Decorative stitches may not be your go-to stitch for quilting, but they can be just the thing that takes your quilt from, “That’s very nice,” to “Wow! You made that?” Don’t get me wrong, they’re not always what the quilter ordered, but they can up the ante on certain quilts when a decorative quilting stitch makes sense.
1. Add Visual Appeal to Quilt Blocks
Colleen Tauke, Sewing Specialist for Fons & Porter, has a decorative stitch preference of her own, “The blanket stitch is my go-to favorite for raw edge machine appliqué. When I purchased my last sewing machine that was a requirement. It is clean, simple and finishes the edge beautifully.” A blanket stitch would look great on these appliquéd flowers and leaves in the Beloved Blooms quilt below.
Think of using a decorative stitch when stitching-in-the-ditch. Imagine something fancy, like a herringbone stitch, around these Split Melon Patch quilt blocks in Yipee Daisies. You could try the same on these Melon Patch quilt blocks in Pixie Wings. (The Fons & Porter Melon Template Set would make these a breeze!)
2. Practice Makes Perfect (…Beautiful & Unique Quilts)
Everyone has different decorative stitches available on their machine, so you’ll want to try them out on a test scrap of fabric before sewing onto your project. You’ll get some practice with your favorite decorative stitches this way and build confidence when using them in your quilts. You can also play with a variety of threads to see how variegated or metallic threads look with your decorative stitches. Keep on eye on your thread tension, though. Those extra stitches may require that you lower your top thread tension a bit.
3. Add Interest to the Interesting
Decorative quilt stitches are a great way to add embellishments to your quilts – use for couching, appliqué, and to apply your binding. You can also use decorative stitching to quilt your quilt sandwich. Make sure to take your time with these stitches, however. There is a lot of thread and needle movement going on here – going quickly can create problems with the overall look of your finished quilt. Decorative stitches shouldn’t be rushed. This is the perfect time to slow down and enjoy the process.
4. Create a Professional Look
Think about using a stabilizer when using decorative stitches in your quilts. Using more thread and taking up more space than utility stitches, puckering is an ever-present danger with decorative stitches. A stabilizer will help to keep your fabric from bunching up!
5. Learn from the Experts
A serpentine stitch is a basic decorative stitch that comes with most sewing machines. The Quilting Quickly ladies have put together a free tutorial on How to Make the Little Ark Baby Quilt which uses a decorative stitch to add a little pizzaz to the look of Little Ark. This is a fun way to add a bit of whimsy to your baby quilts and kid quilts. The little munchkin who receives this quilt will think it’s super cool!
Try a decorative stitch or two the next time you sit down at your sewing machine. It’ll just take a minute and I bet you’ll find yourself having fun with it. Decorative stitches tend to bring out the kid in all of us! Who knows? It could be the quilter’s fountain of youth. 😉
Leave a comment with your favorite decorative stitch. If you don’t have one yet, give it a try and see what you think! We’ll choose a quilter’s comment at random between now and December 6, 2015 to WIN TWO Easy Quilts CDs – all of your favorite patterns from 2013 and 2014! The winner will be announced here on December 7, 2015. Good luck!
UPDATE: Congratulations to Susan Dangelser! She is the lucky winner of the Fons & Porter Easy Quilts pattern give-away. Thank you to all who commented!