Monday, 8 June 2009


There are a number of ways to add stitching detail to your project:-

1. Using a digital image
2. Hand drawn directly onto your paper
3. With a sewing machine.

This week our range of tutorials will walk you through each of the above techniques so if it is something you have been afraid to try in the past hopefully you will get the confidence to try it out in the future - who knows - it may be part of one of the forthcoming challenges? Click on the photographs to open up the images so you can get a close up of the detail.

1. Using a Digital image

Digital stitching is a very effective 'cheats' way of creating really good lifelike results - so if you have not tried it yet, it is worth a try.

Below is an example of a card that Ann made which features all digital stitches, you can see from this how effective they look.

The secret to digital stitching is identifying your paper size that you are going to be using as exact as possible and then cutting and pasting the stitches in your digital programme to size to fit your paper. You can rotate the row vertically to do the sides and horizontally to do the top and bottom. You can tidy the ends of each row up with your digital rubber.

Maria from MollynMax Digital Scrapbooking has produced a freebie download file of some great stitches. The download file below consists of really good cross stitch and straight stitch transparent files for you to download and open in your digital imaging programme. Photoshop and Elements users will be fine with this file, but with other programmes just download and check compatibility.

Click HERE to take you direct to the download site, just click Download now, then wait for the countdown to show - Click now to download this file, and then click save on the next instruction – this will save the file to your computer. The stitches are in white, but if you wish to change these, follow the tutorial from The Next Level - Issue 1, where Summer Driggs taught us how to change colour using the Selective colour tool.

2. Hand drawn directly onto Paper

Hand drawn stitches can be really effective, and Dawn has demonstated this below.

Dawn uses a sharp pencil or coloured hard crayon pencil to match the papers and does small 'v' shaped lines, making sure that they go over the edge of the paper to the matted layer beneath and this is what really makes it look effective - the good thing about this technique is if you are not happy with the effect or you make a mistake, you can just 'rub it out'!!

Here is a card that Dawn has made completed with faux pencil stitches, really effective I think you will agree

3. Using a Sewing Machine

True, one of our DT members has put together a fantastic tutorial covering this to give you confidence to get out your sewing machines. If you pop along to True's blog (see link on our sidebar) you will see the beautifully detailed stitching she does on her cards, and she has prepared a really detailed tutorial of how she achieves the beautiful results that she does. Here it is........

Sewing on cards is not much different to sewing cloth except you need to make sure your stitching is spaced far enough apart so that it doesn’t end up cutting your paper by means of perforations. It does not matter what size needle you use. It just depends on the size of hole you want it to leave. I prefer to use a size 14 needle because I think the larger holes add an extra element to the card. I also have my bottom tension a little tighter then my top and that is because I am lazy! I hate changing the bobbin color every time I change thread colors and by having the tighter bobbin tension, which pulls the top stitch down farther, I can use white bobbin thread for all colors and it will not show in the holes. You don’t want the tensions so tight that it pulls and tears the paper at the holes or so loose that you get loops. All machines are a little different so you will want to try yours on a couple of pieces of scrap cardstock and make any adjustments if needed before sewing your card pieces. My top tension is set at 4 and my bottom at mid. You might try that as a starting point.

There are many stitches and ways to sew on cards but today I am going to share with you the way I feel is the easiest to keep a straight line. This seems to be the biggest struggle for most people when they first start sewing on paper. We will be doing a zig-zag stitch. My stitch length is set on ½ and width is 3 but you can play around and see what size you prefer. For this technique, you will not be sewing directly on the card so no stitches will show on the inside. You will need two pieces of cardstock or extra heavy weight designer paper. Thin paper does not work well for sewing. Your top piece needs to be at least ¼” smaller then your bottom paper. Once you have decided what placement you like, secure the pieces together with double sided tape or glue runner. You just need to do this in a few spots and try to place it so that it won’t be where you are stitching. Sewing through tape will gum up your needle and machine!

It is very important that you start your needle at the very tip of the corner on your top piece of cardstock, and that your needle is on the RIGHT side of the presser foot.

Start slowly at first using the edge of the top piece as your guide. Each time the needle hits the paper, you want it to be right on the edge. Slow way down when you get to the corner. Try stopping perfectly even with the edge of the next side, with your needle again on the farthest RIGHT. If it doesn’t happen to fall that way, you can lift the presser foot and needle and reposition it exactly on the corner, then lower your foot and needle back down.

When you turn the cardstock to start your next side, leave the needle down and just lift the foot and spin the cardstock, then drop the foot back down. Continue to sew all sides in this same manner. To end, just stop even with the farthest edge of the stitching on the first side. (Do not back up the thread to secure lock like you would when sewing cloth). Lift the presser foot and carefully remove the cardstock. You might want to pull some of the thread out of the machine with your fingers while pulling the cardstock to keep from tearing.

Flip the card over and gently pull the two bobbin threads and scrape your nail against the area where they come thru the paper a few times until at least one of the top threads comes through. (If only one does that is ok. That just means the other has been stitched over and is already secure). Tape all 3 (or 4) pieces of thread to the back of your card

If there is still a top thread on the right side of your project, just carefully trim it as close to the paper as you can. You might want to put a very small drop of glue at the point where the thread comes through the back of the cardstock, just to double secure it. This can be done now or as you are gluing it to your card.

You are now ready to attach it to your card, ether by gluing, sticky strips or double sided dimensional tape. Note: if you will be using brads or anything that will go through this layer, do it before attaching to card so they don’t show on the inside. If you would like, you can also finish the insides of your cards with the same process ................

A brilliant tutorial True, and here is the finished card she prepared, just stunning.

So lets see you practising those stitches on your cards, whichever method you use, and please let us know if you found these tutorials helpful.


  1. Fantastic tutorial. thank you so much for taking the time to post this: it's just perfect and the card is stunning.

  2. Wonderful tutorial. True's stitching always looks perfect.

  3. True, thank you for the tutorial. Your stitching is always straight and looks beautiful.

  4. Excellent tutorial - I will give it a try soon. I have a machine but haven't used it yet except to practice on scraps - this will certainly help!

  5. WOW great tutorial and love the bottom card with the flowers, thats really pretty! am tempted to get my machine out... but not enough room on my desk! maybe i should clear it a bit and give this a try?
    lovely tho! thanks

  6. Hi. Thanks for mentioning my work, but please do not link directly to the download. If you would like to provide my work, please link to my blog instead.

    Many thanks,

  7. Thank you! Your blog post will be advertised on the DigiFree Digital Scrapbooking Freebie search engine today (look for timestamp: 19 Jun [LA 07:00pm, NY 09:00pm] - 20 Jun [UK 02:00am, OZ 12:00pm] ).

  8. I stitch on my cards and scrapbook pages as well, thanks for posting this, I am a true believer in the old adage that you ca never learn too much.