Tips and Tricks: Sewing on Cards

Hi. My name is Britta, and I love to sew on my cards. Now, I know it’s an individual type of deal. I find it therapeutic to sit there and stitch away on paper while I watch a t.v. show or two. Since you make the holes all at once, all you have to do is follow the pattern to finish things up. While this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, it’s always a nice tool and embellishment to have in your crafty arsenal. So welcome to a Tips and Tricks post about all things about sewing on cards.


First, here are the supplies I love to make the designs on my projects. My all-time go-to products are my Tim Holtz Craft Pick by Tonic, the Tim Holtz Design Ruler and the We R Memory Keepers Piercing mat. I use these items on almost every project I do and highly, highly recommend them. The others are fun – the Sew Easy (with the Scallop piercing head and the Hearts piercing head) and the Weave Sew Ribbon tool. I show you how to use these below.

Then, we have the actual sewing supplies. Below are my favorite needles, some links to DMC 6 Strand thread (I’ve been accruing a collection since my friendship bracelet-making days. Haha!) and my favorite scissors. Also, I’m in love with the Sew Ribbon by We R Memory Keepers, but I really love that the Hero Hues ribbons fit perfectly in the Sew Ribbon holes.

Technique 1 – Sew Easy

First, pick out your chosen design head. Here, I’m using the Hearts piercing head – one of my favorites. Then, place your paper of choice on top of a soft, spongey surface. An old mousepad works just fine, but I really like having the large, structured surface of the Sew Easy Piercing Mat. Then, use a ruler to make sure your roller goes straight and press the wheel across the paper.

When you use thick cardstock, the plastic pegs aren’t going to punch all the way through the paper. That’s okay! It leaves you the perfect guidelines to simply go along with a craft pick.

Then, choose your thread thickness. Since embroidery floss consists of 6 strands, you can choose how thick you’d like your stitched design to be. See further down in this post for a comparison of thicknesses.

Next, pull the thread apart carefully. I wanted 4 strands for my card, so I pulled the other two away.

Thread your needle and begin to sew. The simple in-out-in-out method works here. Don’t worry about how the back looks – you’ll be adhering that down anyways! Over time, you’ll learn more about where to start stitching to save the most thread. For now, just worry about how the front looks. :)

Here’s a look at the finished card. I just love making stitching the focal points of cards! It always looks so clean but still handmade. All the sentiments I use in this post are from the fabulous Hero Arts Year Round Sentiments Set.

Technique 2 – Sew Ribbon

Here’s another easy one that just requires a fun little tool called the Sew Ribbon (here, I’m using the Weave pattern). Use the ruler markings on the tool and a grid mat to help you attach the magnetic template on straight. (There are top and bottom places to the templatethat automatically snap into place.) Then, use the punching tool to punch the holes. I fold a piece of washi tape over the sharp edges of the tool when I store it just so there aren’t any unwanted pokes when I reach in my sewing drawer.

After you have your holes punched, simply attach the ribbon “needle” (a strong piece of plastic with repositionable adhesive on it – these needles last for several uses before they lose their stick) to your ribbon of choice and sew away. Again, the in-out-in-out pattern is super easy to follow here.

Here’s the finished product. Isn’t that cute?!

Technique 3 – Changing the Thread Width

I want to show you the huge visual effect of changing how many strands of floss you use makes by doing a fun gradient. I start by using my ruler-turned-best-friend to punch 6 rows of 1/8″ holes across my card front. This sounds like it would take forever and require lots of math… but it doesn’t! You just line the ruler up and punch away. The clear ruler makes life SO much easier, and the piercing holes are perfectly spaced every time. Ya hear me? I love this ruler.

Then break up your thread and sew away. You can see the differences of the thread here.

Here’s the finished sewing. I love this gradient effect, but it’s also a handy little tool to look at next time I’m debating over how many strands to use. Ha!

Here’s the finished card. Changing the thread up makes a huge impact!

Technique 4 – Straight versus Running Stitch

This is something I don’t usually differenciate, but I use these two stitches all the time. The “straight” stitch is the simple in-out-in-out, while the “running” stitch is in-out-in-out and then going in the reverse direction to “fill in” the other stitches. This results in the front looking the same as the back in both cases.

Here’s an example. You start out both stitches in the same way – with holes evenly spaced.

Then I stitched all the way around the outside and then all the way around the inside rectangle. By going back and filling in the alternating stitches on the inside rectangle, this creates an awesome, bold line. I usually choose between the two simply as a stylistic decision.

I finished off the card with a simple stamped sentiment and two hearts (also from the Year Round Sentiments stamp set). I love the look of mixing up the straight and running stitches here. You can see that they both create very separate but fun looks.

Here’s a look at the finished card. This one just might be my favorite. :)

Here’s the full list of supplies for all of the cards above. I decided one set of links for the cards would be easier to navigate than one at the end of each technique. If you have any questions on what I used where, please feel free to ask!

I hope this inspires you to break out the needle and thread this week. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that it’s your new favorite crafty therapy. ;) Thanks so much for stopping by today! My weekend was full-on crazy. It was nice to have a full house once again – just like when school was still in session but without the homework. Those guys were a ton of fun. The highlight of the weekend was the amazing Brewers v. Twins game on Saturday. Target field is one of my favorite stadiums, and the Brewers are one of my favorite teams. The weather was just clear enough for us, and I got to stare at Ryan Braun for a little while… *ehem* Haha! Here’s a picture from Saturday:

And then there’s Jake + me waiting for the guys to arrive on Friday night. This is just… happy. I’m happy. <3

See you tomorrow. :)



Filed under Cardmaking, Tutorials

9 Responses to Tips and Tricks: Sewing on Cards

  1. What a great post! Thank you so much for all the tips and tricks!

  2. Wow, for the sewing challenged gal I could actually do some of these ideas.

  3. Barb Ghigliotty

    Hi Britta,
    Thanks so much for this in-depth tutorial on stitching! You’re the BEST!!!

  4. I like the look of that card that goes from one strand to six strands. Also, I have a lot of DMC floss left over from friendship bracelet making too. :)

  5. Penny Laschanzky

    thanks for the great tutorial! I’m NOT a person who can sew, even with taking classes several times in my life, but you have inspired me and I know I could do these kinds of stitches given your demo and the great tools you use. Thanks for inspiring me to go in a direction I never would have on my own! (PS: my favorite is the one with a continuous stitch on the inside and a regular one on the outside)

  6. wonderful tutorial, Britta! love the texture from the stitching!

  7. Pingback: Lawnscaping #38 – Inspiration Photo! | Britta Swiderski Creative

  8. Kim

    Thank you for the great post. I’ve been wanting to sew on my scrapbook layouts for the longest time. I even bought all the We R Memory Keepers Sewing stuff (never used). I’m definitely going to use them now!! Thanks again!

  9. Pingback: Machine Sewing and Hand Stitching on Your Paper Crafts

Leave a Reply to Shirley K. Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *