Upcycling with decorative stitching | the ReFab Diaries

Any seamstress can tell you that cloth is one of the most forgivable materials. Even the most basic dress or blouse can be reimagined into something different or more elegant. Or if you prefer, old clothes and worn-out garments can be dismantled and made into entirely new outfits and accessories.

The Different Types of Decorative Stitches

Whether you’re just learning to make clothes or are an established stitch queen, nothing refreshes a look like interesting stitch work. A subtle but luxurious detail, adding just a few of the different types of decorative stitches adds color, texture, and is an opportunity to uniquely customize an item on offer.


Blanket stitch is great for edging patches.


Blanket stitch

Blanket stitch is a great one to master because of its sheer reliability. The final look creates a trim line of thread emphasized by perpendicular lines. It’s especially effective for decorating a seam that also needs to be very tough. Blanket stitching involves looping back, which creates a knot of each stitch and ties the line together.



Herringbone stitch

Similar to feather stitching, herringbone utilizes evenly spaced diagonal lines. However, the final look is more open and tends to make a crisscross design. Additionally, simple forms such as flower petals are easy to make by crossing multiple stitches at varying lengths. It’s a great look for detailing trim or trying a more daring bit of hand embroidery.

Machine embroidery

The different types of decorative stitches even a basic embroidery machine can pull off is beyond stunning. Forget about boring straight stitches that simply bind cloth together. Instead, explore designs, characters, letters, and images along edges to create a truly unique look.

Even embroidery-capable sewing machines usually have a broad selection of unusual stitch designs. Plus, many also include simple image designs such as swirls, flowers, and even basic animal forms that weave around a line of stitching and makes seams sturdier, as well as more attractive.


Stitches That Reshape Garments

More can be done to create new, interesting looks than simply attaching flat pieces of cloth together. Many traditional techniques employ special materials and threads which interact differently depending on the textile. Shirring is a technique that uses elastic thread to create a beautiful pattern that’s also form-fitting.

Besides this, the cloth itself can be pinched and pulled to create bands, ruffles, ledges, and more. Other techniques, like ruching, use standard threads with complex stitching to create twists and volume in the layers of cloth.



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