12th century grey light-wool tunic,  12th century projects,  Hand-Sewing,  Projects

My husbands christmas gift – a grey light-wool 12th century tunic – a rolled hem for the bottom… :)

My husbands christmas gift - a grey light-wool 12th century tunic – rolled hemAfter adding the tablet woven band to the cuffs of my husbands new grey light-wool 12th century tunic, I took on  the bottom hem of the tunic and finished it by using the rather simple “rolled hem” technique.

Ok, I admit it – just using the rolled hem technique for the bottom hem seemed a little bit too simple and easy. Therefore I added a little bit of a twist to my rolled hem – literally… *lol*

Well, I wouldn’t say that my variation of the rolled hem technique is really period though there is a good chance that it might have been used during the medieval times as it is actually inspired by a medieval technique for finishing seams. However, I like my rolled hem variation as it adds a little bit of embellishment to my hem and I am quite keen on the look it creates… *lol*

And now let’s take a look at how I did my rolled hem for the bottom of my husbands new 12th century tunic – enjoy! 😀


As you can see on the picture above – which shows the rolled hem for the bottom of the tunic without any tension – I really added some “twist” to my sewing stitches in form of a hand spun thread I got from a friend some time ago. 🙂 

And this is how I normally work my rolled hem:


First I roll my hem and then I stretch the fabric with the rolled hem over about two of my fingers in the middle while the other fingers are holding the fabric and the rolled hem in place. This way I manage to apply a slight tension to the hem and fabric while I add one stitch after another.

And here a picture of the placement of my fingers underneath the fabric:


Sure, it is not easy to get used to this technique and you can find other techniques of how a rolled hem can be created on the internet which might be easier. However, the above shown technique works best for me and furthermore also allows me to finish a lot of rolled hem within a rather short time which is quite important as I do a lot of hand-sewing.

Now let’s get to the added wool thread along the rolled hem. Well, as I already stated at the beginning of my posting, I haven’t found any evidence concerning the usage of (filler) thread for rolled hem. But according to the book Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland the usage of (filler) threads on top of a raw (fabric) edges can be counted as a medieval technique for seam finishing along neck openings and face openings of hoods:

Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland, Page 97, fig. 62:

“Fig. 62 and Fig. 63
A turned back border (hem), with overcast stitches sewn on top of one or several (filler) threads that cover the raw edge, was prevalent in Norse Greenland. This type of needlework can be found along face openings on hoods and in neck opening; almost always seen together with one or two rows of stab stitches placed some few millimetres from the outermost edge.”

Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland, Page 97 & 98, “4.Sewing”:

“….A cut-off edge, folded towards the wrong side, can also have a decorative element, as can be seen along the front edge of most hoods, where the tight overcasting of one or more extra (filler) threads, placed along the cut-off edge, marks the termination of the fold. A similar edging is found around the neck openings of garments, and it is likely that this or the extra threads helped to prevent the neck edge from curling….

Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland

Amazon.com: Woven into the Earth: Textile finds in Norse Greenland (None)
Amazon.de: Woven into the Earth: Textile Finds in Norse Greenland (None None)

Already some years ago, after reading the information above, I tried this finishing technique with the filler threads for the very first time for one of my hood projects and really liked it. I especially liked the embellishing effect the (filler) thread added to the edge of the raw wool fabric.

And soon I started asking myself how it would look like if I added this (filler) thread to a rolled hem and decided to give it a try why I was working at a new project which involved wool fabric. What shall I say – I simply fell in love with the result and just can’t resist to add a (filler) thread to most of my rolled seams and hems now while I am working with wool fabric… 

I hope you enjoyed the pictures of how I execute my rolled hem. And more about the simple embellishment which I added to the front above the bottom hem in my next posting… 🙂

Best regards Racaire