How to Create Echo Stitching
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Lately, I’ve found echo stitching on numerous designer garments. I’ve seen it on collars, cuffs, and front plackets. Besides being a great design detail, it is also a great way to discipline dimensional fabric that doesn’t press flat. I find it easier to echo-stitch after the section of the garment is completed. Echo-stitch a collar before it is sewn to the neck band or garment. But, echo-stitch a cuff or front band after the garment is completed. I recommend using 100-percent cotton thread and a no. 11 quilting needle. It will keep the garment reasonably flat with the numerous rows of stitching. There two ways to finish the threads: Pull them to the wrong side and knot; leave long thread tails, thread a needle, and weave them between layers of the garment area. This is especially nice if both layers of the garment are visible.
A great way to have an even width between stitching rows is to use the right edge of your presser foot as a guide.
To turn the echo stitching at a corner and maintain the correct angle, complete the following four steps. The collar on the garment shown has a right angle at the front corners. The same principle applies if the collar had a sharper corner.
1. Hand-press a crease at a 45-degree angle at both short edges of the collar. Don’t press this crease with an iron or use a marking pen because each could leave a permanent mark after the echo stitching is completed. If you are working with a sharper, pointed collar, match the vertical short edge to the long horizontal collar edge, then finger-press the crease.
2. Machine-baste using a light color or white thread along the foldline. Leave long thread tails, and don’t knot or backstitch at the ends of the basting stitch. Avoid using highly contrasting thread (even though it might be easier to see), because the intense color could leave a mark as the thread is removed.
3. Echo-stitch the collar. Starting at the raw edge of the collar, stitch parallel to the vertical short side using the right side edge of your presser foot as your guide. Once your needle reaches the diagonal basting stitch, with your needle in the down position, turn the collar, continuing to stitch along the horizontal outer edge of the collar, turning again at the opposite corner and stitching down the other front edge.
4. Echo-stitch a presser foot width away. If you like your echo stitching rows closer together, switch to a ¼-inch foot. When your needle hits the diagonal basting stitching, turn and continue stitching. Keep your stitching parallel to the original row at all times until your needle hits the opposite diagonal basting stitch, turn again, and continue stitching.
In observing echo stitching in ready-to-wear, I found five to seven rows of stitching, but, the echo stitching could have continued until the entire collar was covered, turning each time at the diagonal basting stitching line.
Once the echo stitching is completed, the basting stitch is removed, and the garment is pressed to set the stitches. In the example below, I’ve used contrasting thread so that it’s easier to see. Normally, you would baste in a light-colored or matching thread.
As you can see, stitching through heavier fabrics can cause echo stitching that looks askew.
In ready-to-wear, echo-stitched garments are stitched with tone-on-tone threads to help mask this problem.
There you have it! What do you think of echo stitching? Have you used this type of stitch in your garments?