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Decorative stitches are tiny pieces of thread art. Sometimes when we look at them, we can’t believe a single threaded needle made such an intricate design. But even though we all love them, we often forget to use them. When you get caught up in the precise seams of a project’s construction, decorative stitches can get overlooked. We wanted a way to keep some of our favorite stitches top-of-mind, so we did a little decorative stitch sampler then framed it as sewing room artwork. Super fast, super simple, and the prefect colorful reminder.

Not only is a sampler a great way to remember favorite stitch patterns, you can also use it to experiment with different colors and types of thread. We selected a variety of thread types in similar colorways for each of our five featured stitches.

Stitching out your designs in regular polyester thread as well as variegated, rayon, metallic, neon, and more is a great way to see the possibilities for embellishment. Experimenting with different brands of thread is also interesting.

Varying the combination of stitch and thread produces quite a variety of textural effects.

The size of your sampler is totally up to you. Since we wanted to frame ours, we chose a grid that would fit within a standard 11″ x 17″ matte board opening.

We started with a solid, mid-weight cotton and pressed it nice and flat. Using a fabric pencil, we drew a starting X-Y axis.

Properly stabilize the fabric per the recommendations in your machine’s instruction manual. We used an iron-on, tear-away stabilizer.

Using your drawn line as a starting point, pick your first thread and your first design and start stitching.

We simply used the edge of our Janome Satin Stitch presser foot as our guide as we added each line of stitching.

Depending on your selection of designs, you may want your lines of stitching closer together or farther apart – that is totally up to you. You could also draw in each and every line with a fabric pen or pencil, making your measurements even more precise.

Change the thread and the stitch and often as you’d like as you continue your rows.

For both thread and stitches, keep a list of the stitch number, stitch width and thread type. We wrote the stitch category and number on the back of the sampler, then transcribed to a paper key with thread type and width noted for each.

You could frame your finished sampler as we did or simply tack it to the wall or a bulletin board nearby your machine.

With all their pretty colors, these little pieces of thread art are just fun to have on hand, and maybe, when the next project comes along, all those amazing decorative stitches your sewing machine includes won’t be so easily forgotten.

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