Decorative embroidery - edge stitching

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Stitches strengthening the edges of the fabric

Various types of hemstitch (tiv) are used to strengthen the edge of the fabric. Hems could be straight or edged with scallops (called răsucitură which means twisting). These scallops are made by rolling the edge of the cloth tightly and fixing it in place by “laced” sewing. Decorative stitches are often used in conjunction with functional stitches to make a decortive border close to the edges of the fabric.

Stitches used to join two pieces of fabric - Cheie (pl. Chei) or Cheiţă (pl. Cheiţe)

These can be divided into two sub categories, basic stitches such as running stitch (cusătura înainte acului), back stitch (cusătura înapoi acului), or  edging (cusăturape muche) or complex decorative joining stitches called cheie (meaning key) or cheiţă (small key).  There are two main types of cheie or cheiţă, those sewn on the edges of the fabric and those making a type of lace (cheia de dantelă) used to join the two pieces of fabric. Cheiţe are used mainly with linen and cotton fabrics used to make shirts, chemises, blouses or underskirts. These are usually worked in white, although in some case white thread is used in  combination with other colours. There are many different regional variants.  The first type are found especially in Argeş, Gorj, the Apuseni Mountains and Hunedoara, and cheia de dantelă are found in Banat, Arad, Caraş Severin, Timiş and also Hunedoara.

Diagram Romanian name Description
Cheiţă simplă Zig zag pattern
Cheiţă in gheruţe Made between the points of feston stitches (blanket stitch) by passing the thread alternately from one edge to the other.
Cheiţă 'Puricelul' Widespread in Romania. It is made by passing the thread through 2 parallel points close to the edge of the cloth and fixing these with a loop passed through the point of the triangle, in the gap between the two pieces of cloth.
Cheiţă încrucişată Crossed cheiţă. The cross stitch is worked across the gap, making a diamond shaped pattern.
Cheiţă de Hunedoara This is made of stitches called “brânaş” which are used together with other stitches to decorate the hem of female costume from Pădureni.
Cheiţă de Oaş Made with knots being inserted between 2 rows of parallel stitches
Cheiţă de Vrancea ade with rows of knotted threads, alternating from one edge to the other, and joined to the edges with three 'little legs' (straight stiches).
Cheiţă 'Ciocănele' Comprises a vertical stitch across the gap between the 2 pieces fo cloth adn 2 small oblique stitches meeting in the gap to form a small triangle.  These triangles are made in groups of 2 or 3. White, red and balck thread is used.
  Cheiţă de dantelă This is the most complex type of cheiţă. There is a wide gap of one centimetre or more between the pieces of cloth which is filled with needle lace.  It is  made the same way as knotted lace (bibiluri). The two pieces of cloth are fixed on the knees with a constant width space between them. A network of knots is initially made between the pieces of cloth and this is filled in by adding more knots with the needle moving from one edge of the cloth to the other.
Igliţa or  cârlig This is a type of cheiţă made using crochet hook instead of a needle. This is a more recent introduction found in Dobrogea.


© Eliznik2005, First issue 2002, Last updated Aug-05