I don’t know about you but I absolutely LOVE the look of hand stitching on my paper crafting projects. It is a really fun and easy way to add some extra design pizzazz to your projects not to mention the great texture it creates. Below I will review two types of stitches along with some basic tools, tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way as they relate specifically to stitching on paper projects.
While hand stitching is the mainstay of the hand-sewing and embroidery worlds there are so many different types of stitches out there that can be easily translated to your paper crafting projects. The two stitches I use most often are the running stitch (or straight stitch) and the back stitch.
According to www.wikipedia.com the running stitch or straight stitch is the basic stitch in hand-sewing and embroidery, on which all other forms of sewing are based. The stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric. Running stitches may be of varying length, but typically more thread is visible on the top of the sewing than on the underside.
According to www.wikipedia.com the back stitch and its variants stem stitch, outline stitch and split stitch are a class of embroidery and sewing stitches in which individual stitches are made backward to the general direction of sewing. These stitches form lines and are most often used to outline shapes or to add fine detail to an embroidered picture.
The great thing about hand stitching is that you really don’t need a lot of tools to get started and the essential items that you do need (needles and floss) are really inexpensive and can be found at any craft store. I organize my floss in a plastic storage organizer made by DMC (pictured below). I like to organize my floss by color family and don’t really bother to make note of the exact color number for the floss I buy (although you most certainly can).
I use embroidery needles by DMC as well (size 1-5) as I find that the holes on the needle heads are large enough for my floss to fit through but the width of the needle itself is not so large as to make big holes in my project.
Those are the essentials and really all you need to get started. I do, however, also use a paper piercer to pre-punch my holes for my needle to pass through (although you can use your needle itself for this) and a piercing mat (a soft foam mat to place below your project when piercing to prevent damage to the surface below). Mine is from Bazzill Basics.
There are lots of other products on the market these days that can be used specifically for hand stitching on paper projects including stitching templates in various shapes, sizes, designs, and themes. I generally don’t use these templates and simply use a pencil to lightly draw lines on my project where I want to place my stitches. Once I have stitched I will use a white eraser to gently erase any of the lines that are still visible.
Below find some additional Hand Stitching Tips, Tricks, and Techniques:
1. To get the perfect circle (or any other shape for that matter) simply use your stash of punches to create a template, lightly trace with a pencil, and then stitch along the lines. Don’t have the size you need – look around the house for objects to trace. Easy peasy!
2. You can also use printed images from your computer, the internet, books, etc as templates for your hand stitching. Simply find an image that works for you, place it over your project, and use your needle or paper piercer to punch your holes. Remove the printed image and voila! You’re ready to stitch!
3. If the image you are using is a bit complex and you’re worried about getting confused about which hole to stitch in what order simply use your pencil to lightly draw lines between your punched holes like a dot to dot. Follow the lines and you won’t get lost!
4. Floss comes with 6 strands of thread twisted together. I often will separate the strands and use only 2-4 of the strands depending on the size of my project as sometimes the full 6 strands can seem a little too bulky for me. I also like to use crochet thread in Size 10 (sold at your craft store) which is only 3 strands; however, you are much more limited in your color choices with crochet thread.
5. To get your curves looking … well curvey LOL … be sure to place your holes closer together as you work. If they are too far apart your curve will look like a bunch of awkward straight stitches instead of a smooth line.
6. I use a little piece of tape on the back of my projects to secure the ends of my floss rather than tying a bumpy knot.
7. You can easily dress up and customize embellishments you already have in your stash such as flowers, buttons, chipboard and stickers by adding a bit of hand stitching.
8. There are so many fun websites dedicated to the art of hand stitching. You can simply do a google search to find general information on hand stitching or more specific information on a particular type of stitch. One blog that I particularly like is Primrose Design Stitch School - there are great diagrams of each stitch and while the projects are all done on fabric they can easily be translated to paper.
And now for a little hand stitching inspiration from our talented design team. You can click on any of the images below to get a close look!