A tutorial on how to work decorative crazy quilt seams

I have an Easter treat for my readers to say thank you and happy stitching over the holiday break. If you celebrate any other religious holiday my best wishes for that day  too!  At the bottom of the article there is a link where you can download this tutorial as PDF and keep it as an ebook on a tablet, or you can print it out to store easily.

Just a quick note about the hussif challenge. I have proposed an open ended challenge to readers. It is not a race to the finnish type challenge but be inventive, creative and do your best type challenge. It is open to new hands and old and you can work it in any type of hand stitchery. In other words it does not have to be crazy quilting. That said mine will be and I will stitch along but I do plan to try and fit some interesting work on my hussif. I have already made a list of over 70 techniques I could try! Obviously they wont all fit on my hussif but I think it might be fun to try give it a a go!

mixed crazy quilt stitchesMany new hands to crazy quilting get stumped when they start to embellish seams. People think you have to be an expert stitcher and I want to say you do not. What you do need to develop is a skill in adapting stitches and shaping them to your needs.  Today I am going to concentrate on how to use some basic stitches to create seam decorations in Crazy quilting. I have put together a few ideas for basic seam embellishments that new hands should find easy to follow.

This is not a tutorial on how to work the stitches. If you need tuition in this I have provided free,  12 Surface Stitches for Beginners. Follow the link for a direct PDF download. You need Acrobat reader to read it.

There are also the free modules in my stitchers worksheets which cover the basic stitches as well. Go get them! They are free and none of my stuff asks you to subscribe to anything or join this or that they are a simple give away. For more stitches can also visit my stitch dictionary.

Most seam embellishments  used in crazy quilting consist of basic stitches combined and built row upon row on top of each other. These are the basic stitches of crazy quilting I recommend all new hands learn. The basic list is: buttonhole stitch, Chain stitch and Detached chain stitch, Cretan, Herringbone, Chevron, Stem stitch, Feather stitch , Fly stitch, French knot and Couching. Other people may add a few stitches but if you have these you will go long way on a crazy quilt before anyone notices you are just using the basics.

Change your stitch direction, size and spacing

As you build your seams think in terms of adding variety by changing your stitches. You can so this by shifting stitch direction,  and changing the size of your stitches such as going from big to small and change the spacing of your stitches from close together to wide apart. You can also work on both side of the seam or flip the stitches working alternately from side to side. All these little tricks add interest to a line of embroidery.

Think about your thread choice

Another tip is don’t forget to change the colour, thickness and type of thread. I see lots of people simply use stranded cotton floss. This thread is fine for cross stitch work but get some cotton perle thread in sizes #8 and #5 as so many of the surface stitches look much better when worked with s thread that has a firm twist to it.  There are no rules in crazy quilting so I am not being dictatorial about it but it is my tip towards creating interesting seam work on crazy quilting. Also many stitches can be threaded and laced so don’t forget that you have option too!

detached chainDetached Chain Stitch (or lazy daisy stitch) is quick, easy stitch that is very versatile. You can work it in all sorts of formations along a seam, along side a piece of lace or a piece of braid.  A simple satisfying embellishment is to add straight stitches and a bead. You can add it to other stitches such as herringbone, or chevron stitch too.

CQ seam pattern 01

Here is an example of working a line of stitching and by adding a few beads in the middle of the motifs it creates a bit of zest.

CQ seam pattern 02You can work either side of the seam, flipping stitches from side to side.

half detached chain daisiesOr you can zigzag the motifs along the seam like these:

CQ seam pattern 03Or zig zag them either side of lace braid or ribbon

detached chainYou can build little motifs up in zig zag bands

CQ seam pattern 04

Once you have tried these techniques ie working a stitch along a line, flipping a stitch from side to side or placing it in a zig zag manner along the line, try building up more complex motifs by increasing the variety of your stitches and adding more rows of stitches.

detached chainThey can be as complex or as simple as you wish.

CQ seam pattern 05These could be worked in stem stitch for the stem, detached chain for the flower and leaf and the middle could be a bead or a French knot.

CQ seam pattern 06This seam pattern consists of a motif made of three detached chain stitches and two straight stitches. If you look at my work regularly you will notice I use this combination all the time. You could finish them off with either a bead or a French knot.

detached chain and beasStitches like buttonhole wheels can be worked as halves or quarters and arranged along a seam.

Half buttonhole wheels You can work them in line or turn them on their side.

CQ seam pattern 07Or flip each half wheel from side to side.

CQ seam pattern 08

Here is another way to arrange them and what they look like stitched up

Half buttonhole wheels or you can quarter the wheels and arrange them in patterns.

CQ seam pattern 09

For instance you can flip them from side to side too!

quarter buttonhole wheels It is simple and effective. You can work two lines face to face.

CQ seam pattern 10

Here is another way to use buttonhole wheels which can be arranged in a different ways. These are interspersed with straight stitch arranged in a ray. French knots, sequins or beads can be placed in the middle.

CQ seam pattern 11

Often, the trick is to take a very basic stitch, work a row, and then add another basic stitch as a second row.

CQ seam pattern 12For instance, you can work two rows of straight stitches in a zig zag formation, with the second row offset to form a line a diamonds. At the peaks you can work a fan of straight stitches, add a bead and you have an attractive seam. All from one type of simple stitch!

Or you could work the foundation row of zig zag stitches using stem stitch or chain stitch. If you did this it would create a more solid line.

This type of seam embellishment where you start with a line to follow (the first zig zag line) is an instance of where Crazy Quilt templates are a very handy addition to your sewing box as you can use them to produce very even lines!

buttonholeHere is another example of how to build a seam layer upon layer

CQ seam pattern 13This foundation row is buttonhole stitch, which is then decorated with straight stitches and a seed bead. It is quite simple, quick to work and made up of basic stitches.

detached chain and buttonholeButtonhole stitch is an extremely versatile foundation row because you can change the height of the arms to form a pattern and Buttonhole stitch will follow a curve well. For instance here we can add a fan of straight stitches to the top of the row and sequins at intervals along the bottom.

CQ seam pattern 14If you flip units of buttonhole stitch from side to side it leads to more interesting ways to combine stitches.

CQ seam pattern 15Here is an arrangement of detached chain stitches and buttonhole stitch.

CQ seam pattern 16This pattern builds on the same idea and notice it is the same basic  stitches which I have used. They are arranged differently to create daisy motifs but they are the same basic stitch.

detached chain and buttonholeHerringbone Stitches have a zigzag like, crossed structure which means you can make all sorts of additions to a line of Herringbone stitches.

CQ seam pattern 17On the top row straight stitches worked in a fan and beads have been added to the spaces between the herringbone stitches. On the second line detached chain, straight stitches and beads have been tucked into the base of the cross.

CQ seam pattern 18Chevron stitch is also a good foundation stitch for crazy quilters as you can add other stitches to the valleys and peaks. Straight stitches, detached chain stitches and beads have been added to the peaks of Chevron Stitch.

CQ seam pattern 19Or you can tuck extra stitches into the valleys. In this case I have added quarter buttonhole wheels.

Chevron stitch Here are some of my chevron stitch seam samples taken from my crazy quilts.

Chevron stitch Feather stitching

CQ seam pattern 20Finally, one of the all time favourites for crazy quilters is Feather Stitch because you can add stitches to the end of each arm or tuck stitches between the arms to create lovely complex patterns.

Since feather stitch follows curves well you can create a lovely organic movement to a block using feather stitch. It is certainly one of my favourite stitches.

As you can see it is possible to build up quite complex patterns using these methods.

I hope this article will give people a few ideas, and that you enjoy working and experimenting with some of them.

cq seams tutorial screenshotYou can right click and  download this article as PDF and keep it as an ebook on a tablet, or print it out easily.

Spread the word and tell your friends, “like” it and  share it on your favourite social network.

Share your favourite embroidered seams

If you have a blog or flickr site and have a favourite seam embellishment you want to share please do!

It is simple, leave a comment that includes  your web address. When you leave a comment include the http:// part of the address then your address becomes a link and readers will be able easily visit and see what you have done.

In the meanwhile I would like to wish all my readers a happy Easter or what ever religion happy holiday . I will take the rest of the holidays off and you will see me again on Tuesday!

Crazy Quilt Seam Detail 490

Y2K Crazy quilt Block 74Today I would like to share a detail on block 74 of the I Dropped the Button Box Crazy Quilt. If you click on the thumbnail you will be taken to a free pattern of the block and information about the fabrics I used when I made up the block.

In this seam embellishment I  first covered the seam with hand dyed lace. I then worked a line of straight stitches in perle #8 and then I added the orange seed beads. Next I added beads to the lace then finally the vintage button

Crazy quilt Block 74 detailThis article is part of a regular series which illustrates the hand embroidered seams, embellishments and decorations on my crazy quilt I dropped the button box. If you want to read more articles like this look under Crazy Quilt details category

Free Crazy quilt block patterns
Each block on this quilt has a free pattern. Links to these free pattern pages are listed on the CQ details FAQ page.
If you don’t want to miss out on the free crazy quilt block patterns issued as part of this series, just follow the link and
Subscribe to Pin Tangle by Email and have it delivered to your In Box
OR
Follow Pintangle on Facebook

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Crazy Quilt Seam Detail 489

Y2K Crazy quilt Block 74Today I would like to share a detail on block 74 of the I Dropped the Button Box Crazy Quilt. If you click on the thumbnail you will be taken to a free pattern of the block and information about the fabrics I used when I made up the block.

This is a detail on the block. I first attached the line of tatted lace  which I then worked a line detached chain half flowers  in perle #8 cotton and then I added seed beads.

The seam below is a line of up and down buttonhole worked in silk thread. I then tucked bullion knots in between the spikes.

Crazy quilt Block 74 detailThis article is part of a regular series which illustrates the hand embroidered seams, embellishments and decorations on my crazy quilt I dropped the button box. If you want to read more articles like this look under Crazy Quilt details category

Free Crazy quilt block patterns
Each block on this quilt has a free pattern. Links to these free pattern pages are listed on the CQ details FAQ page.
If you don’t want to miss out on the free crazy quilt block patterns issued as part of this series, just follow the link and
Subscribe to Pin Tangle by Email and have it delivered to your In Box
OR
Follow Pintangle on Facebook

follow me on Facebook

Crazy Quilt Seam Detail 488

Y2K Crazy quilt Block 74Today I would like to share a detail on block 74 of the I Dropped the Button Box Crazy Quilt. If you click on the thumbnail you will be taken to a free pattern of the block and information about the fabrics I used when I made up the block.

This is a detail on the block. I first worked a line of buttonhole stitch in perle #5 cotton and then in silk thread I added French knots and cast on stitch loops. The seam was then finished with seed beads and bugle beads.

Crazy quilt Block 74 detail 488This article is part of a regular series which illustrates the hand embroidered seams, embellishments and decorations on my crazy quilt I dropped the button box. If you want to read more articles like this look under Crazy Quilt details category

Free Crazy quilt block patterns
Each block on this quilt has a free pattern. Links to these free pattern pages are listed on the CQ details FAQ page.
If you don’t want to miss out on the free crazy quilt block patterns issued as part of this series, just follow the link and
Subscribe to Pin Tangle by Email and have it delivered to your In Box
OR
Follow Pintangle on Facebook

follow me on Facebook