Why Decorative Stitches?

We all know contemporary sewing machines are going to come with decorative stitches to complement the utility stitches. But why?

Are you familiar with crazy quilting? It’s not just random piecing, though that is a characteristic. Popular during the late 19th century and early 20th century (think Victorian), small irregular-shaped fabric pieces were sewn together in an indiscriminate manner. This was opposed to a very orderly and repeated pattern of a “traditional” quilt. Predominately made of clothing scraps, these could also include finer fabrics like velvets or silks. The seams were then embellished by hand with decorative stitches, many of which you can find today on contemporary machines.

A dear customer, Linda Allaway, brought in a beautiful example of a crazy quilt made in Eastern Oregon in the late 1800’s. It’s a little threadbare in places but you can see the immense detail in the decorative stitches along EVERY seam. Imagine the commitment! Even if the style or color is not your aesthetic, I feel every sewist can appreciate the amount of work that went into this piece, it’s quite the labor of love.

One of the ways I like to work with decorative stitches is through a sampler. It’s ever so easy to display it in a wooden embroidery hoop. Choose your favorite ones for a sweet old-fashioned home dec project. Here I used a more tone-on-tone color story with two shades of pink.

Or select two or three and create a pattern with them. I put this in a dainty small hoop and used colors from my spring home dec project, like my springtime napkins or pillow set.

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