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Sewing on Paper-Tips and Ideas

Updated on November 7, 2021
linfcor profile image

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

Sewing on scrapbook pages add interest and detail to your pages
Sewing on scrapbook pages add interest and detail to your pages | Source

One of the great things about paper crafting is that we get to have so much fun with all kinds of different techniques. One of my absolute favorite is sewing on paper. You can get so creative sewing on your greeting cards, scrapbook pages, journals and a lot more. Who would have thought that sewing and paper crafting could be so much fun?

You can do your sewing on paper either by hand or on a machine. Of course sewing on paper with a machine might be a faster way to go, I enjoy the fun of sewing by hand too. It makes me feel creative. I enjoy the process either way,

What kind of projects or techniques can you do? Creative stitching on paper can be done to:

Scrapbook pages-do outlines, sew on writing, create a border, stitch on journal cards, create a pocket, add fabric, attach vellum

Greeting cards- do hand embroidery, outlines and edges, add fabric, attach vellum

Journal pages-Create journals lines to write on, add fabric

Gift tags-do decorative outlining

Place cards-add decorative stitching,

Invitations- create a decorative outline

Paper is a little less forgiving to sew on compared to fabric. Once you commit to making holes on paper, there is no going back, so you need to plan your project ahead.

One of the things that is often done, is to stitch ribbon, rick rack or trims on your paper projects. This secures the ribbon to the paper. This kind of sewing is best done on a sewing machine. You could use a straight stitch or a decorative stitch.

If you are using a sewing machine to make your stitches, mark that top of that needle you are using with some bright nail polish. Once you use that needle for a paper project, you need to set it aside.

Always use brightly colored threads so that your paper sewing will stand out

Hand Sewing On Paper

Yes, you can just use a needle and thread to hand sew on your paper. There are just a few things to consider, First, you will want to use a very sharp needle. Second, you will want to use thick paper to finish your project.

  1. Find a pattern on the internet or some other source.
  2. Print the pattern on your computer.
  3. Use a mat , magazine or a piece of cardboard under the paper that you are going to pierce.
  4. Lay the pattern over the paper and secure it with low tack tape or washi tape.
  5. Use a bulletin board pin or some other tools to make the holes along your pattern. Space your holes evenly and not too close.
  6. Remove the pattern and hand sew your stitches.

Use the right needle. Hand sewing needles are numbered. The smaller the number, the larger the needle. With smaller needles, you can make smaller stitches.

Sew Easy Hand Sewing System-Hand Stitching

So, when I found the Sew Easy, I was really excited with this tool. The system is uses a rotary paper piercer that places the holes in the exact spacing to make it easy for you to do hand sewing on cardstock paper. It is meant only to be used on paper-not on fabric !

The heads are interchangeable. This means that I can do many different types of paper stitching with just a change of the head. There are 15 interchangeable heads, with all kinds of combinations of stitches. The tool makes it easy to change stitching patterns in seconds, so you can use multiple patterns on a single project.You can use floss, very thin ribbon, twine or heavy thread to complete your pattern.

I love this kit because it is an complete with everything you need to get started. You get the tool itself as well as 4 interchangeable heads. You get some floss as well as the cutting mat itself. The only additional tool that you will need is a blunt sewing needle, which most of us have in our sewing baskets, or you can use the needles made for this system.

I use it on scrapbook pages ! It can be used with titles, around pictures and on journal cards. It can be used as a border in your layouts.

In greeting cards, you can use the stitching pattern anywhere in your design. Think card edges or ways to highlight features on your designs.

In paper crafts, your choices are endless. Think about banners, in home decor, wedding decor, birthday dacor and more.

How does it work?

The tool for the Sew Easy system creates perfectly aligned holes that you can use to create a pattern stitch on your scrapbook pages, cards and paper projects.

While you can do straight stitches, you can also make all kinds of patterns on your paper.

There are two basic pieces of the sew easy system- the piercing head and the holder or handle for the piercing head.

The piercing head comes in many stitch patterns. Each head shows the pattern on the head and has a specific color for that stitch.

The handle and one head is usually sold as a unit. There are many additional heads that can be purchased. Each of the heads pierce the paper with a specific pattern or stitch. Floss is then used with a needle to follow the pattern and create the pattern..

The uses of this tool are endless !

  • Create frame around any part of a scrapbook page or greeting card.
  • Create an outline on a tag
  • Use to to make a patterned paper pop even more
  • Add dimension to elements

Adjust the stitch length to about 3mm-4mm (3-4 on your sewing machine) to avoid the possibility of the paper tearing. Rows of short stitches can easily turn into perforation lines which will weaken the paper and make it more prone to tearing and ripping.

Sew Easy Stitches

These are all the stitches available in the Sew Easy System
These are all the stitches available in the Sew Easy System

Mark your sewing machine needle with a bit of nail polish so that you know which needle is set aside for your paper projects

Paper embroidery is an art form in and of itself. You can use stitches to create unlimited art creations
Paper embroidery is an art form in and of itself. You can use stitches to create unlimited art creations | Source

Paper Embroidery-Ideas And Tips

Paper Embroidery is simply embroidery done on on paper. Think about string art.

There are an unlimited amount of designs that you can use all across the internet. All you have to do is to type, "paper embroidery patterns" or "free paper embroidery patterns" to find many free patterns to use.

You can also use images from coloring books.You can also print images from the design files on your electronic cutting machines .

Use a piece of cardboard behind your project while you are piercing so that the paper has less chance of ripping.

How To Do Paper Embroidering

  • You draw a design in pencil on card stock. It design is drawn on the back of the paper.
  • An alternative to drawing a design, you can print a design on your printer on cards stock.
  • You use a pin to prick holes in the design where you want to sew. Use a pin with a big head so that you can hold it. You want a sewing needle that will make holes that are not too big. You can place a small cork on the head of the needle so that it is easier to hold.
  • You can use plain sewing thread, embroidery floss or synthetic sewing thread which has a nice sheen to it, cotton thread does not.
  • Place the tail of the thread in the back of the project and tape it to secure it.
  • Then start sewing.Once you run out of thread you can tie a know and start the next thread either with a knot or tape it down again.

Paper Embroidery Tips

  • Keep your stitches even. Try not to stretch your thread, The tension may cause rips in your paper
  • Make sure to have enough thread to finish the line and tie the ends.
  • Do not tie the thread too tightly. Again, it will cause the thread to pull too tightly and may cause rips.

Use a random french knot on a Christmas card background to show snow flakes on your card

You can secure any left over tails of thread on the under side of your project with a piece of tape or with a glue stick once the project is complete

Sewing On Paper With A Sewing Machine-The Basics

Paper Sewing With Sewing Machines - Tips And Ideas For Machine Sewing On Paper

Using the fancy stitches on your sewing machines is a perfect way to create cards and scrapbook pages on paper. One of the things you need to think about is the needle. First, determine what thread will be used – thick or thin – then match the needle to the thread. It is recommended to use a sharp needle such as a Jeans, Topstitch, or Microtex needle to achieve a nice hole through the paper.

  • Generally, use a small sharp needle-like size 9 when sewing on paper
  • Use longer stitches and loosen your tension when sewing on paper. You are more apt to rip the paper with shorter stitches
  • Don't anchor or knot ends of your sewing. Simply tape them down. Tape them down on the backside of your paper.
  • Always keep one needle aside to sew on paper. Sewing on paper may dull your needles. Be sure to keep your fabric needles separate from the ones you use on paper.
  • Never use double-sided tapes or glue where you are going to sew on paper. You will get all kinds of gummy stuff that may cause problems with your machine,
  • Try metallic thread for a different look
  • When sewing on paper, the needle tends to push the paper through to the underside which leaves it looking a bit messy, You can make the rough-edged holes a little flatter by running a bone folder over them. This will flatten them a bit. It also helps to lock the stitches in place if your tension is a bit lo loose

  • When locking the stitches at the end of a row, I often simply pull the thread through to the upperside, tie in a knot and cut away the excess thread leaving a thread tail. I like that it adds a bit of visual texture.
  • For times when I don’t want a thread tail showing, I’ll simply pull the thread through to the underside and secure it with a glue stick
  • If you are in the need of securing the paper in place before stitching, consider using a dab of glue to hold the layers together.
  • Use a good weight paper to stitch on paper. A good weight cardstock, 80 lbs or above as well as construction paper will work. Experiment to see what paper works best for you.
  • Stitching from the right side of the paper will give the best results.

Positioning fabric and lace scraps on top of a paper backing for either hand sewing or machine sewing can be challenging because you can’t really use pins without either bending and creasing the paper or leaving holes in it. I like to position my fabrics using my favorite gluestick to hold the pieces in position while I sew. If you let the glue dry before sewing, you shouldn’t have any problems with the glue gumming up your needle.

Use a bone folder to flatten the underside of the paper where you have pierced. This will flatten the holes.

More Sewing On Paper Information

Generally use heavier cardstock or paper over lighter paper, especially when you are getting started

Adding Fabric To Your Paper And Paper Craft Projects

Another way to sew on paper is to add fabric to your projects. This is a great use of any fabric scraps you might have around. Think of fabric like printed paper. Fabric comes in an infinite color and pattern choices. The best fabric patterns to use would be those with small patterns. Think of fabric like quilting square bundles.

You can either sew fabric on paper with either a sewing machine or by hand. Of course the sewing machine is a little easier to use.

  • You will want to use the zig zag stitch ans the straight stitch as your go to stitch for this type of sewing. But feel free to experiment with other decorative stitches.
  • Use a glue stitch to adhere your fabric to the paper. Makes it easier. But avoid any glue where you are going to stitch.
  • Use pinking shears where you do not want the fabric to fray. The frayed look is a nice touch too.

Make a fabric banner for a card or a scrapbook page. Just cut triangles and sew them in a banner style with a straight stitch along the top

Make a fabric mat Cut fabric in squares or rectangles of different sizes.Stitch around the edges. This idea is perfect for cards and scrapbook pages.


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