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[hem-stich] /ˈhɛmˌstɪtʃ/
verb (used with object)
to hem along a line from which threads have been drawn out, stitching the cross threads into a series of little groups.
to simulate hand hemstitching by piercing the material with a large machine needle and then stitching around the perforations.
the stitch used or the needlework done in hemstitching.
Origin of hemstitch
First recorded in 1830-40; hem1 + stitch
Related forms
hemstitcher, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hemstitch
Historical Examples
  • Do you know that some girls are often confused and call the hemstitch, the hemming stitch?

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • You have learned the hemming stitch; now you will try the hemstitch.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • Now that you know the hemstitch, you can use it in many places.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • See if you can discover the difference between the hemming stitch and the hemstitch?

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • Both are used at the top of the hem to hold it in place, but often the hemstitch is used in other places, too.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • hemstitch in the usual way, then turn the work and take up each group on the other side of the drawn threads (Figure 176).

  • Double hemstitching means to hemstitch the other side opposite the hem, by taking up the same bundles.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
British Dictionary definitions for hemstitch


a decorative edging stitch, usually for a hem, in which the cross threads are stitched in groups
to decorate (a hem, etc) with hemstitches
Derived Forms
hemstitcher, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hemstitch

also hem-stitch, 1821, from hem + stitch. As a verb by 1839. Related: Hemstitched; hemstitching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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