Designing a Seam: How to use Embroidery Stencils, Crazy Quilt Seam Designs
Posted by Christen Brown on May 19th 2023
I recently created this piece for Embroidery Extravaganza, which was held on Creative Spark, C&T Publishing’s online learning platform. I also posted the piece's progress over several weeks on Maker’s Mingle, C&T Publishing’s private Facebook page.
My goal was to show how a piece can grow through the process of creating a color scheme, adding in your stitches according to a planned colorway to create a balance throughout the piece.
Here are the fabrics that I used to create the base.
Here are the threads that I used for the embroidery.
Here are the beads that I used for embellishments.
I always plan out the colors of the threads and embellishments for each piece of fabric. Here is the basic formula that I used for this project.
“Where do I Start”?
I have taught embroidery for over 30 years. One of the most common questions I am asked is, “Where do I start”? My suggestion for a project like this is to work all the border row seams first so you can establish a color patten and the beginning of the seam design.
When you are embroidering a crazy-pieced base like this one, you will be embroidering on the seams and in the open areas between seams. This is how I categorize the progression that the embroidery stitches will take.
- Border Row Stitches: These stitches are worked along or close to the seam of two sections of fabric. I suggest using a continuous stitch, like the feather, chain, blanket, cretan, chevron, or herringbone stitch.
- Decorative Stitches: These stitches are worked off or around the tips, or open spaces of the border row stitches. I suggest using individual stitches like lazy daisy, fly, cross stitch, a flower, or other shape.
- Details Stitches: These stitches are worked around the decorative stitches, and open spaces of the border row stitches. I suggest using small individual stitches like the French knot, straight, or stacked bead stitch.
Progression of a Seam
I used my newest set of stencils from Embroidery Stencils, Crazy Quilt Seam Designs to work the border rows and create the decorative and detailed stitches. The embroidery stitches I chose to work with can be found in my book, Hand Embroidery Stitching.
Here is an example of the progression of the yellow batik fabric in the lower right-hand corner.
Border Row Stitch Stencil #20: the cretan stitch, green perle cotton
Decorative Stitch Stencil # 74: lazy daisy stitch, 3 strands of purple variegated floss, and lazy daisy with French knot stitch, 3 strands of red floss
Decorative Stitch Stencil #78 (middle line): lazy daisy stitch, 3 strands of green floss
Decorative Stitch Stencil #84: French knot stitch, blue perle cotton #8
Decorative Stitch: French knot stitch, yellow perle cotton #8, and stacked bead stitch, blue and yellow seed beads
Decorative Stitch: French knot stitch, 3 strands of blue variegated floss
I hope you enjoyed this blog post. I hope it will help you to get creative and feel confident in your color and stitch choices.
Happy Stitching to You!
Embroidery Stencils, Crazy Quilt Seam Design Collection
Christen Brown teaches embroidery, quilting, crazy quilting, ribbonwork, mixed media, and beadwork in her best-selling books.