Pink Castle Blog

How and Where to Use Decorative Stitches

Posted by Katie Remski on Sep 6, 2017 12:08:12 PM


Welcome back to Sewing Machine School! For a lot of modern sewing machines, it's common to have decorative stitch options, from scallops to stars to simple swirls. These stitches can add a lot of character to projects with minimal effort, but how do you use them?

The mechanics of using decorative stitches varies from machine to machine-- always check your manual to see what the specifics are before you jump in and try one out. No matter what the make/model of your machine, there's a few questions to consider before you start sewing:

1. Do I need to use a specific foot? Decorative stitches are typically wider than the average straight stitch and need a foot with enough space for the needle to move. 

2. What tension/stitch length should I set my machine to? The Janome 6700p used for this article (along with most other Janome machines) automatically adjust the tension and stitch length for the selected stitch, but other machines may require you manually change the settings. 

3. Does my machine need to be oiled? This goes for all sewing, but the repetitive and concise needle movement/placement means a well-oiled machine will preform much better. 

Now the fun part-- what kind of projects work best for decorative stitches? For me, anything that requires topstitching is prime real estate for some fun stitches. Curtain or skirt hems, purse flaps, tote bag handles, patch pockets, cuffs, wallets, zipper pouches, headbands, cloth napkins, and pillowcases are just a few examples. 

Now let's see how it's done-- again, I used the Janome 6700p, a machine that's perfect for both quilt/apparel sewing and heavy duty applications (like sewing through thick canvas and free motion quilting) and as a bonus has a lot of beautiful decorative stitches!

 Janome 6700p

First, thread your machine. The color is up to you-- go for a subtle, monochromatic look with a color that matches your fabric, or use a fun contrasting shade (like neon or varigated thread!) 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Pick your design and type the number into your machine with the keypad. If you have a Janome, the screen will tell you which foot to use with your design. For this stitch, we need the "F" foot, as indicated in the upper left of the screen. 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

Attach the designated foot for your decorative stitch. This foot has a little red arrow to indicate where the stitch will be centered as to make following lines easier. 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

The machine we're using automatically adjusts the tension and stitch length for the selected decorative stitch, but if yours doesn't, adjust accordingly. Now you're ready to start stitching! 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

If your machine lets you adjust the speed, start off slowly and make sure to feed the fabric evenly through the machine to avoid skipped stitches. If you have a start/stop button instead of a food pedal, this is a great place to use it since it will maintain a smooth, even pace. 

Leaf Stitch on the Janome 6700p

When you're done stitching, backstitch just once or twice to lock the seam in place. 

Want to see which Janome machines offer decorative stitches? check out these models: 

Anna Maria Horner M100

Janome 6700p



Skyline Series


Topics: Machine Embroidery, anna maria horner, Janome, skyline, Sewing Machines, 6700p, 6700, m100, decorative stitches, stitches

How to do Machine Embroidery on a Sweatshirt

Posted by Brenda Ratliff on May 8, 2017 1:58:57 PM

Living in Michigan, I wear a lot of sweatshirts. Seriously, it's cold here.  Don't get me wrong, the weather is lovely for 3 seasons (I'm really not a fan of winter...) but it's not a billion degrees.  

If you are like me, you probably have some plain looking sweatshirts sitting in your drawers.  It's really easy to take one out and add some pizzaz with machine embroidery!

Machine Embroidery on a Sweatshirt Tutorial

Finished Emboidered Sweatshirt.jpg

Supplies Needed:

Step 1: Choose Embroidery Placement

Well, this sounds obvious and really, it is.  Some patterns will have a printable PDF or photo of the pattern so you can place it on your garment and decide on placement.  I just measured the size of the embroidery pattern and placed it 3" below the center of the neck hole. Mark the placement with the water soluble pen. 


Step 2: Stabilize your fabric

 You will need to cut a piece of stabilizer bigger than your pattern and hoop size.  Then spray glue this to the wrong side of the shirt where you will be placing your embroidery.

Hooped Sweatshirt.jpg

Step 3: Hoop Your Shirt

This step took me the longest I think. I wanted to make sure my placement was centered properly.  If you have to try hooping it a few times, that's okay to get the placement correct!  Make sure you get the back side and sleeves out of the way.  You can secure them to the sides of your hoop with clips if you want to be extra sure that they don't creep underneath your embroidery hoop.  You don't want to embroider a sleeve to the back of your embroidery....


Step 4: Embroider Your Sweatshirt

I suggest to embroider at half speed. Especially if you have a pattern with over 20,000 stitches.  This will help your design from puckering.  

Finished Embroidery in the Hoop.jpg

Step 5: Cut Excess Stabilizer

Unhoop your sweatshirt and trim back your cut away stabilizer with scissors.  Leave about 1/2" around the design.  That's it!  You now have a lovely embroidered sweatshirt! The stabilizer is stiff at first but after a few washings it will soften!

Enjoy your new sweatshirt!

I used the Janome Skyline S9 machine to create this design.  I also recommend the Janome 400e embroidery machines.  These are embroidery only and perfect for someone who already has a sewing machine they love but still wants to get into embroidery!  Click the button below to see the models we have in stock online!  Give us a call at 877-808-8695 if you have questions or to find out our machine specials!

Janome Embroidery Machines

Topics: Machine Embroidery, Embroidery, Techniques, Sewing Machines

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