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Decorative stitches are tiny pieces of thread art. Sometimes when I look at them, I can’t believe a single threaded needle made such an intricate design. But even though I love them, I often forget to use them. We get so caught up in the 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. I selected a variety of thread times in similar colorways for each of my 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″ opening.

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

Properly stabilize the fabric per 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 9mm 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 that next project comes along, all those amazing decorative stitches your sewing machine includes won’t be so easily forgotten. 

Thinking of picking a stitch or two… or three already? Check out these other articles about decorative stitching as well as some of the projects on which we’ve featured some of our favorites.

Decorative Stiches: Love Them! Use Them!

Scandanavian Style Rustic Apron with Decorative Stitching

Decorative Stitch Sampler Pillow

Decorative Stitch Pillow Power

Belted Cross-Body Bag with Decorative Stitching

Scrappy Moroccan Style Deco Stitch Tea Towels

Ruffled End Pillowcases with Decorative Stitch Ribbon Accents

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Here’s a fun alternative from S4H visitor Jan Moss from the UK – a sampler turned into a tote bag! Thanks, Jan.

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