Create experiences that leave you in awe, for these will be the highlights of your life. ~Ryan Blair

Friday, August 15, 2014

How-to Make a Stitch Bible


Have you....
been wondering how to begin that huge task of stitching out
those decorative stitches to have them available to refer back to;
when making a project that relies heavily on using more stitches?

Problem: When will you have time to get a stitch bible made?
Solution: Why not add only those stitches that you want to try when starting a new project.


I had not made a complete stitch bible before; and really the idea of trying something new, was what got me started. So with quilting entering the "ART" world, it may be time to stretch your creative talents, even further.

"A great time to stitch them out is when we purchase a new sewing machine. This gives us time to explore and experience what all it can do for us. But, many times that just doesn't happen. So we stick with only 2 or 3 familiar stitches which does not allow us to explore all the great features we had liked about that machine."

Therefore, if you haven't done that when your machine was new, why not consider making a stitch bible now. There are many projects available... especially aimed at getting more out of your machine.


Shortly after this sampler was made, my machine jammed and stopped any further progress on my waiting-list of projects. However, after about four weeks, I really had to change this, and couldn't wait any longer for repairs to happen to my machine. (It still is waiting to be looked at; and thus, am glad I found a replacement when I did, so I could continue sewing.)

With a new machine, I got the opportunity to try out ALL the stitches in this stitch bible that I will share with you now. I love the creative process and the designers that have found new ways for all of us to utilize our fancy sewing machines.


In order to have more flexibility, I decided to use a three-ring binder and clear protective sleeves to put my pages in, once they were prepared.

This will allow you to finish the edges of each page with whatever method you desire; once they have been completed. And then, you may continue to use the binder; or create a soft version with grommets to join the pages into a stitch bible. But, as you work on them, they can be contained in a binder, as shown below.

Following the example of a lined loose-leaf sheet of paper, I marked my fabric page with a left (3/4") and right margin (3/4"), and a top margin (1"). After marking the three sections of the page (to separate variations in the stitch length/width); then proceeded with drawing horizontal lines (3/4" to 1" apart) for using as my stitching lines.


Cut one piece of medium to heavy weight fusible interfacing and one plain cotton fabric piece to the same size; then fuse interfacing to wrong side of fabric. (Make as many of these pages as you require.)
My pieces were cut to: 8" x 11". My plan was to use grommets and bind the edges; however, while I was deciding on page size, etc., I decided to use the binder to keep track of my pages.

Using a rotary ruler and Hera marker, it was easy to draw lines on the page for the stitch samples. These guidelines would allow perfect placement on each page.
I first drew a line 3/4" from the edge of the fabric on both sides of the page (left and right margins). This line extended the complete distance from top edge to the bottom edge of the page. 

Since we will use the default settings of each stitch; and perhaps, two variations I marked three sections to help me see when to change my stitch length/width, while sewing. Then, I drew on the horizontal lines on which I would easily be able to add my stitches in a straight and even line along each row.  (These are from 3/4" to 1" apart. Some pages had less row of stitches.)
My markings allowed for a two-inch distance for each of two variations; and a slightly longer distance of 2-1/2" for the default setting.

Once my pages were ready, I proceeded to fill each line with beautiful stitches. Each stitch going on the line that matched its number. With the center mark of the foot on the line, you can easily see how wide it spreads and this can be helpful when deciding if a stitch will fit on a specific project.
I kept track of my number count, and added them after the page was done; however, if you only have time to make a few stitches at a sitting, write the numbers on each page; and then you can enter any decorative stitch at the proper location, no matter how many or few stitches you have made on the page previously. (I stitched from 1 to 201.)

Once my pages were done, I paired them together to serge the edges. I had not used my serger in quite some time; and wanted to liberate the machine from its confinement, in its box. (If binding the edges with a satin cord, use a heavy-weight interfacing.)

Finished pages are placed into the clear, page protectors and added to the binder. My machine manual is placed in the back pocket of the binder. There is a clear pocket on the front of the binder to place a cover page. (I can't show you because it isn't there yet.)

I have used it many times, already; to check out what stitches might fit a special location on an applique or quilt block. Now that I finally have a working machine, proper cording foot, and the satin cord, I really want to get to making my next project using my stitch bible. (So many cool projects to try, just need to clear my work table and get started...)


My Color Coded Pages:
  1. Brown: Utility Stitches
  2. Orange: Quilt Stitches
  3. Purple: Needle-Art Stitches
  4. Green: Satin Stitches
  5. Peach: Decorative Stitches
  6. Yellow: Characters (lettering)
  7. Pink: Sewing techniques 

  • Left margin: This margin gives adequate spacing if adding grommets, later.
  • Right margin: This margin allows marked lines to be numbered before stitching is added. (Allowing you to add stitches in the correct order; without having to complete every line, at the same sitting.)
  • Spacing of lines: This distance is adequate for adding the name of the decorative stitch above the stitched row, if desired.
  • The size of the page will fit into a clear page protector, as it fits an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper.
  • The distance of my lines were dependent upon the number of stitches I wanted to fit on each page; as I had planned to use a different fabric color for each grouping of stitches. (ie. brown: utility stitches)

Go on now... you can make one too!

FOR AN AWESOME PROJECT that teaches you how to make a very functional stitch bible with grommets and a cord binding edge, and utilize all those decorative stitches, visit HERE.

I am enrolled in this class, and am enjoying the potential that the teaching has provided. 


  1. This turned out very nice. I should make one. Thanks for your ideas and measurements on the one you made.

    1. Thank you. Yes, you should make one, it is a really fun experience.

  2. That looks awesome! Good job!

    1. Thank you. It was really enjoyable to stitch them all out.