ladder hem stitch.

Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) is generously sponsored by Mary Janet Kepher


If you are working on the edge of the fabric, turn the hem in just up to the edge of the drawn threads, and tack the hem in position. In the example below, a drawn thread band is worked on the ground fabric, which is taut in an embroidery frame. It shows that the starting point is two fabric threads down from the edge and that four vertical fabric threads are gathered. However, you could change the number of threads depending on the effect you require.

Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) method stage 1 photograph

Prior to starting hem stitch, follow one of the drawn thread removal techniques, and then work a waste knot and two tiny running stitches Bring your needle up at the bottom left corner two threads below the withdrawn area and then insert it in the withdrawn area, four threads to the right.

Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) method stage 2 photograph

Pass the working thread behind the cluster of four fabric threads and and back in where it was previously inserted, to wrap the cluster. Pull the wrapping tight and then come up two threads below.

Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) method stage 3 photograph

Insert the needle to the right of the next four fabric threads, wrap around the cluster of fabric threads, and come up two threads down from the edge. Cut off the waste knot and continue.

Hem stitch (Drawn Thread) method stage 4 photograph

Continue until the end. To finish, you can secure the working thread inside the edge of the drawn thread band or inside the turned up hem.

Hem stitch (Drawn Thread)

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Hem stitch is very useful for borders and may be worked on both sides of drawn threads - see ladder hem stitch.

Embroidery Techniques

Variant Stitches


  • Jenny Adin-Christie, Fine whitework (2023) , p.83
  • S. F. A. Caulfeild, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.184
  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.104–5
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.111–2