Beginner's Guide: Embellishing Crazy Patchwork

Updated on January 26, 2017
JanTUB profile image

Quilter, author, tutor, columnist, Jan T Urquhart Baillie has been enthusing others with her passion for quilting for more than 30 years.

Adding the Fun Stuff

The ribbons, embroidery stitches, beads...

When you make a crazy patchwork block, you start with a foundation shape and cover it — either by machine or by hand — with many patches of fabric until the backing is no longer showing.

The fun part comes when you start adding seam embellishments

Each seam is embroidered with some stitchery such as fly stitch, herringbone stitch, feather stitch, creton stitch, or some of many other fancy stitches.

You can add twisted ribbons, lace pieces, buttons, beads, sequins, until you have a finished crazy patchwork block.

In the picture you see a vest panel with the stitchery completed.

Source

Next Steps

Time to 'Beautify'

In the previous Beginner's Guide (link above), I showed you how to make the crazy patched foundation.

Now you can learn how to embellish the block.

What You Will Need

  1. Your foundation block covered in lovely scrap fabrics
  2. Embroidery threads
  3. Silk ribbons
  4. Beads, buttons, sequins
  5. Satin ribbons, picot edged ribbons, nylon ribbons
  6. Lace scraps
  7. Lace motifs
  8. Crewel needles about size 8
  9. Anything else you think you'd like to add to the block
  10. Scissors, snips, thimble, finger guard, and pincushion

Audition Your 'Blingy Bits'

Test them against the finished foundation.

Yummy 'special' stuff for embellishing your crazy patch block
Yummy 'special' stuff for embellishing your crazy patch block
Zing from unexpected fuchsia fabric on this embellished crazy patch collar by Jan T
Zing from unexpected fuchsia fabric on this embellished crazy patch collar by Jan T | Source

Gather Your Beads, Ribbons and Threads

Place the threads, beads and so on onto the block to see which ones you like with the sewn on scraps.

Use the colours in the patches as a guide for your selections, but a little zing happens when you use some unusual combinations of colours in the embellishments.

I chose a very bright fuchsia satin to go with the patches on the collar at right, and the result was a wonderful surprise.You can bring in unexpected colours in your beads and ribbons.

Tip: Keep Your Final Selections Together

Find a divided tray or a plastic container with several divisions, use that to keep your selections in, so that they are within easy reach while you work.

My favourite is a cut glass divided sweet dish that was my grandmother's.

Cover the Seams With Stitches

Embellish Each Seam With Fancy Stitches

1. By Hand

Traditionally, this was done with hand embroidery.

Feather stitch, and its many variations, was used extensively. Herringbone and fly stitch were also very popular.

Choose a thread which picks up the colour from one of the patches in the foundation block, but not the colour of the patches you are sewing along.

This distributes the colour across the block. (Good use of design principles.)

Decide on the stitch you are going to use.

2. By Machine

Now that's fast!

With the advent of wonderful embroidery stitches built into many sewing machines, even the inexpensive models, you can stitch over the seams with a multitude of new stitch designs.

If you use machine embroidery threads, the stitches shine on the block. Very pretty! Choose from the many fabulous new machine embroidery threads that are currently available.

Start stitching!

Put This on Your Wish List!

Singer Futura CE-250 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine with 2 Hoop Sizes, 100 Sitches, 120 Embroidery Designs, 5 Monogramming Fonts
Singer Futura CE-250 Computerized Sewing and Embroidery Machine with 2 Hoop Sizes, 100 Sitches, 120 Embroidery Designs, 5 Monogramming Fonts

You can embroider, or use the fancy stitches to embellish your crazy patchwork.

It is a complete sewing machine with all the expected features. As well, it comes equipped with lots of fancy stitches, and a simple to attach and use embroidery unit for extra pizazz.

I helped to launch this machine in Australia and was seen demonstrating it at shows all around the country at the time.

I made bags with crazy patched and embellished panels, blocks with embroidered crazy seams, and many other items.

It is such a fast way to embellish your blocks while the stitches are still as beautiful as any hand stitching.

I loved it.

 

The Stitches

You traditionally use, and how to stitch them

1. Fly Stitch

A staple crazy patch stitch, easy to learn, easy to build on.

How to Stitch Fly Stitch

If you learn Fly stitch first, then Feather stitch is an easy next step.

You can use embroidery floss, silk ribbon, or DMC Pearl cotton.

Instructions

  1. Hold the skein or ball of thread in your lap and draw up to your forehead. Cut at this length. Longer threads cause knotting and tangling.
  2. Thread a crewel needle, about a size 8.

    These needles have an eye that will take thicker threads. For thick threads you may need to use a darning needle or a tapestry needle.

  3. Tie a small rolled knot in the end.
  4. Bring the needle up from under the block and pull the thread through.
  5. Put the needle back into the block about ¼ inch away from where it came up.
  6. Slant the needle so that it will come back up at about half way across the space between where the needle came up and where it is going back into the block.
  7. Make sure that the thread lies underneath the needle's point in order to form a loop, and pull the needle through.
  8. Take a vertical stitch about ¼ inch away from the loop you just formed.

    You can take a shorter stitch to get the first style in the picture.

  9. One beautifully stitched fly.

Fly Stitch Examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Fly StitchDouble Fly stitchTwo colour Fly StitchStacked to make ferns
Fly Stitch
Fly Stitch
Double Fly stitch
Double Fly stitch
Two colour Fly Stitch
Two colour Fly Stitch
Stacked to make ferns
Stacked to make ferns

2: Feather Stitch

It's easy.

How to Stitch Feather Stitch

Once you have mastered fly stitch, you can quickly graduate to feather stitch.

Instructions

  1. Follow the steps for fly stitch until step 7
  2. Instead of taking a vertical stitch, take a slanted stitch like the top of the fly, moving the needle tip away from the first loop about ¼ inch.
  3. Form the next stitch at the same angle.
  4. Slant the needle in the opposite direction to make the next couple of loops.
  5. Continue in this way for the legth of the seam.

Feather Stitch Examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Slanted feather stitchDouble with chain budsCurved either side of a seamVariations of Feather stitchFeather stitch with French Knots and Lazy Daisy
Slanted feather stitch
Slanted feather stitch
Double with chain buds
Double with chain buds
Curved either side of a seam
Curved either side of a seam
Variations of Feather stitch
Variations of Feather stitch
Feather stitch with French Knots and Lazy Daisy
Feather stitch with French Knots and Lazy Daisy

3: French Knots

They are so useful.

How Do I Use French Knots in Crazy Patchwork?

They are wonderful for sewing on twisted ribbons.

If you use silk ribbon and make 'sloppy' knots, they are good for wisteria blossoms, wattle, any flower trails ...

French Knots Examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
French Knots to decorate twisted ribbonHold down ribbon with French Knots
French Knots to decorate twisted ribbon
French Knots to decorate twisted ribbon
Hold down ribbon with French Knots
Hold down ribbon with French Knots

French Knots Made Easy - You Can Do It!

These Are So Easy and So Beautiful

4: Herringbone Stitch

Follow the diagram for this easy stitch.

Variation

Herringbone stitch - with cretan stitch and chain stitch between
Herringbone stitch - with cretan stitch and chain stitch between

5: Lazy Daisy Stitch

Single or Detached Chain Stitch.

See the video below for chain stitch.

Chain Stitch How To

Lazy Daisy Stitch Examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chain stitch buds with buttonhole stitchAdd buds to double feather stitch vinesDaisy in curved feather stitchChain flowers on couched stems
Chain stitch buds with buttonhole stitch
Chain stitch buds with buttonhole stitch
Add buds to double feather stitch vines
Add buds to double feather stitch vines
Daisy in curved feather stitch
Daisy in curved feather stitch
Chain flowers on couched stems
Chain flowers on couched stems

Sew a lovely silk ribbon rosebud - Using fly stitch and laisy daisy

Butterfly Chain Stitch How To Video

I call this stitch Wheat Sheaf, and use it a lot on my crazy patchwork.

6: Cretan stitch

Also a favourite stitch.

How To: Cretan Stitch

Cretan Stitch Examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Cretan stitchCretan alternated with herringboneCretan combined with Chevron stitch
Cretan stitch
Cretan stitch
Cretan alternated with herringbone
Cretan alternated with herringbone
Cretan combined with Chevron stitch
Cretan combined with Chevron stitch

7. Blanket Stitch

Also called Buttonhole stitch

Blanket Stitch Variation

Up and down across the seam
Up and down across the seam

Add Some Bling

Beads, ribbons, lacy bits...

Baubles, buttons and beads
Baubles, buttons and beads | Source

Add Some Beads To Block Seams

Beads add dimension and texture to your crazy quilting.

Use them to make bead trails, to attach twisted ribbons, to embellish herringbone stitch or cretan stitch...

They are simple to apply and look great!

How To: Add Beads

Beads and Other Fancy Stuff Examples

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Crazy patch fan with beads, ribbon and knotsLace strip decorated with grub roses and knotsLazy Daisy and rick-rack combinationCouched rat tail cord
Crazy patch fan with beads, ribbon and knots
Crazy patch fan with beads, ribbon and knots
Lace strip decorated with grub roses and knots
Lace strip decorated with grub roses and knots
Lazy Daisy and rick-rack combination
Lazy Daisy and rick-rack combination
Couched rat tail cord
Couched rat tail cord

Folded Ribbon Roses Add Dimension

Questions & Answers

    © 2009 Jan T Urquhart Baillie

    Have You Made Any Crazy Patchwork?

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      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        I've made several. The embellishment is my favorite part.

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        if you would like to see my quilt, please visit

        www.needlepointteacher.com and fine crazy quilt on the left hand column

      • profile image

        anonymous 5 years ago

        I was wondering if you are doing a vest with a seam do you sew the seam first or do the crazy patch then sew the seams together

      • GmaJane LM profile image

        GmaJane LM 5 years ago

        I used to embroider years ago, well hopefully not that many, but I'm afraid it is many years ago! I love your lens and you have obviously worked very hard on it. Great instructions. Inthink you have inspired me to start again. Thank you

      • Elsie Hagley profile image

        Elsie Hagley 6 years ago from New Zealand

        Very nice lens, I like it, have not seen patch work done like this.

        Will have a try as soon as I can find some spare time.

        Thanks for sharing.

      • AbigailsCrafts LM profile image

        AbigailsCrafts LM 7 years ago

        I made my first two blocks this weekend and found it enormous fun. Thanks for the lens, now I have even more ideas!

      • Ann Hinds profile image

        Ann Hinds 7 years ago from So Cal

        Blessed this lens. This is all helpful information, kind of a one stop shop. Thanks

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 7 years ago from Australia

        @The-Java-Gal: Can I see it when you're finished? I'd love to have a show and tell pic! Thanks for the nice words.

      • The-Java-Gal profile image

        The-Java-Gal 7 years ago

        I have wanted to design fabric for a vest, and not being a quilter, I found your step by step directions most helpful, Inspired me to get out my scraps and embroidery threads.

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 7 years ago from Australia

        @marsha32: Hi Marsha, I'm glad you found it useful. Thanks for the feature!

      • profile image

        marsha32 7 years ago

        I featured you in the rocketmoms section here http://www.squidoo.com/makeastripquilt

      • profile image

        myraggededge 7 years ago

        Fantastic resource and gorgeous pictures. Blessed:-)

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 8 years ago from Australia

        @justholidays: They are my passion, in all shapes and styles. Glad you visited. Thank you for the blessing!

      • justholidays profile image

        justholidays 8 years ago

        I love patchworks and if I was more skilled, I surely would have made a few ones myself. They are so stylish and warm!

        Blessed by a SquidAngel.

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 8 years ago from Australia

        @SoyCandleLover: Perfect? You are too kind! Thank you.

      • SoyCandleLover profile image

        BW Duerr 8 years ago from Henrietta, New York

        Beautiful work and the instructional details are perfect. Thanks for sharing you wonderful hobby.

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 8 years ago from Australia

        @Kylyssa: I am a cool grandma! Thanks for the compliment.

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 8 years ago from Australia

        @myraggededge: What a loevly comment. Thank you.

      • Kylyssa profile image

        Kylyssa Shay 8 years ago from Overlooking a meadow near Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

        This is not your grandma's quilting - unless you have the coolest grandma ever! Awesome instructions, too.

      • profile image

        myraggededge 8 years ago

        What a comprehensive lens. It really is an example of the best that Squidoo can offer. I've already clicked over to look at Part 1. Excellent.

      • JanTUB profile image
        Author

        Jan T Urquhart Baillie 8 years ago from Australia

        @anonymous: Thank you so much, Bev!

      • profile image

        anonymous 8 years ago

        What a lovely instruction guide for embellishing crazy patchwork! 5 stars!

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