How to Make a Picot Edge

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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How to Make a Picot Edge
Sew close to the edge of the fabric. (sewing image by Yury Shirokov from

The word picot comes from the French, meaning "small point." The name accurately describes this decorative edging, used on clothing, accessories and linens to add visual and textural interest to a finished garment. Sewing enthusiasts can add picot edging to their finished projects by placing picot edges around hems or necklines, on children's dresses or whimsical curtains. The possibilities for picot edging in handicrafts are limited only by your creative drive and ability.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Woven fabric
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Hem foot
  • Bobbin

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  1. 1

    Straighten the grain of your fabric. Make a quarter-inch cut in the fabric edge you plan to picot. Tease out a loose thread and pull it out. Any thread is acceptable. When the thread is removed, it leaves behind an empty line where it was woven into the fabric. Woven fabric is made by combining pieces of thread together in a line. When one thread is removed, the spot where it was woven in is left empty, leaving a visible gap.

  2. 2

    Cut along the line left by removing the thread.

  3. 3

    Remove the normal presser foot from your sewing machine. Replace it with a hem foot suitable for use on your machine's make and model.

  4. 4

    Adjust the settings on your sewing machine. Select a zigzag stitch.

  5. 5

    Change the length and width of your stitches. The length and width tensioner knobs should be set to about 3.5, slightly looser than medium tension.

  6. 6

    Wind the bobbin according to your machine's instructions. Colour coordinate your thread and fabric for discrete stitches or use a contrasting colour for visual interest.

  7. 7

    Thread the machine and insert the bobbin according to the machine manufacturer's instructions.

  8. 8

    Fold the fabric about a quarter of an inch from the edge inward toward the wrong side of the fabric.

  9. 9

    Feed the fabric through the presser foot, right-side down, stitching a zigzag stitch. Backstitch over half an inch of your work.

  10. 10

    Continue folding, feeding and sewing the fabric until you reach the end.

  11. 11

    Anchor the stitching by sewing back over half an inch of your work using the reversal switch on your sewing machine.

  12. 12

    Cut any loose threads.

Tips and warnings

  • Keep the fold uniform in length. If you are unable to do this as you work, fold and pin your fabric before sewing.
  • Substitute picot edging for regular hemming on tricky-to-sew or slippery fabrics like sheer silk, polyester or nylon.
  • Don't worry about fraying fabric or messy edges. The raw edge of the fabric is secured by folding and stitching. If you're concerned about the security of your edges, spray them with a commercially manufactured fray-stopping solution.
  • The picot edge is formed by the combination of folding the fabric and the zigzag stitch. The stitching creates embroidered points on the hem of the fabric. For a more pronounced picot edge, pin a separate picot ribbon or tape to the edge of your fabric and secure using a straight stitch.
  • You may need to adjust the tensioner settings for your machine and fabric. Experiment on a piece of scrap fabric.

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