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How to Satin Stitch Pinstripes

To make a long story short, I couldn’t find fabric with pinstripes in the colors I wanted. After experimenting, I figured out this way of making pinstripes using satin stitching. It’s easy to do, but it is very time consuming.

(By the way, I also posted this tutorial on my Tumblr.)

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Fabric* and sewing pattern
  • Chalk or fabric marker
  • Ruler
  • Optional: Yard stick
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread in the desired pinstripe color**
  • Knowledge of how to stain stitch***

* The fabric is whatever type of fabric you choose as long as it can be satin stitched and not fall apart.

**The thread can be normal all purpose thread or machine embroidery thread. It depends on what you want the pinstripes to look like, how thick the fabric is, if your sewing machine is picky about what thread you use, ect. For this tutorial, I used machine embroidery thread. Also, you will need a lot of thread. The spool I used was 1500 yards and I used quite a bit of it while pin striping my fabric. So, keep in mind the bigger the project, the more thread you’ll go through.

***Satin stitching is when you sew stitches side by side. In this case, you’ll be using your sewing machine and will need to use the zig zag setting.

Ok! Let’s get started!

Step 1: Cut out what you want to make using the fabric and pattern of your choice.  Do not assemble your project yet. If your project requires interfacing, do not add it until the pinstripes are done.

Step 2: Decide how large the spaces between the stripes should be. Once you do, use the ruler and chalk/fabric marker to mark the spaces on the fabric. The stripes can be as close or in any direction you want them. It’s your project so you can make the stripes go anyway you’d like them to.

Step 3: Make stripes using the chalk/fabric marker. To make the lines straight, use a ruler and a yard stick if necessary.

Once that is done, it should look like this…


Tip: The way you would cut “one way design” fabric like pinstripes is different than fabric that is not a one way design fabric. If you are unsure of the direction the lines are going on the fabric, draw the lines onto the fabric and pin the project together to see if the lines look the way you want them to look before continuing to step 4.

Step 4: Satin stitch over each line drawn on the fabric. Make sure the satin stitching is over the lines you drew on the fabric. It should look something like this while you’re sewing…034a

Tip: Although you are sewing in a straight line, if you are new to satin stitching I recommend you practice sewing and following a straight line on a scrap piece of fabric, preferably using the same fabric and thread you’re using for your project. Even if you’ve satin stitched before, I recommend practicing anyway. Especially if you’re using machine embroidery thread. That way you can adjust the tension of the thread before beginning your project.

Another Tip: The bobbin color can be whatever you choose. It can be the same color as the fabric or the same thread you’re using for the satin stitch. It just depends on what you want your pinstripe to look like.

Yet Another Tip: When you satin stitch, you’ll go through a lot of bobbin thread. If you can, I recommend making two or three bobbins at a time before starting to satin stitch. That way, if your bobbin runs out of thread, you just need to pop another one in. It makes the work go a lot faster.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 as many times as you’d like. What you’re aiming for is a stripe of solid color and one pass isn’t enough. Do it over at least twice. Here is a photo of the difference between the amount of times you stitch…028b

Although you can’t see much difference between two passes and three passes, I wanted to make sure that I had a solid, gold stripe without any black showing. So, I did three passes just in case.

Step 6: Repeat steps 2 through 5 on all parts of your project, or all the parts you want the pinstripes on. For my project, I was making a bolero jacket and I wanted not just the jacket, but the sleeves to be pinstriped as well. So, I repeated steps 2 through 5 until everything was striped the way I wanted it to be.

Step 6: Congratulations! You’ve pinstriped your project! Here is what a completed section of my bolero jacket looked like after I pinstriped it…


Step 7: Assemble the project like you normally would. For my jacket, that would mean adding interfacing to the jacket, sew the jacket together, and line it.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. I do read all the comments, even if I don’t respond.

Happy Sewing!

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