Decorative upside down stitching tutorial.

Decorative upside down stitching on the Mary dress pocket.

This is a fun technique to try. In this tutorial I am showing this upside down stitching technique on the pocket of the Mary dress. I have included the pattern for this design if you wanted to use the same design on a Mary dress or style with a similar size pocket.

You could have lots of fun with this, playing around with different threads and trying different designs. I think it works especially well for patch pocket embellishment.

Materials and supplies:

Crochet thread or fine embroidery thread such as Perle 8 – I used a variegated rainbow thread I found among my collection of threads.

Interfacing (depending on the fabric you are using) – I didn’t use any interfacing for these pockets as I used yellow denim  which is fairly sturdy. If your fabric is a lighter weight you could use a fusible interfacing to give the fabric enough body to sew without distorting the fabric or a stitch and tear interfacing if you want to maintain the lighter nature of your fabric once the stitching is finished.

Dressmakers carbon paper. 



You can download the pattern for this upside down stitching design Mary dress pocket here, click the links below:

Shooting star mary pocket design.

Shooting star mary pocket design-mirrored.

How to make:

  1. Print and cut out the pocket pattern, place on the wrong side of the fabric. Draw around the edge of the pocket or shape with chalk or a fabric marker.  

2. Place dressmakers or general carbon paper under your design. As you are working on the back of the fabric it won’t matter so much if the marks are permanent. You could draw your own design or design freehand. If you are using this pattern, line the pocket piece up with the chalk line and using a blunt pencil or something similar (just nothing to sharp that will cut through the paper) trace the design.

3. When you lift the design and carbon paper off check the design and the pocket or shape outline is easy to see. 

4. Wind the decorative thread onto the bobbin by hand, wind until the bobbin is just over halfway full, if its to full it tends to jam and make a mess. Thread your machine with standard polyester thread on top. Choose a colour of thread that works with your project as you will see the top thread. It could be a deliberate contrast or a colour that blends. This thread will have the appearance of couching on the right side. Before starting test the stitch out on a scrap of the same fabric. You may want to increase the stitch length a little bit and the tension might also need adjusting.

Once you are happy with the stitch sew the design. For this design I started at one end of the lines on the outside of the pocket, stitching around the design with the least amount of stops. When you stop don’t back stitch, just leave a decent length of thread so you can thread up a needle and discreetly stitch a couple of stitches by hand to secure the stitching.

5. Cut the pockets out and continue to make following the instructions in the pattern.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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