Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Stitch Reference

Most of the time, I use straight stitch on my machine.  I also satin stitch or blanket stitch when I applique.  I zigzag from time to time.  But it's nice to use the decorative stitches once and while, and when I do, I always forget which ones I like and what they really look like when stitched out.  I've been thinking I need a stitch reference for a while so I finally stopped work on other projects and made one.

At some point a few months ago, I saw a stitch reference guide online.  (I don't remember where.)  It was neat, but it felt overly complicated.  Each stitch was on its own small piece of fabric and they all had to be cut and stabilized and the edges pinked--for 136 stitches, that seemed like a lot of steps and a lot of work. 

I kept mind simple.  I cut muslin into rectangles just slightly smaller than a standard 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper.  I used a micron pen to divide each sheet into 16 rectangles.  I used that same micron pen to write the stitch number in an upper corner, put some stabilizer on the back of the whole sheet, loaded a nice red thread into the machine (Aurifil 2260), and stitched away.


By skipping the button hole stitches, which I have never used, I was able to fit all the stitches on 8 pages.  I placed each page of stitches in a plastic protective sheet, which I happened to already own, and put them in a binder that I already owned.  (photos are without the protective sheets due to glare)  In fact, this whole project was made with supplies I already had.  It took me just a few days worth of sewing time, and I now have a great reference of all my stitches.  I used this when picking stitches on my Funky Flower and I'm hoping that being able to see all of my stitch possibilities stitched out will mean I use them more often.  I realize this is not the most exciting project in terms of blog post, but I'm excited to have it to use.

fancy stitches in action


  1. That's a handy thing to have. I have so many different stitches on my machine, I've barely tapped into them. I keep telling myself to explore a bit more, but then another quilting project comes along . . .

  2. Definitely a good thing to have so you can play with your quilting. :) When I bought my machine I received lessons. She made up quilt sandwiches and we tested all the stitches on those. I know several stitches work really well on a single piece of fabric but become distorted with batting and backing in the mix, even with the even feed foot. Luckily, there is an adjustment for that, but it was quite the unpleasant surprise when I discovered this on a quilt for my mom. Your post is a reminder to me to get all those samples in proper order, or make new ones. Thanks.

    1. I meant to also say I love your funky flower and the stitches you used.

  3. Smart idea! I think I will grab that idea from you and do my soon as I get my machine back from being repaired! You always have the best ideas and I appreciate that you share them.
    I love the funky flower!

  4. This is brilliant Emily. What a great idea. I always stitch a little on a scrap to see if I like it before I use one of these. But this is a great way to have a quick check always ready. Thank you!!

  5. Great idea! My new machine is arriving with many stitches. I think this should be would be great to have. Thanks for the inspiration.

  6. Great post I did that once...but then....I am not focused like a librarian...sigh..I lost it. xo

  7. Brilliant! simply Brilliant!
    I really like how you divided it into 16 sections and added the number ... it'll be a useful tool for sure!

  8. What an awesome idea! I love the way you did it so simply. I will definitely try this.