Make decorative edge stitches by hand (8 types)

Different ways to hand sew decorative edges on fabric without crocheting or using special needles.

decorative edges

I have always admired the beautiful edges on some exquisite scarves and table clothes and sleeve hems and wondered whether they were made by machine or whether I will need to learn crochet or something complicated to master this -I thought I could never ever learn them!.

But learn them I did and found it to be quite easy. And here they are, for you to learn as well. When you do some of these stitches on edges it will look as if you labored 30 days 24*7 to make them this beautiful, without doing so.

If impressing others with your stitching skills is anywhere on your mind – just add one of these edges!

Hand sewn Decorative Edge stitches

1. Overcast stitch

Let me start with the simplest edge stitch of all – the overcast stitch.

overcast stitches make good edge decorative stitches on scarves

It is quite easy to sew this by sewing machine – you just need the hemmer foot – Here is the post explaining how to use the hemmer foot to sew this by machine .

To make this stitch by hand sewing, you need to first roll the fabric edges very carefully by hand – if the fabric is not pliable enough, use some wetness ( just dip your hands in some water) and roll the edges as you make the stitch.

fold the fabric and make the over cast stitches evenly and carefully

Hide your knots inside the folds but if you do not want to make the knot at all, check out this post on starting the stitching with an alternative to knots.

Make long slanting stitches on the edges catching both sides.

decorative hand sewing edges -make slanting stitches along the folded edge

Come back and make slanting stitches in the opposite direction making an x.

decorative hand sewing edges -come back and cross the slanting stitches

On the good side, the stitches should look even and neat.

2. Blanket stitch

blanket stitches

Another pretty simple stitch – this is the most commonly used decorative edge stitch. Check out this post Blanket stitch for 10 more variations of this stitch as well as how to stitch the simple blanket stitch.

3. Buttonhole stitch

hand sew buttonhole stitches along the edges for decorative edges

This is a knotty blanket stitch – ie as you do the blanket stitch, you make a simple knot – though the knot is simple, the resultant edge looks very attractive and not so simple.

In this stitch, as you make the blanket stitch you make a loop by bringing the thread around the needle in an anticlockwise direction.

Make bkanket stitch and then twist thread around the needle to make the buttonhole stitch

Pull up the stitch to tighten it.

Make more of the same.

pull the needle and tighten the stitch; make more buttonhole stitches

4. Buttonhole stitch with bugle beads

decorative edge stitching with beads over blanket stitches - diy tutorial

This combines beads with the buttonhole stitched edge. After the edge stitching is done with enough space for a single bugle bead in between, use a beading needle to insert the bugle beads in between the space of the stitches.

beads are added after the blanket stitch edge is made
After the blanket stitches are done, thread the beads along the edge of the stitch

Related posts : Stitching tips -Beading embroidery basics.

5. Knotty edging stitch

decorative edge stitching with knots - basics by hand sewing

This is a very attractive edge stitching with the loop making a bead like border.

You start with a buttonhole edge but instead of the single loop you will be making, on the same place, more loops so that a knot is formed which looks like a bead.

Make a buttonhole loop stitch.

make decorative edging with buttonhole stitch first
making a buttonhole stitch edge

Now come up with the needle through the middle of the stitch.

The needle is inserted through the buttonhole stitch and then thread is twisted through the needle several times to make the knot

Twist the thread over the needle in the anti clockwise direction three times as in the picture below.

decorative edge knotted stitches -several twists are made on the needle

Pull up tight.

pull the stitch tight after taking out of the needle - this make a very pretty knotted decorative edge stitches

A cute little bead is formed. Continue making these stitches.

If you make one more single loop in the same place the bead will be a little more bigger. This is optional.

making decorative edges for scarves

6. Loop stitch with beads

decorative edge stitches with beads along edges of scarves or necklines

Here, after every stitch (the double loop stitch No. 5) , a bead is inserted – you will be inserting the bead along with the edge stitching ( Not later)

sew beaded decorative edge stitching - thread the needle with the bead in between

You will be making the same loops you made earlier – insert the needle between the stitch and the bead .

Twist thread around the needle

7. Scalloped edge stitching

decorative edge stitching with scallopes

In this stitch, after the edge stitching with buttonhole stitch is done, you will be making scalloped edges over it made with cast on stitches.

After the edge stitching is finished make loose loops. 

make loops along the edge after making knotted stitch

Make cast on stitches over the loops.

make blanket stitches over the loops
continue making loops or blanket stitches along the thread loops
The loops over the loops you have made will create a scalloped edge effect

8. Beads and cast-on stitch

Add beads in between the scalloped stitches

Here beads are added along with the scallop.

First, the edge stitching is done; then the bead is inserted.

The beads are inserted between the thread loops

You have to secure the bead from both sides. Insert the needle through the bead from the other side as well.

sew decorative edging stitches

Then the cast on stitches are made along the loop made when you inserted the bead.

Make loops over the thread loops made along the beads

The cast on stitches are made over the bead so that it looks like a true scallop.

The scallops are formed as a result of the stitches made along the loops

Related posts: How to make scalloped edges; Fabric edge finishes – 16 easy ways.; How to finish the edges of silk scarves

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Make decorative edge stitches by hand (8 types)”

  1. Thanks, I will have to come back and see if I can print out some of these suggestions. I work in silk and would love to be able to handroll the edges neatly.

    • Hi Patricia
      Do you make silk scarves? Be careful if you want to wet the edges to roll them, lest there are water spots.

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