Add Detail With Pin Stitching

When we talk about heirloom embroidery techniques, no discussion would be complete without the famous pin stitch. Also known as "point de Paris," this decorative stitch is designed to add detail along the edges of lace and appliqué. It's a gorgeous addition to garments and linens alike, and it can be stitched by hand or machine. If you've never tried pin stitching by hand, or if you simply want to brush up on your technique, follow our tutorial below. Once you've mastered it, this stitch is one you'll want to use often!

NOTE: Use lightweight thread. This hand stitch is used along the edges of lace and appliqué in place of a machine pin stitch. The drawings shown are enlarged for better viewing. The stitch is actually very small.


Figure 1
1. Work on the right side of the fabric from right to left. Bring the needle to the surface of the fabric at point A close to the lace or appliqué edge. Make a backstitch to point B. Slant the needle under the fabric and come up at point C in the lace or appliqué piece directly under point A (fig. 1). Pull the thread through.


Figure 2

2. Return to point A and insert the needle back down in the same hole previously made. Bring the needle tip up through point D (fig. 2) and pull the thread through.


Figure 3

3. Once again, go back down at point A through the same hole. Slant the needle under the fabric and come up at point E in the lace or appliqué directly under point D (fig. 3). Pull the thread through.

For more heirloom inspiration, check out our Baby's Breath Dress Kit! This kit comes with everything you need to create a beautiful ballet-inspired dress in sizes 2-12.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia

Tips & Tricks for Hooped Appliqué

This "Anchors Away" dress featured in our June / July 2014 edition was designed by Monica Bellard.
The appliqué design is from Designs by JuJu.

Appliqué is the perfect way to add character to a sewing project or to a ready-made item. It's always cute on children's clothing, and in some cases it allows you to sew an intricate design on a garment that would not ordinarily support this type of embroidery - such as a sweater or a golf shirt. Although the term "appliqué" can apply to any motif that is created and then applied to another surface, the type of appliqué we would like to talk about today is appliqué created in-the-hoop on your embroidery machine.

Before embroidering, we suggest washing and drying your fabrics. Shrinkage problems will be minimized, as well as other potential problems such as color bleeding. For best results, both the decorative fabric and the garment should have the same care instructions for laundering. You should prepare your appliqué fabric by applying a paper-backed fusible webbing (such as Wonder Under or Aleene's) to the back of your appliqué fabric.


"Edward's Sailor Bubble" and sailboat appliqué are featured in our book, Sewing for a Royal Baby.

How to Embroider:
1. Hoop fabric and begin embroidering.

2. When you see thread color change that has a description of appliqué guide stitches (description found in your design instructions on or in packaging), embroider this thread as a template to show placement for appliqué fabric.

3. Place your appliqué fabric on top of thread template that was just sewn, making sure fusible side is down against your hooped fabric. Begin embroidering appliqué securing stitches with desired color, making sure that appliqué fabric is smooth.

4. Take hoop out of machine, being careful not to disturb fabric in hoop. Gently cut away fabric from outside edges of appliqué securing stitches. Place hoop back in machine and continue embroidering your design. 

5. When design is done, remove fabric from hoop and press according to your paper-backed fusible webbing manufacturer's instructions.

Helpful Hints: 
• Practice first before trying on a garment.
• Pay attention to precision cutting.
• Be sure to press the paper-backed fusible webbing properly and according to manufacturer's direction.

If you're looking for some great appliqué designs for baby and children's clothing, be sure to check out these designs from our 2012 Internet Embroidery Club! All previous year collections (2001 to 2013) are available to purchase on our Internet Embroidery Club site.

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia 

Add Piping to a Tucked Shirt


Belle Heir shirt and button-on pants constructed by Amelia Johanson.

We just love seeing photos of little Prince George dressed up in all of his fashionable baby attire. From the sailboat-smocked rompers and button-bar shoes to the cardigan sweaters and pull-on shorts he donned during the royals' recent tour of Australia and New Zealand, it's evident the 9-month-old is a trendsetter in children's clothing much like his father Prince William was at a young age. In honor of the tiny style icon, we'd like to share a technique with you from the Belle Heir shirt featured in our Royal Baby book.

This pleated-front shirt is an antique reproduction designed with a V-shaped yoke and the added interest of piping set into every tuck. We made our reproduction with short sleeves and paired it with classic button-on shorts for a little boy, but pair the sleeveless option with a button-on skirt and the ensemble will have little girl written all over it. 

Piped tucks

Below, you'll find instructions for recreating the shirt's unique piped tucks. Patterns and complete instructions for constructing the Belle Heir shirt and button-on shorts can be found in Sewing for a Royal Baby.

1. Create enough piping to accommodate all six tucks. Trim piping seam allowance to 1/4 inch (6 mm) (a DARR piping ruler is perfect for this task). Cut six 4-1/2-inch (11 cm) long strips of piping.

2. Fold along the first tuck line; press. Place the fold to the straight line and press the tuck all the way down.

Figure 1

3. Open the tuck and run a line of basting glue from the top edge to the marked dot. Position a piece of piping on the glue so that the stitching line of the piping is aligned to the straight line marked on the shirt. Begin at the marked dot and work upward; leave the excess piping extended at the top edge, which will be trimmed after stitching. For a clean end, cut the end of the piping piece at an angle and bend the raw end to the inside of the tuck so that the curved end touches the marked dot (fig. 1). Finger press to secure the glue to the piping.

Figure 2

4. Flip the shirt over the piping so that the right sides are together and the piping is sandwiched between the fold. Stitch the tuck line, catching the piping seam allowance inside; stop at the marked dot, securing the end of the tuck and the end of the piping at the same time. Skip a distance and start stitching on second mark and continue to the bottom of the front shirt (fig. 2). Repeat for all six tucks. When complete, trim off the piping strips even with top edge.

For more projects fit for your little prince or princess, be sure to check out Sewing for a Royal Baby. The book features 22 royal-inspired designs complete with patterns, smocking plates, step-by-step instructions, technique tutorials and much more! 

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi & Amelia

Project How-To: Pretty Storage Pockets

This fabric hanger cover provides plenty of pockets to store accessories.

Mother's Day is this coming Sunday, May 11. If you're looking for a project to sew for a special mother in your life - whether your mom, sister, daughter, aunt or friend - we have a great idea to share. This pretty cover designed by Rosina Cassam for our sister magazine Stitch Craft Create's gift edition transforms an ordinary clothes hanger into a practical storage unit. It takes no time at all to make, and it's a perfect present for ladies of all ages who can use it to keep all their favorite fashion accessories at hand.

What you need: 
• Patterned fabric 
• Plain fabric 
• Coordinating thread 
• Wire hanger 
• Pencil 
• Paper 
• Ruler 
• Scissors 
• Sewing machine 
• Iron

How to create:
NOTE: Seam allowances are 3/8 inch.

1. To make hanger cover pattern, trace around top of wire hanger and lengthen bottom line to about 12 inches. Add a 3/8-inch seam allowance around perimeter. To make pocket pattern, fold over top part of hanger cover pattern and use lower part only (about 8 inches deep).

2. From patterned fabric, cut two main hanger cover pieces and one pocket piece.

3. From plain fabric, use main hanger cover pattern to cut two lining pieces and one pocket piece.

4. Place pocket pieces right sides together and sew along top edge. Turn through to right side and press flat.

5. Place one of main hanger cover pieces right side up on your work surface and lay pocket on top with lining facing down, aligning raw edges along bottom edge. Sew along pocket sides and bottom edge.

6. Measure 5 inches in from sides to mark pocket divisions and machine stitch to make three pockets.

7. Place hanger cover lining on top of pocket with front right sides facing, and machine sew along bottom edge only. Press; fold open along seam edge and press. Repeat with remaining fabric pieces to make hanger cover back.

8. Pin linings to hanger cover pieces and sew around top edges.

9. Place lined back and front together, right sides facing, and sew along top edge, leaving a 2-inch gap. Turn right side out and press flat along seams.

10. Insert hanger through gap.

Shop the Mother's Day Sale in our Martha Pullen Online Store for more great gift ideas!

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia