Monday, February 27, 2012

8 Great Potholders Embroidery Suggestions

Basic Embroidery Stitches for Appliqué

Over the next little while, I’ll be showing you the stitches I use with my appliqué projects.  Our model today is Sunbonnet Sue with her doll.  This is a 6” potholder design from our pattern, “Eight Great Potholders”.

We’ll be looking at and learning about the Blanket or Buttonhole Stitch, Chain Stitch, Lazy Daisy, Stem Stitch, French Knot and Satin Stitch.  In the Sue, above, you can see all but the Satin Stitch used.  I’ll also include some rarer stitches such as the Ribbed Spider and the Bullion Knot.

The first stitch of importance to appliquérs is the Blanket or Buttonhole Stitch.  This is the stitch that makes a nice, protective edge to your appliqué pieces, whether they are turned edges or raw edges with fusible webbing underneath.

Begin the stitch by going down through the appliqué piece about 1/8” to ¼” from the raw edge and coming up right next to the raw edge.  Always go DOWN through the appliqué piece.  Coming UP through the appliqué piece tends to raise it and may cause its position to shift.

To make your next stitch, go down through the appliqué piece again, about 1/8” to ¼” away from the first stitch, holding your working thread so that when you come up through the background piece at the edge of the appliqué, you are making a loop.  Pull the thread firmly (but not too tight) so that the fabric is not pleated or pinched. 

Continue this way until you need to rethread your needle.  To stop, make a stitch and immediately go down through to the back, anchoring your last stitch.  You can make a small knot or weave the remaining thread through your back stitching to tie it off.

 Here are some examples of how to use this stitch.

Here you see the Blanket Stitch in blue along the edge of Sue’s bonnet, in company with the Lazy Daisy and Chain Stitches.

Here you see it used on the tiny head of her doll as well as on her hand and dress.  This embroidery is over two-sided, fusible webbing.  For small, intricate shapes, the webbing works very well, as you can tell.

Here is the stitch used on her shoes in company with a tiny chain stitch.  We used one strand of embroidery floss here, since the shapes are so small.  These potholders bear up well with use but I see a lot of people just hanging them in the kitchen as decorations.  The embroidery does make them a little precious, I think.  I love appliqué with embroidery.

Here is the back of Sue’s dress and a bit of the sleeve with almost all the stitches in view.  They work very well together.

I hope you enjoy using these stitches.  I think I’ll give this pattern away for our next drawing coming up.
Happy Stitching!


  1. Thanks so much for sharing your tips and techniques with us. I'm learning something new everytime! Never too old to learn ....

  2. You're welcome, Magda. I, too, am constantly learning through this new-fangled "confuser". Never a dull moment. Thank you for looking in.


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Happy Stitching! Prairie Stitcher