Use Hand Stitching to Add Unique Style

Sometimes a garment needs just a little something and easy, simple Hand Stitching adds unique style! What you may know as Embroidered Running Stitch, Big Stitch Quilting, Indian Kantha, or Japanese Sashiko is all just a matter of a simple in and out stitch. Whatever name you use, you can definitely call it Fun and Easy!


RTW Inspired Linen Jacket

Last year preparing for a trip to Hawaii, I found a Ready-to-Wear Linen Jacket I thought would be perfect for cool evenings. Everything about it was perfect except the price, so I decided to create my own version by slightly modifying Butterick Pattern 6056. I subbed a Coats Fashion Separating Zipper for the front buttons in one of the views and then came the Hand Stitching!

Echoing the RTW version, I added a Running Stitch up the front, around the neck and back down the front of my jacket. To create a little more interest, I stopped at the corners and center back and stitched an X in those locations rather than the straight stitches. Using Coats Tim Holtz Eclectic Elements 6 Weight Thread gave my stitches a bold look and created a distinctive handmade appearance. It was definitely the right choice for this project!

So, how do you get those stitches straight? To start with, you don’t! The more you stitch, the more even they will be, but this is Hand Stitching and if it’s not quite perfect no one will ever be upset. The most magical quality of handmade is that it isn’t perfect, so do as well as you can and just enjoy what you’ve done! To keep my stitches as straight as possible on my jacket, though, I followed the machine top stitching I first sewed. This made it easy to know where my next stitch should go and my choice of a matching Coats All Purpose Dual Duty Thread for top stitching means that my “stitching guideline” barely shows.


Embellished Easy Top

Last month I stitched up a top from Indygo Junction’s Easy Top & Tunic Pattern in a beautiful Linen Gauze I found at a local fabric store. I was thrilled with the result and found many ways to wear it, but it just needed a little pizazz. So, out came my needle and thread again!

This time I chose Coats Bold Hand Quilting Thread and I love the way it formed the stitches. Rather than a Running Stitch, I used an equally quick and easy Chain Stitch for this design. To create circle stitching guidelines, I traced around two different size buttons – one for the outer circle, one for the inner. You could also use coins, differently shaped buttons or a single element from a stencil template to create your guidelines.

The body that the glace finish of the Bold Hand Quilting Thread creates made my stitches float above the fabric surface. My circle motifs have a marvelous dimensional look that I absolutely love.

This simple stitching improved the styling of my Easy Top about 250% and I’m very pleased!


Embroidery floss is often the thread we think of for hand stitching, but I’ve discovered that the threads I most love to use come on spools from Coats and Clark! Although I only used two varieties in my projects, Coats has four threads that are wonderful for Hand Stitching:

I hope you’re inspired! A little fabulous thread and simple stitching can make an amazing difference in a garment that’s basic and rather ho-hum. I cannot even begin to tell you how satisfying and enjoyable these projects have been, and how excited I am about the Coats Threads I chose! Hand Stitching is a relaxing way to take your art with you on summer road trips, to the beach, park or sporting events. You can take the joy of sew with you wherever you go!

2 thoughts on “Use Hand Stitching to Add Unique Style

  1. Melissa Reilly Reply

    What a beautiful accent your stitching brings – this type of detail is what’s prompts us to must-buy when looking at RTW, right? I’ve been adding hand stitching to a few pieces and well and really love it.

    • Annette Millard Post authorReply

      Thank you, Melissa! It’s such an easy, enjoyable thing to do and I’m finding myself totally addicted. Plus, those threads are amazing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *