art gallery fabrics
Twisty quilt pattern
Project Challenge 2012 - Challenge #4 - Saddle Bag

Using decorative stitches in modern quilting

Modern quilting is a growing trend and as more and more blogs begin to feature this style we see that many favor the straight line for quilting motives. Because solids are used alone or in combination with prints, quilting thread colors and quilting motives take a new and central stage in the look of the finished quilt.

Have you ever thought that if you choose a geometric quilting motif as a design, these forgotten, I don't know what I can use them for..., DECORATIVE STITCHES can give your finished quilt a terrific and oh... so different look? Why only use our first choice, the all time known straight stitch? Another reason to use straight line quilting or geometric motives is that is much easier to handle under a home sewing machine, so no necessity to send it to the long arm quilter and you can practice yourself!!

In these tutorials we want to show you how different decorative stitches not only break free of the norm but can also add a high contrast visual appeal to your blocks.


For demonstration purposes, we'll work with blocks instead of a finished top. You will add batting, backing and secure the three layers after your blocks are sewn together. All blocks will be created with our Pure Elements Solids so that we can maintain a modern look but showcase how much impact one stitch can make. We also used white thread on all blocks, so there is a consistency and you can look at the stitch itself. You'll use the color of your choice, of course :)

In order to get a very straight line, you will have to do some some markings:

  • Using a washable fabric market, draw the motif you would like to quilt. In this case, we've done a 16 patch grid as an example.

In the first block, we want to show you a stitch that is used for fabrics that have spandex in its composition: the TRIPLE STRAIGHT STITCH. It's a fairly simple, but will have the simplicity of a straight stitch combined with the boldness of 3 threads in each stitch.

  • Choose this stitch in your sewing machine and start stitching following the lines of the grid (please note that each sewing machine brand and model may have the stitch in a different location on the menu).
  • Stitch very slowly (because this is not the usual straight stitch and the needle will move to the left and the right or back and forth depending on the stitch)


Here we are almost finishing with the stitching :)

The straight line or geometric quilting has more impact when solids or open prints and contrasting color threads are used.

This is how the finished block will look at the end.

I'm sure you are asking: "why did we leave that long thread tails?" Most of you will do quilting lines bumper to bumper, but if your plan is to do a quilting motif that doesn't cross over between blocks (that is contained inside), you need to hide the threads. Be sure you leave a long thread tail before quilting each line and when you are about to cut the thread. At the end of this tutorial we'll show you a trick on how to hide threads. 

The finished block ironed (lightly from the back for demostation purposes)


Here is a close-up view of the stitching. Cool, right?

In the next installment of this tutorial, we'll show you 5 new decorative stitches that can transform the look of your quilt.

Hope you enjoyed it! If you ever quilted this way, let us know how you liked it and what stitch you used!

Love & Happy quilting!