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How to Machine Stitch on Scrapbook Layouts

Machine stitching adds a delightful, handcrafted look to scrapbook pages. It also gives layouts a lovely finishing touch. I'll walk you through a basic technique and provide helpful tips and ideas for ways you can use your sewing machine to stitch on your scrapbook layouts. Gather your materials and follow along!



Supplies you need:

* Sewing machine

* Thread

* Paper or cardstock


"Splash Pad" by Greta Hammond, as seen in Scrapbooking Tips & Tricks: Tools & Techniques

Greta Hammond stitched the large star accent on her scrapbook page with contrasting red thread to draw attention to it.

Outline a shaped paper accent with a straight stitch. Here's how:

1. Cut out a large star from patterned paper.


2. Stitch around the outside edge of the star with a contrasting-colored thread.


3. Leave the sewing needle down in its lowest position in the paper at the corner of the star. Lift the foot peddle of the sewing machine, turn the paper to line up along the next edge of the star, and continue stitching.


Tips for Success

* Experiment with various colors of thread to create different looks on your scrapbook page.

* Use matching thread colors to give your layout subtle dimension and definition without being distracting--like Greta did on the borders of this page.

* Select coordinating or contrasting thread colors to draw attention to key elements or to add color and texture to your layout.

* If you're nervous about stitching, don't sew directly onto your scrapbook layout. Stitch a border, an accent, or a photo mat, and then adhere it to your layout.


Q&A: Machine Stitching on Scrapbook Layouts

Q. Will stitching on paper ruin my sewing machine?

A. No. If you're concerned about the paper dulling your needle, consider using a separate needle for stitching on paper.


Q. Can I stitch on cardstock and patterned paper? How about specialty papers like vellum or tissue paper? What about transparencies?

A. Yes, you can stitch on any of the above-mentioned papers. Stitch slowly for best results. If you're nervous about getting started, try stitching on a couple of scraps to get a feel for it.


Q. Can I stitch on chipboard, cardboard, or acrylic?

A. No, we would not recommend it. Check the manufacturer recommendations for your machine before attempting this.


Q. Can I stitch fabric to paper?

A. Yes. Because the fabric will have more "give" than the paper will, work slowly and check to make sure the fabric isn't pulling or isn't misaligned.


Q. I stitched through adhesive and now my needle is gummy. Help!

A. Be advised that stitching over strong adhesive can cause damage to your sewing machine.

Try to position the adhesive so you won't stitch over it. But if you do, clean the needle with an adhesive remover, like Un-du, and a soft cloth.


Q&A: Stitching Circles on Scrapbook Pages

Q. How can I stitch a circle on my scrapbook page without cutting the circle out first?

A. Lightly draw a circle in pencil using a compass, cup, or dinner plate, and then gently erase the line after stitching.


Q. How do you get an even circle when you stitch? Is it a matter of cutting out the shape and then trying to keep an even margin as you go?

A. It's definitely easier to stitch a cutout circle. To get even stitching, you must have a guide to regulate the distance from your needle to the edge of the paper circle. Use your presser foot as your guide.


Q. Is there a size range of circles that are easiest to stitch?

A. The space between the presser foot and the body of your sewing machine determines the size of the project that can be stitched. Most machines can easily accommodate 12" x 12"or smaller projects, because these projects can easily be maneuvered within this space.


Q. Is there a trick for stitching small circles?

A. Smaller circles can prove challenging to maneuver while stitching. For best results, cut out small circles, stitch them, and then adhere them to your layout.


Q. Are large circles, like 12" x 12" circle papers, easier or more difficult to stitch on than small circles?

A. Stitching on a 12" x 12" circle paper is super quick and easy because you have more time to maneuver the piece through the machine before your needle has to change directions.


Faux-Quilting Technique

     For additional machine-stitching techniques, check out our "Faux-Quilting Technique" article on


More Stitching Ideas

If you want more information and ideas for stitching on scrapbook pages, join Club Creating Keepsakes today as a premium member for only $19.95 a year, and you'll receive instant access to the e-version of Scrapbooking Tips & Tricks: Tools & Techniques special issue; look for the "CK Shows You How" article. When you join, you'll also receive a yearly subscription to Scrapbooking Tips & Tricks magazine delivered directly to your door--each issue is packed with great ideas and techniques.

--Lori Fairbanks, Creating Keepsakes editor



sixtyschild wrote re: How to Machine Stitch on Scrapbook Layouts
on Thursday, 21 June 2012, 12:48 PM

very helpful tips here thenk you! I love the Machine stitching looks, but never actually thought to stitch around the cutout then glue it on! good tip for wanting stitched items in the centre of your page where the machine won't reach!

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