How to Create Echo Stitching - Threads


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How to Create Echo Stitching

Photo: Louise Cutting

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.

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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.  

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LOUISE CUTTING

Comments (18)

NinaLBoston NinaLBoston writes: Wow -- this brought back memories. My troup leader had us do echo stitching as a way to learn to handle a sewing machine. This was centuries ago in 4-H. I remember being in tears over mine! I like the idea of adding stitching to a deep hem to embellish and add weight and stiffness. I look forward to trying this on cotton.
Any special tips for a scalloped hem? It might be just too cute. Maybe I'll save for a slightly different hem on a straight skirt -- when I don't want anything that's overly eyecatching.
Posted: 3:34 pm on April 25th

user-1104124 user-1104124 writes: Thank you Louise for for sharing your valuable technique. For years I have relied on the corner itself as guide, so many ripping years later I found a foolproof way to sew echo stitches on items that have corners. I have used this kind of stitching as embellishments on sleeves and tunic hems.
Posted: 11:34 am on April 15th

LOUISE CUTTING LOUISE CUTTING writes: The full article has a quote next to the natural linen sample showing what can happen using a heavier fabric.

"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."

The white pique fabric shows the 45 degree stitching to help turn as you get to the corner. The color even in the white examples, in the finished garment, I would have used tone on tone color. The color thread was used so the camera can pick up the technique.

Hope this helps why you see what can happen when using thicker or dimensional fabric are used

Louise

Posted: 6:34 am on April 11th

LizKelley LizKelley writes: I would never let work,of this quality leave my sewing room. Also it would be much better to embellish the fabric and the cut out the pattern piece, unless this make the piece too stiff to handle.
Posted: 12:24 am on April 11th

user-933140 user-933140 writes: Thanks for the info. I never thought to put in a basting stitch on the 45 degree. Nice and easy that way
Posted: 12:24 am on April 10th

sewfun611 sewfun611 writes: This would like nice on linen for clothing or table linens. Thanks for sharing.

Posted: 2:08 pm on April 9th

user-248785 user-248785 writes: As a long time experienced seamstress who has many times used contrasting color threads, your sample is an insult to your Threads magazine. What a shame that you did not take the time to stitch in straight lines or learn how to turn a corner correctly.
Posted: 1:13 pm on April 9th

justwilli justwilli writes: Have used this treatment for many tears in quilting and ,clothing a great tip, and thank you for sharing.


Posted: 1:12 pm on April 9th

ustabahippie ustabahippie writes: I love this look. I probably could have figured out how to do it myself, but might never have thought to. Might just try it on the jacket I have cut out now.
Posted: 12:55 pm on April 9th

agapantha agapantha writes: I learned echo stitching from my grandmother as a quilting technique. On clothing I've used it for decorative effects and to hold facings in place. My favorite use was on a shift dress made of fabric just a bit too light to hang properly. I used echo stitching on the deep hem which gave the bottom of the dress just enough extra body to hold the skirt in place, similar to using a weight chain in the hem of a jacket.
Posted: 10:32 pm on April 8th

Grandcarr Grandcarr writes: Thanks for the great tip!
Posted: 6:11 pm on April 8th

eatsallinsects eatsallinsects writes: WOW! This brought back memories!
I did this in Junior High School in our Home Ec class for a potholder.
Received an A+ from the teacher! LOL!
Posted: 5:21 pm on April 8th

user-2657171 user-2657171 writes: I used the same technique on a heavy knit sleeveless jacket. I stitched the mandarin collar, front and pocket tops/back belt. I was frequently complimented on my trapunto work even though I did not add any padding between the lines of stitching.
Posted: 4:29 pm on April 8th

Theresa_in_Tucson Theresa_in_Tucson writes: Louise, I'm glad you added the comment that using a high contrast thread could result in a wonky look because that was my impression of the first photo. I have used this technique but only using one of my old Singer straight stitch machines. With my zig zag machine, a grand old Bernina 930, the stitching looks like your photo.
Posted: 4:23 pm on April 8th

StarrMarlene StarrMarlene writes: This is the technique I use to "quilt" two layers of fabric to a very thin padding on the power bar of a bra pattern. This gives a bit more lift and support for a larger cup size.
Posted: 4:19 pm on April 8th

mjz mjz writes: I've used it to control facings and lapels that just wouldn't lay right. It's also possible to add curvature to a collar by careful feeding of the fabric while stitching. (Think pad-stitching, but by machine.)

It's a nice way to add some style to a plain garment while retaining its mix-and-match versatility. Use same-color thread, and follow pocket edges, necks, hems, anywhere the fabric is doubled.


Posted: 4:13 pm on April 8th

Tena_L Tena_L writes: Great directions and photos. Could you give a couple of examples of the type of fabric you would describe as "dimensional'?
Posted: 3:41 pm on April 8th

ASiverson ASiverson writes: Thank you for this informative article. It was enlightening!
Posted: 3:26 pm on April 8th

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