Hand-Picked Embellishments

Hand Picked EmbellishmentsHand picking is a beautiful finish along the front edges, collar, cuffs and pockets of a coat or blouse. I have even seen it used on a waistband.

Stitches are 1/2-inch apart on a coat and positioned 1/2-inch from the edge and 1/4-inch apart and 1/4-inch from the edge on a blouse or a waistband.

ThreadsHand picking shows up better if the thread is darker or lighter than the fabric itself. I prefer using thread with a shiny finish on a dull finish fabric and matte thread on a shiny fabric. My favorite threads for this technique are pearl cotton or buttonhole twist thread. Hand picking can be applied to the edge of the garment or on interior seams. When applied to interior seams, I prefer hand picking on both sides of the seam.

On lightweight fabrics use a single thread; on heavier fabrics, use either a single or double thread can be used. After seams have been sewn, pressed open and trimmed if used on an outside edge, begin the hand picking using a hand needle with an eye big enough to accommodate the thicker thread. To prevent the thread from knotting, I like to run the thread through a thread lubricant.

A hand-picked stitch can be a simple backstitch on the right side of the fabric or a running stitch, depending on the effect you want.

  • Start knot on the wrong side of the fabric, beneath the top layer of fabric.
  • A hand-picked stitch comes out on the top of the fabric, goes back into the fabric 2 threads behind where the thread came out, going through both the top and the bottom layer.
  • At no time should you pull your threads too tight.
  • Now move the thread forward between the fabric layers, coming out on the right side of the fabric 1/4- to 1/2 inch from the last stitch.
  • Once the thread is on top of the fabric again, repeat the backstitch of 2 threads and insert your needle back through to the wrong side.
  • Continue forward and repeat the stitch all over again.

HandPickedStitch HandPickedStitching