Give Your Projects Pizzazz With Decorative Stitches for Quilting!

Nothing showcases a quilt quite like well placed decorative stitches. Decorative stitches for quilting always come with a unique twist. Whether it’s the shape or the color of the thread, the stitch is sure to engage the viewer. Sewing machines today have access to hundreds of decorative stitches and hand-needle work is hitting a high in popularity, so now is definitely the time to make your quilt shine with decorative stitches!

Read on to learn 5 unique stitches that will enhance your quilt and make it stand out from the rest!

Fun stitches via SweetJasmine

Stitch #1: couching

Couching is the term used to stitch yarn, thin strips of fabric or fibers onto a quilt. Couching gives a quilt texture by using a stitch that allows yarn or fibers to be added onto the surface of the quilt. It can be done by hand or by machine, often with a zigzag stitch across the surface of the fiber to capture it and fasten it to the quilt.

Why not consider using a decorative stitch on your machine to fasten down the fiber? This can completely change your quilt’s appearance depending on how much, where and what you use to decorate your quilt. By adding not only a yarn but a decorative stitch to hold the yarn in place, you are adding more interest to the surface of your quilt. When couching, ensure that the decorative stitch will emphasize the fiber you are couching and still showcase the decorative stitch as well.

Couching on a colorful heart quilt with a black background

Art Quilting and Yarn Couching via MelB128’s 

Stitch #2: satin stitch appliqué

A simple yet effective way to decorate and hold fabric in place is the satin stitch appliqué or machine appliqué stitching. This stitch gives a clean finished look to the object and is perfect for adding shapes from other fabric to the surface of your quilt. It can also be used to create an outline on the background or define an area of your quilt, without the use of another layer of fabric. This decorative stitch adds impact and a solid look to a quilt.

yellow tulip quilt applique


Stitch #3: hand-embroidery stitches

There is nothing like adding text to a quilt using beautiful hand-embroidery stitches, encouraging the viewer to take a closer look. With hundreds of different embroidery stitches to play with when embellishing a quilt, these stitches add color and texture to any quilt. The simple blanket stitch used to put words on this quilt is very effective.

Christmas believe, joy, hope quilt

Embroidery Christmas Quilt via TeresaDownUnder

Another way to use embroidery stitches is to simply outline with a running stitch, highlighting the quilt’s features in a subtle yet effective manner.

Potted plants stitched quilt

Stitch #4: decorative stitch in the ditch

Gone are the days when you had to do a perfectly straight stitch in the ditch to hold your quilt together. Now, pick a fun decorative stitch, and use it for quilting in the ditch. It’ll add some visual eye candy to an otherwise boring, normal straight line. But, don’t stop there! Make a decorative stitch along the seam and on either side of the seam to create some linear accents to your quilt!

Decorative stitch in the ditch

Stitch #5: decorative stitch on the binding

Instead of finishing your binding when you sew both sides down, why not add a final flare? Try taking a decorative stitch for a run around the binding to finish it off. It gives that extra pop that makes your quilt stand out and get noticed!

Decorative stitch on binding

To discover more about decorative stitching, check out Carol Ann Waugh’s class Stupendous Stitching: Adventures in Surface Design and learn to incorporate all kinds of stitches into your next quilting project!

Do you have a favorite decorative stitch you use when you are quilting?

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One Response to “Give Your Projects Pizzazz With Decorative Stitches for Quilting!”
  1. Linda

    Liked these Ideas. took a class with my local quilting guild with Carol some years ago. It was great fun.