Ten creative ways to use the decorative stitches on your sewing machine

I simply *love* using the programmed decorative stitches on my sewing machine as a way to embellish my sewing projects and also for functional purposes. But do you sometimes find it a struggle to come up with ideas on how to use them?

Struggle no more! These creative ideas are sure to inspire.

And for troubleshooting problems when sewing decorative machine stitches, be sure to check out my article – Tips for using decorative machine stitches.

1. Stitch in the ditch
Instead of using a straight stitch when stitching “in-the-ditch” on your quilts, try using a decorative stitch instead. This example is sewn using a metallic thread to add a bit of glam and glitter.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

2. Bindings
Instead of hand sewing the bindings on your quilts, a decorative stitch can be a super quick and interesting way to sew down your bindings.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

3. Couching
Use a decorative stitch instead of a standard zig-zag or straight stitch when couching decorative fibers or ribbon.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

4. Machine lace fabric

Use decorative stitches to make fabulous contemporary lace.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

5. Surface texture and decoration

Use decorative stitches to add surface texture and decoration to your fabric. For example, I often use them when making fabric beads.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

6. Faux ribbon effect

By adding a couple of narrow rows of straight stitch on either side of a decorative stitch, you can quickly make a faux ribbon effect.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

7. Raw edge applique

Use decorative stitches to finish off the edges of raw edge applique designs.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

8. Decorative top-stitching

Use decorative stitches to embellish or top-stitch. For example, I’ve used them to top-stitch the pleats on this pleated insert used on art quilt.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

9. Focus fabric from ribbon or fabric strips

Make focus fabric by placing strips of ribbon or fabric side by side on some fusible interfacing and use a decorative stitch to sew the strips together.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

10. Machine lace edging

Use decorative stitches to make delicate and contemporary machine lace that can be used for edging and trim.

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

Ten creative ways to use decorative machine stitches

I could add more, but I’ve run out of time! However I’m sure this is more than enough to get you started using your decorative stitches and once you start using them, you’ll probably come up with dozens more ideas.


Exploring Decorative Machine Stitches

Categories: Fabric and Thread, Inspiration, Sew Creative, Tutorials
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