Hand Stitching

Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics,
when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew;
especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts
than while so occupied.
    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Marble Faun, 1859

No doubt to keep me "so occupied" (as Nathaniel Hawthorne put it), my Grandma Black used to let me sew on her kitchen towels. I think I stitched something like "I love you Mommy." I never had the skill my Mom or Grandma had with the needle, but I love the look of embroidery. Just about any embroidery stitch you can do on fabric you can do on paper – how fun is that?!

I made these little goodies for our Catered Crop Recipe Swap with lots of stitching. I did my usual machine stitching around the edges of the card panels, and then I added some embroidery stitches: french knots across the top half of the egg, a closed blanket stitch on the edge of the card's banner, and a blanket stitch along the edge of the lollipop holder.

We're not going to talk about how many stitches I had to rip out to make this (my humble needlework skills are definitely rusty). So, yep, I learned a few things along the way that might spare you a needle prick or two. Just scroll down for my mini tutorial on hand sewing on paper.


These 4.75" by 6.75" Glassine bags from Whisker Graphics make perfect envelopes for the kinds of cards I like to make – big, thick, multi-layer, cards with lots of embellishments.

Tomorrow I'm going to show you some more wonderful things you can do with Glassine bags and Whisker Graphics' Bitty Bags. Meanwhile, I hope you'll grab a needle and some thread and join this week's Recipe Swap challenge – all about stitching. It's not too late to play along (but it will be after Saturday).


I wonder what Grandma would think if she knew I sewed on paper. She'd probably be glad I wasn't using her kitchen towels any more.

As she sew . . . so shall ye rip . . . here are a few of the lessons I've learned and tips for you.

Supplies for Hand Sewing on Paper

  • Embroidery floss. We R Memory Keepers sells embroidery floss for their Sew Easy tool, but honestly, DMC's embroidery floss is luxurious but inexpensive, comes in over 450 colors, and is easy to find in the big craft stores. Depending on how small and close together your stitches are, use just two to three strands of the six-strand thread. (I used two). You can take your paper with you to the store to match your colors. You can also get creative with Divine Twine (baker's twine), glitter floss and variegated floss.
  • A long embroidery needle with a narrow eye. A size 8 needle is a good for embroidery floss.
  • Paper piercer (see below), push pin or T-pin.
  • A mouse pad or foam mat to protect the work surfaces.
  • Sewing guide. There are several options to use as a guide and help you evenly space your holes: the Stampin' Up! Mat Pack, plastic canvas shapes, a clear quilting ruler, or the We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy. Or, create your own pattern on a piece of paper.
  • Cardstock.
  • Tape.

Hand Sewing on Paper

  • Unlike fabric, paper can't be basted without leaving permanent holes, so, if you're sewing through more than one layer, adhere your layers together before you sew. Don't sew through more than three layers at a time.
  • Paper is much less forgiving than fabric – any hole becomes permanent. It's best to pre-plan where your sewing needle will go by using one of the sewing guides listed above.
  • Place your sewing guide on top of the cardstock and place your cardstock on top of your mat, foam or mouse pad to protect your work surface.
  • Punch holes in the paper with your paper piercer or pin using your sewing guide.
  • Thread your needle and start stitching.
  • Pull the threads to the back of the paper at the beginning and end points of your stitching. Adhere the threads to the back of the paper with tape to avoid a bump from a knot.


Darling and masterful paper crafter Kim Teasdale started a fun, new sketch challenge, iSpy Sketches. She's put together an amazing, amazing team of designers. I finally had a chance to play along with Sketch ISSC08. I hope you'll check them out.

I found my vintage clothespins at a flea market, but if you like them, I found you a seller on Etsy. just click on the picture below. Here are the Copic markers, sketch and the rest of the ingredients.


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Sweet Comments

  1. These are so lovely! Thanks for the great tips!


  2. Vickie Z says:

    Fabulous stitching going on here!!! Have done the stitches – On a card… Fabulous!!! Not sure I have the same patience or time!!! Thanks for playing at I Spy!!!

  3. Fun card and gift bags — I adore hand stitching on cards (I can’t sew a straight line otherwise) :) Thanks for joining in with iSpy Sketches~

  4. Wow Linda! What a fantastic gift set and your cards is STUNNING! Thank you so much for playing along with us over at iSpy Sketches! :)


  1. […] With an “egg”cellent card just in time for Easter Linda over at the Catered Crop has a great tutorial for hand stitching on your cards. Hop on over there to check it out. […]

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