Sunday, March 13, 2011

Gigliuccio Hemstitch - Attaching the hem

Lots of readers have asked if there is another way to attach a hem while doing the Gigliuccio or Peahole Hemstitch at the same time as executing the hemstitching instead of in a separate operation. The answer is yes! However, the rules of how to execute the Gigliuccio change and instead of executing the work on the frontside of your fabric, you will have to do everything on the back side.

I finally got around to reading up on my camera's settings and was able to do a relatively nice set of super-macro photos for this, though it took many tries and hundreds of photos! I got a great table-top tripod for Christmas from my photographer-daughter and with a ball-head attachment it is perfect for what I need it to do! (If you're wondering: the camera is a Canon S5 15 and the tripod is a Joby Gorillapod.)

So, withdraw your threads for the Gigliuccio hemstitch, turn up your hem and baste it down (to the backside of the fabric). I tied a knot in my thread and then went into my hem area about 2 inches away from where I wanted to start stitching. Come up at the top of the hem fold right where you want to begin. Just to be clear, you are coming up from inside the hem fabric, you are not catching any of the front fabric at all.

Step One: Moving left to right, slide the needle back toward the left under four ground threads:

Step Two: Insert the needle into the hem fabric without catching any of the front fabric to the right four threads, only catch about two ground threads of the hem fabric:

Step Three: Slide the needle behind the same four ground threads as in Step One:

Step Four: Moving diagonally to the right, go up and over four ground threads and slide the needle behind the four ground threads directly above:

Step Five: Insert the needle four ground threads to the right and down, coming out right where your previous stitching is:

Now we begin the whole procedure again, to the right four ground threads and slide the needle back toward the left under four ground threads and carry on from Step Two above:

This is what it should look like on the backside:

This is what it should look like on the frontside:

This is the first step of the Gigliuccio hemstitch which is, in this case, the Four-Sided Stitch and the Simple Hemstitch combined. You will have to do the second part of the Gigliuccio (the other row of Four-Sided Stitch and the bundle knotting) on the back side as well in order to have your stitching match. Click here for the second part of this tutorial.

An excellent publication on the finer points of the Gigliuccio Hemstitch is Liliana Babbi Cappelletti's booklet which is available in Italian from Tombolo Disegni. There was an English version done (called Peahole Hemstitch), you may want to contact the author to see if you can get a copy from her. The step-by-step images are fantastic and even if you can't get your hands on the English version, you should have very little trouble with the Italian version.


  1. Hola soy de Argentina y quisiera saber si lo pueden traducir. Muchas gracias.

  2. Nidia,
    If you are looking for translations from English to Spanish I can't help you. I'm sorry, all I can do is suggest the Google automatic translator:|es|
    Good luck!