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How to do a Fell Stitch

Jun 22, 2009
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Also called an “appliqué stitch,” a fell (or “felling”) stitch is used to appliqué one layer of fabric (generally a folded or selvage edge) to another. It’s quick, strong, and flexible-the piece sewn on with a fell stitch can move somewhat like a hinge, and that makes it good for installing linings. It is also used to sew lace-either as appliqués or appliqué seams. The fell stitch is seen in millinery work as well as clothing; it is used to attach hat bodies to brims and to attach hatbands to hats. The stitches themselves typically sit 90 degrees to the edge, or they can be angled slightly. 1. Emerge on the folded edge. The stitch should be about 1mm away from the fold. 2. Insert the needle directly into the fabric next to the fold. Run it diagonally so that it emerges beyond the first stitch. 3. Pull the stitch closed. See how the stitch sits 90 degrees to the fold? Sew the stitches between 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 inch apart. Except from Threads, Issue 135, p. 65.

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  1. User avater user-2088651 June 19th

    Thank you SO much - just found this - and in the nick of time. Your tutorials are amazing!

  2. handsthatsew December 14th

    this was very helpful in sewing a purse lining!

  3. SusanJensen October 8th

    Thanks, Kenneth King! I needed this to apply the lining to my Chanel Jacket! Love your work with Threads!

  4. Gladtobehere November 5th

    This is a very simply way to explain applique stitch.

    Love the way you present the stitch. Have use this
    stitch many times.

  5. sewingpuzzle September 22nd

    Cool! My grandma and great-grandmother were professional quilt makers for upscale families in Louisville, KY, many years ago. Some of their personal quilts have lovely applique, but I never knew how it was done. Thanks to your illustration, now I do!

  6. User avater Izzy1974 August 27th

    Keep the tips and tutorials coming!!!! They're fantastic!!!

  7. purpleque July 13th


    This is the best and simpliest explanation of the stitch. I love your tips. Keep them coming!

  8. User avater MaddyGranma July 6th

    Such beautiful work, and very useful tutorial!

  9. Love_it July 1st

    Dear Kenneth,

    Don't stop give us more. I love the subjects you demo.

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