Make it Pretty – A quick guide to simple seam detailing

It was requested that I follow up my last post on seam finishing with a post about seam embellishment, the kind that looks like embroidery. Ladies, gentlemen, and those who eschew either term? The reason it looks like embroidery is because you’re running embroidery stitches along the seam. It looks like embroidery because it is embroidery. Don’t let that scare you away! Trust me, if you can handle a simple running stitch you can handle any of the three stitches I’m going to show you.

First, the ever present question of why? Why on earth would you decorate seams? Adding seam detailing is an easy way to make your garment stand out. It also helps machine stitched garb give the appearance of being hand stitched, and frankly I do it because it’s one of the few ways I have of feeling fancy in early period garb.

Stitch one: Split Stitch.

Split stitch is one of the easiest to explain. When it’s finished it looks like the yellow lines on this:

split stitch

Split stitch strongly resembles chain stitch, but in my mind it’s easier to do/teach. So here goes.

Step one: make a single stitch.


Step two: poke your needle up from the back of your project through the center of the stitch you just made.


Step three: make poke your needle back through the front of your fabric in order to make a stitch that is in line with and half over laps the previous stitch.


Repeat steps two and three until you reach the end of the line of work.

Stitch Two: Herring Bone Stitch

This one is one of my favorites. It’s quick, it’s simple, and it looks awesome. See?


That is a double herring bone, I went over the seam once with green, then went back over it with gold, staggering the Xs. That’s all. This is a bit more complicated to explain but here goes:

Step one: Sew one long diagonal stitch.


Step two: poke your needle up next to and a little behind the end you just made.


Step three: Sew one long diagonal stitch in the opposite direction of the last one, forming an elongated X


Repeat steps two and three.


Stitch Three: Blanket Stitch.

This is an awesome stitch for edging a piece, or at least that’s what I use it for.

Step one: Make a horizontal stitch sewing along your edge but do not pull the thread all the way though.


Step two: Poke your needle up, aligned with the end point of that stitch, but perpendicular to it.


Step three: Pull your needle through the loop created in step 1.


Step 4: pull the thread all the way though, tightening the perpendicular stitch AND the loop created in step one.


Repeat steps 1 -4.

There you go! Three stitches that I know you can do if you can manage a running stitch. These are the only three stitches I use to decorate garments I make. That’s it. Go forth and sew my dears.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s