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Quilting, Sewing
- Sew Newsworthy SIY Sew It Yourself Getting Started Inspiration

Decorative Stitch Inspiration

Have you ever wondered what do to do with all those “fancy” stitches on your sewing machine?  You know what to do with the basic stitches, like straight stitch, zig-zag – even the buttonholes – but what about all those decorative stitches?  Well, after taking a closer look at this quilt, you just might be inspired with some fresh new ways of looking at your machine’s decorative stitches, and giving them a try for yourself!

Decorative Stitch Inspiration

This quilt features an appliqued tree design with lots of multi-colored leaves, along with a few birds.  These elements were stitched to the base fabric with various methods of machine applique.  But, before these various elements were appliqued to the base fabric, most were first transformed by being embellished with decorative machine stitching!

The stitching on the tree trunk and branches was done with thread colors similar to those found in the fabric, providing a more tonal effect.  The rayon thread provides a bit of sheen, creating even more dimension.

Notice that some of the leaves were made using a print fabric, without any added embellishment.  Other leaves have a striped pattern, enhanced with contrast stitching.  Still other leaves were simply basic, solid colored fabric, but changed with the addition of multiple rows of decorative stitching.

You can use various stitch patterns and thread colors, combined in countless ways, to create all sorts of different looks depending on the effect you want to achieve.  Use a light, tear-away stabilizer to help prevent dense stitching from puckering under the presser foot.  It’s best to use either a Satin Foot or an Open Toe Foot for decorative stitching.  These feet have a “groove” on the underside, allowing the dense stitching to pass freely underneath and not get stuck.

Satin and Open Toe Foot

Bird quilt


The tree trunk and branches were then appliqued to the main fabric with the satin stitch applique method, which is done by satin stitching (zig-zag stitch with reduced stitch length setting) over the raw edge of the applique to completely cover it.

The leaves were sewn to the main fabric with the blind stitch applique method, which is done by first turning and pressing the raw edges under, then using the machine’s blind stitch to sew the appliques in place.  

Bird Quilt with eggs


Finally, the machine was converted to free-motion sewing mode, to quilt the layers together.  You can use a free-motion design that complements the overall design of the quilt, or just do basic stipple quilting.  Just add the borders and binding to finish!

Tree with Leaves Quilt   Tree Quilt

Share with us what you have done with decorative machine stitching!