Cat Pillow by Eva Hanusova.
Reverse Appliqué Pillow by Kevin Kosbab.
Spiral Skirt by Beki Wilson.
Designing With Thread
can be used as a design element to add texture and graphic dimension to
a project. I love playing with thread embellishment because it's a fast
and fun way to personalize a project. Sometimes I draw out a design on
my project before stitching with a chalk pen, but mostly I like to
improvise and stitch something freehand for a more hand-drawn
and layered effect. No matter how you approach decorative machine
stitching, the goal is to have fun and experiment to achieve
something unique in the end.
you have a sewing machine that has free-motion stitching capabilities
along with a walking foot, then you have a lot of freedom to experiment
with machine embroidery. But you can also achieve fun stitching effects
with a machine that has only straight and zigzag stitching options, too.
Here are a couple of examples of what you can do with simple stitches
in your next project.
• Thread drawing -
You can see in Eva Hanusova's adorable Cat Pillow how easy it is to
sketch the sweet face of a cat and add graphic dimension to appliqué
with simple contrast outline stitching. She used a fabric marking pen to
draw the details of the face, then stitched twice over each of the
drawn lines for a freehand look. She echoed this sketchy affect by
stitching twice around the appliqué hearts and ears. The imperfect
layering of the stitch lines creates a charming handcrafted look. Try
this effect the next time you have a project featuring appliqué or add
sketchy lines randomly around a motif in a print fabric for a textured
• Spot texture and layered color -
Kevin Kosbab's Reverse Appliqué Pillow shows how much fun you can have
by building up layers of straight stitches to highlight a focal element.
To showcase the reverse appliqué, he stitched up and down over the
square before cutting out the top fabric layer, extending the stitching
lines well beyond the square, while angling each line slightly. To add
depth, he changed thread colors a couple times to build up the stitching
in different shades of the same color. Try this technique in your next
project to showcase a focal element, and play with multiple shades of
thread color to add depth to your stitching. I've also used
this stitching trick to cover up a stain or to creatively mend a small
hole in a garment.
• Create patterns on solid fabric
- Beki Wilson's Spiral Skirt shows how a little bit of stitching can go
a long way on solid-color fabric by adding a subtle design accent. A
simple knit skirt gets a fun touch with improvisational spiral stitching
in a contrasting color and a well-placed decorative button. While
stitching circles is definitely easier with a walking foot, any randomly
stitched design would work. The emphasis is not on getting perfect
circles or shapes, but is instead about achieving a custom hand-drawn
experiment and play with decorative stitching effects to add a unique
design element on your next project. If you are looking for inspiration
and motivation, you can find the ePatterns and Stitch issues featuring these projects in our Sew Daily online store along with many other stitching resources.