Embellished Project Bags with Decorative Stitching

January 11, 2017By Mister DomesticArticles, Sewing 10 Comments Opinion by Paid Consultant

So I decided that I wanted to sew some project bags using vinyl and denim, but I wanted to jazz them up somehow. I didn’t feel like piecing or weaving or anything beyond using a single panel of denim. Then I remembered that Chet, my Brother CS7130 Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine, had a bunch of fancy stitches that I hadn’t used that would be perfection. And my pursuit of creating a jazzy textile for my project bags began.

Machine Used

Brother CS7130 Stitch Computerized Sewing Machine


  • Fabric of choice
  • Contrast thread
  • Fabrics & Thread Used by Moi

    All fabrics are Solid Textured Denim from Art Gallery Fabrics and threads are Cotton 28wt Aurifil.

  • Scarlet Brick – Spun Gold
  • Bluebottle Field – Mustard
  • Canyon Sunset – Very Dark Navy
  • Getting Started with Decorative Stitching

    I had the three colors of denim listed above with each giving me an opportunity to come up with a new design. For all three colors, I decided on a combination of two unique stitches sewn 15 mm apart using a contrast thread. [NOTE: The measurement boxes on the machine near the needle are 5 mm apart, so I used those for 15 mm & 30 mm and then for 45 mm I added a piece of washi tape.] The red was first because I was feeling all festive and chose a gold thread. The machine has these neato leave and branch variations, so I went with the 63/68 combo.

    The next was blue and I went with the traditional yellow/orange top stitch color that you see on most jeans. As I was perusing the various stitches on the panel, I noticed a bunch of squared quilty ones, so I picked 60 and 61 and went for it. Although I didn’t expect it, when it was done it resembled traditional Greek Design Patterns, which I thought was pretty rad.

    The final was the mustard denim and I chose a navy thread because those two colors together are like Bert & Ernie. The final stitches on the panel are these super cool square curly cue things. Choosing 98 and 99, I went full speed ahead and came out with a design that can only be described as A+ awesome.

    Final Thoughts

    And look at what it did to what would otherwise be a basic project bag.

    And like I’ve used these for my project bags, but the application of these stitches are endless and my brain has already begun churning with ideas: pockets, cuffs, variegated thread, quilt binding, sleeves, pillows, different thread colors.

    How Do You Use Decorative Stitching?

    My head is about to explode I’m so excited!!! So basically expect to see a lot more of this in my projects. And I hope to see in some of yours as well! Oooooh. Ooooooh. Also, if you’ve got any ideas on how to use these stitches, share them in the comments so I can steal them…Please and Thank You!

    • Solid Textured Denim is an Art Gallery Fabrics product and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

    • Cotton 28wt Aurifil thread is an Aurifil product and Brother International Corporation makes no representations or warranties regarding such product.

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    • I am in the process of making placemats using the decorative stitches. They give a lovely texture and I will applique a quarter of a dresden plate in one corner of them. I also made a jacket decorating plain black fabric and using the circular attachment stitched arcs using grey and ombre grey threads. Decorative threads are often overlooked because people don’t bother exploring them. Changing length and width as well as the elongation that is possible on some of them is great fun. I’ve also used them for quilting in the past. Hope you have as much fun playing as I have with these stitches

    • Classy and fun. I love this excuse to use decorative stitches and I love that these project bags have a clear side and a side that is lets the project breathe. Nice! Love those denims too!

    • Matthew, I have only had my Brother sewing machine for a few months now and wanted to do some applique. I started playing around with the decorative stitches using my manual for reference. The stitches came out great but they came out on the backside of the fabric! I double checked the settings, the pressure foot, etc. Tried some other decorative stitches with the same results. What should be on the front of the fabric is on the back. What am I doing wrong?

      • Hello Debbie –
        Without seeing this in person, it’s hard for me to give you a proper answer, but I can give you a list of tips.
        • My favorite thread for decorative stitching is the Brother machine embroidery thread. You can use this thread in the needle and the bobbin. The best needle to use for this type of thread is an embroidery needle.
        • Use foot “N” for most decorative stitches. This foot has a groove on the bottom so the foot can freely move over the textured decorative stitches.
        • On firm fabric you can get away without stabilizer but on anything less than denim weight fabric it’s a good idea to use a backing on the wrong side of the fabric. Brother light weight tear away is a good choice when the back side of the fabric will not show. Consider using a water soluble stabilizer if you need all of the backing to disappear.
        • I will often mark one line on the right side of the fabric with a wash out marker and then use the presser foot to evenly space the rest of the rows.
        • Decorative stitches are much prettier in real life than they are in the pictures in the manual. Stitch out a sampler so you’ll have a reference for the future.

        Hoping this will help. For further assistance, our customer service team, located in Tennessee (in the USA!) is wonderful! Click HERE to enter your model number and reach out to customer service if needed.
        Happy stitching!

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