Maybe you remember my recent postings about some very basic but also very important techniques for embroidery & hand sewing. Basic techniques which we needed till now to successfully work at our current “Craft with Racaire” project – the fast and easy pouch tutorial.
You can find my detailed postings about the embroidery techniques here: Running Stitch & Stem Stitch. In this postings you can also find detailed information concerning the hand sewing techniques: Running Stitch and Back Stitch and their practical application.
This techniques were already a good start but I decided to take you one step further. Today I want to show you how you can easily embellish your pouch during your sewing process. Therefore we need a new technique for the next step, for the step “hand sewing the top of the pouch”:
Todays motto is:
“Chain Stitch & how to use it for hand sewing”
Btw., as you already might have noticed, I started to build up a detailed embroidery technique & stitch library. This new embroidery technique & stitch library is accessible from the header menu. You can take a look at it here: Premium.
For a start I decided to begin with very basic techniques – the embroidery and hand sewing techniques & stitches I already mentioned above. I will add techniques & stitches as soon as I need them for a project, when it seems useful to explain them or when I introduce you to a new embroidery technique.
Today I will expand this collection of basic techniques by introducing you to the Chain Stitch. Though Chain Stitch might appear like a boring and not very versatile technique, I will show you the great potential of this stitch.
In this posting we will focus on the great potential the Chain Stitch has concerning fast and decorative hand sewing and in the next posting I will show you how I use this technique for the current “Craft with Racaire” project – the fast and easy pouch tutorial.
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The Chain Stitch
Chain stitch is a very nice and easy to work basic embroidery stitch. What many people don’t know or can’t imagine – you can also use it for hand sewing. In comparison with other hand sewing techniques – like the Back Stitch – the Chain Stitch is just a little bit more complicated and also takes a little bit longer.
Though this technique can be be worked rather fast with some practice, it still takes too long for “normal” seams. Nevertheless it has one great benefit we can use for us. Chain Stitch creates a basic, regular but still very decorative pattern. This decorative pattern can be used very similar for hand sewing like the Stem Stitch if needed.
That means that instead sewing something first and then embroidering it, we already use a decorative stitch during the “normal hand sewing” process and save one working step of two. Though the Chain or Stem Stitch might take longer then normal hand sewing – it makes a further embellishment on top of the sewing unnecessary. This stitch, when used wisely and not too often for an extra highlight and decorative “kick” on your project, can really elaborate your projects. 🙂
As you can see on the picture underneath, the Chain Stitch – or “Kettenstich” in German – is really a very easy technique. The only two things which need some practice to make this stitch look good are:
- An even spacing of the stitches
- A similar tension used for the single”chains”
But once you have some practice this shouldn’t be a problem anymore.
I normally work this stitch in following steps:
- Pull the needle and the thread through the fabric…
- Pinch the thread down – somewhere at the border of my embroidery frame – with the thumb of my hand which is holding the embroidery frame…
- Lay an at least slightly “curve” around the place where I will stitch through next…
- Stitch into the fabric next to the place where the thread came out for this stitch…
- …and stitch up again through the fabric at the next starting point for your next Chain Stitch…
- Release the thread pinched down with my thumb and pull the needle and the thread through the fabric.
- Pull the thread “tight” until I get a nice new chain – please pull carefully and not too tight.
- …you can now start with the whole process again at step 2…
…and now imagine all this steps worked rather fast. This is my secret of how I can work this technique very fast. I keep the “working thread” out of my actual working area and I also keep it always at the same side. Once you start doing this for some time it becomes more and more like a habit you don’t need to think about anymore. 🙂
Some basic information about the Chain Stitch and some helpful links:
The Chain stitch is, like the other very basic techniques, a very old technique. You can find a very nice posting about the Chain stitch on Wikipedia. Though I can’t verify the information, it is a good start to begin with if you are interested into this technique and would like to do some research.
Another nice source of information about this stitch as well as some other basic stitches is a tutorial from Jane Stockton. She put together a very nice and informative tutorial about the “Five Period Embroidery Stitches”. In this tutorial she gives some interesting information about Split Stitch, Stem Stitch, Chain Stitch, Back Stitch and (Surface) Couching. If you haven’t downloaded and read it yet, I highly recommend to download and to read it.
Btw. the above mentioned posting about Chain Stitch on Wikipedia also shows some nice pictures of old as well as modern variations of this technique. You can also find a nice collection of Chain Stitch Variations on the blog “Victorian Embroidery and Crafts”.
Maybe you remember the Lazy Daisy Stitch I used for the “last work at the padding for the needle roll“? This is also “just” one of the many possible variations of the Chain Stitch.
Summery of informative links & helpful pages & tutorials:
- Chain stitch on Wikipedia
- Tutorial about “Five Period Embroidery Stitches” by Jane Stockton
- Chain Stitch Variations on the blog “Victorian Embroidery and Crafts”
Well, enough about technique details for today. Next time I will show you how I used this technique for this pouch project and also for other projects… 🙂
You can find all postings about this project in the category:
Craft with Racaire – #2 fast & easy pouch
Short overview of the postings till now:
Step 1) Fast and easy pouch tutorial & how to work with “rapports”
This posting explains how to calculate the needed fabric for the easy pouch tutorial. I also added some extra information: “how to work with rapports” (repeating patterns).
Step 1.1) Hand sewing stitches: Running Stitch…
This posting is an in-depth description of the first and most basic hand-sewing stitch you will need for this tutorial – the Running Stitch.
Step 1.2) Hand sewing stitches: Back Stitch (and Stem Stitch)…
Another in-depth description of another basic and helpful hand-sewing stitch you will need for this technique – the Running Stitch.
Step 2) Hand sewing the sides
Here you can find a detailed step-by-step photo tutorial about how I hand sew the sides of the “fast and easy pouch”. It includes all important basic steps for this process including the pinning, how to start with the sewing, how to secure your thread from slipping,…
Step 2.1) Hand sewing the corners
Another detailed step-by-step photo tutorial that shows you how to hand sew the nice pointy pouch corners of your fast and easy pouch.
Step 2.2) How to start a new thread & hide it…
Here you can see how I start a new thread while I am working at a seam finishing and how I hide the beginning of the new thread as well as the end of the old thread inside the seam.
Step 3.1) Hand sewing the top – pinning
This posting is about how I pinned the top of the pouch for the final hand sewing.
Step 3.2) Hand sewing – how to start a new thread & hide it .2 🙂
Sounds similar to “Step 2.2” above but is very different – in this step-by-step tutorial you can see how I start and hide a new thread in an already finished seam.