Christmas 2018

Gay Ann Rogers Needlework


Logo of scissors, needle, thread, thimble, crown


The Twelve Days before Christmas: Day 10, Four Hemming Birds


Occupying a ton of time this year, DH and I catalogued the parts of my collection of needlework tools between 1840 and 1914, and on December 7 we gave the catalogue and tools to a small collections library.


I kept a copy of this year's catalogue and decided to borrow from our photos and descriptions tools for

12 Days before Christmas.

Scroll down for photos and descriptions of four Hemming Birds.

Hemming Birds

A hemming bird clamps to a table and acts as a third hand to hold a length of fabric taut so that hemming is easier.


American patents for hemming clamps began to appear in the 1850s for various ways to have a bird hold fabric in its beak until the tail feathers were pressed to release the fabric. A similar clamp appeared in England about the same time.


On right: the classic Waterman patent hemming bird with a red emery on its back and stamped steel feathers to decorate the bird. Beneath is a heart-shaped turner to fasten the clamp to a table top. American, 1853.

Happy Holidays 2018


This Holiday Season on Queendom Website: The Twelve Days before Christmas told in Antique Needlework Tools.

Here are 4 Hemming Birds.

Above: A variation on the Waterman clamp is in brass and metal with an abstract feather deisgn and a large yellow pincushion placed beneath the bird. American, c 1860s.


Above: A gilded version of the hemming clamp with coral emery and pincushion. American, c 1880-1900.

Above: A dark metal hemming bird with what was once a red pincushion in front. There are vestiges of red and black paint on the piece.

American, c 1870s-1880s.