10 trouble-free tips for embellishing fabric (+ giveaway!)

Posted by on June 4, 2012, in quilting & sewing,

Today we’re thrilled to be a part of a special blog tour for Cheryl Lynch’s latest book, Sew Embellished! Packed with fun ideas for embellishing fabric, Cheryl’s book includes eight step-by-step projects, plus a beautiful gallery of additional projects to get your creativity going. In Sew Embellished! you’ll discover how to:

Learn clever ways to add words for uniquely personal projects.

Express yourself with charms, buttons, beads, trims, sequins, rickrack, and more.

Create a focus using photos, embroidery, appliqué, novelty quilt fabrics, or found objects.

I asked Cheryl for her top 10 textile-embellishment tips, and she did not disappoint! I’m putting tip #2, #5, and #7 in my back pocket for future reference. But tip #8? I’m introducing that one to my household today.

(By the way—did you know that if you purchase a copy of Cheryl’s book at our website, you instantly get a copy of the eBook for FREE? It’s true!)

Tell us your tips, Cheryl!

Cheryl’s Top 10 Tips for Embellishing Fabric

1.  If you’re using beading thread for attaching beads, stretch it a few times between your hands before use to keep it from stretching after you’ve attached your beads.

2.  To use up every last bit of that expensive fabric that’s been specially treated for inkjet printing, use a bit of spray adhesive to attach scraps of it to computer paper. Then send it through your printer.

3.  If you have attached buttons with a knot on the top of your project, use a drop of Fray Check to keep the knot from coming undone.

4.  To attach beads to your quilt, use milliner’s or straw needles.

5.  To make writing on fabric easier, iron a piece of freezer paper to the back of the fabric before writing.

6.  Use an Epson printer with Durabrite ink to print permanently on any fabric.

7.  If you’re having trouble removing paper-backed fusible web from fabric, score it with a pin and then “crack” it open.

8.  Cover your ironing board with parchment paper to protect your ironing-board cover.

9.  Frequent the aisles of your hardware store for interesting embellishments, like washers.

10.  Save all broken costume jewelry. You never know when you’ll need a vintage bead or brooch for your next quilt project!

Thanks for the great tips, Cheryl—and for inviting us to be on your tour! Now, onto the giveaway…

Share your favorite embellishment tip in the comments (organizing, stitching, finding, and the like) and you could win a copy of the Sew Embellished! eBook. We’ll choose a winner one week from today and let you know by email if you’ve won. (You can also purchase the book here, and if you do, you can download the eBook for free right away.) Good luck!

Comments are closed for this post.

Thanks to all who entered the drawing to win the Sew Embellished! eBook. The randomly chosen winner is Patricia, who said:

“I love to use plain muslin and linen to create pieced embellishments, especially using hand stitching. There is something special about how hand stitching adds depth that a machine cannot.  It is rustic and the simplest running stitch can create so much texture. Texture is the magic word for me when embellishing.”

Patricia, we’ll email you a special coupon code for your free eBook. Congratulations!

Follow Cheryl’s blog tour each week through July 16th—enter to win a copy of Sew Embellished! at every stop on the tour.

April 30: Cheryl Lynch Quilts
May 7: Pinkadot Quilts
May 14: Beaquilter
May 21: Michigoose’s Gander at Quilts and Life
May 28: Marga’s Crafts
June 11: Fiberwork by Debbie
June 18: Sooner or Later
June 25: Art with a Needle
July 5: SewCalGal
July 9: Connections by Karen S Musgrave
July 16: Muppin.com


  • I am constantly reorganizing embellishments. One time by color, one time by size, and then the next time maybe by type. You wouldn’t think that was very helpful but because I do that, I am familiar with what is in my embellishment stash, even if I can’t remember where I "filed" that particular piece!

    Michelle Harrison on June 4, 2012
  • I love adding buttons to things. It’s not hard and it’s a nice touch! Thanks for the giveaway!

    —LauraH on June 4, 2012
  • I love the structure emballishemnts adds.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    —Anne Rita on June 4, 2012
  • I am not as creative as I would love to be, but what great tips and ideas to explore with my projects in working out the plain jane….

    Judith, Texas on June 4, 2012
  • One of my favorite embellishments are those cute little decorative "brads" they use in scrapbooking. Just cut a small slit insert and done! Easy peasy.

    I second the author’s #4 tip. the milliner’s needle works great!

    Jean on June 4, 2012
  • I’m a button fiend and I find them everywhere! charity shops and local auctions are good sources!
    I’d love to win a copy of Cheryl’s book!

    —Gill on June 4, 2012
  • I love to embellish with rick rack and buttons. Some of my favorite things.

    Carrie P. on June 4, 2012
  • I love embellishing with beads and embroidery! I save everything – broken jewellry, scraps of yarn … Thank you for the giveaway!

    —Paula on June 4, 2012
  • I haven’t done a lot of embellishing but am collecting beads, buttons, etc. for future projects. Would love to win "Sew Embellished".

    —Nancy B on June 4, 2012
  • my favorite way to embellish is to embroider something on fabrics. thanks!

    —Lee on June 4, 2012
  • I love using beads and fancy threads, ribbons and cording. they really jazz up a piece.

    —Bonnie L on June 4, 2012
  • Cheryl’s book looks wonderful. Thanks for a great giveaway! 🙂

    Kathleen B on June 4, 2012
  • I am loving using beads. I had a bunch from when I did counted cross stich and now I use them on my quilt!

    —Mary Ann Harpe on June 4, 2012
  • I save beads, buttons, jewelry pieces, laces, you name it. There are times I think I could open my own craft store. Love embellishing and the items shown are so cute. Would love to win the book to get more ideas.

    —Connie on June 4, 2012
  • I love making ribbon flowers and tacking them down with a button in the center; so cute 🙂

    —Joan Rodriguez on June 4, 2012
  • I like to use yoyos to form flowers, with machine stitched stems and leaves.

    —Elizabeth McDonald on June 4, 2012
  • I have no tips at all, but I sure like decorating my Bunny Hill Snowbound blocks. I just finished the last one and now have to do the other blocks.

    BillieBee on June 4, 2012
  • Couching is a faster and easier way of attaching lines of beads than sewing them on individually.

    —Diann Cornell on June 4, 2012
  • I like the tips shown above especially on saving the scraps of computer fabric and reusing the bits. I hate to toss expensive product. Also using freezer paper ironed onto the back of fabric to write on the fabric with pens. very good ideas.

    —Sue Duisenberg on June 4, 2012
  • I really haven’t done much embellishing so I don’t really have a tip…but I loved her tips especially 1,2,and 8. I’d love to win a copy of her book. Thanks.

    —Margaret M on June 4, 2012
  • I use as much parchment paper in my studio as freezer paper. When I’m using fusible web for a project, I keep several pieces on my ironing board, but one is folded and I slip the fabric-fusible or fabric-fusible-fabric sandwich between the folds to press. Keeps the extra fusible material off the iron AND the ironing board. Any extra sticks to the paper and can be scraped off with your fingernail when cool, and start the process all over again.

    —Claudia on June 4, 2012
  • I like tip # 5 — I have found that freezer paper works for a number of different things. I have also used it in quilting and general sewing.

    Becky M on June 4, 2012
  • Not real original but I love to use buttons that I have inherited from my grandmothers and aunts – to embellish my quilts.

    —Deborah on June 4, 2012
  • I love to use plain muslin and linen to create pieced embellishments, especially using hand stitching. There is something special about how hand stitching adds depth that a machine cannot. It is rustic and the simplest running stitch can create so much texture. Texture is the magic word for me when embellishing.

    patricia on June 4, 2012
  • I like adding buttons to folk art quilts. I’ve also done some yarn couching on my sewing machine – interesting technique. Thanks!

    —LisaT on June 4, 2012
  • I like adding a surprise touch of embroidery to a quilt or a handquilted image. The reason I want to win this book is to learn to make a crazy quilt where the embellishment looks like "it belongs" rather than just tacked on. Thanks for the chance.

    —MarciaW on June 4, 2012
  • Love buttons, stacking buttons up, sometimes adding beads at the top. Also like ribbons and rickrack.

    —Linda on June 4, 2012
  • I have never embellished. This book would be a great resource. Thanks.

    —Beth Hammergren on June 4, 2012
  • These are fun ideas. I like to incorporate tiny toys from my son’s old toy chest for a bit of whimsy.

    —Jusa on June 4, 2012
  • Ive used ribbons and buttons and made my own ribbons out of fabric that is it. Would be challenging for me to embellish.

    —ruth on June 4, 2012
  • I love old Jewelry. I always save necklaces or bracelets that break and use the beads for fabric decorations. Old buttons and belt buckles are great decorations also.

    —Peggy Dixon on June 4, 2012
  • I love adding buttons and lace to the project 🙂

    —Hueisei on June 4, 2012
  • My only embellished pjoject so far was a wall hanging with a flower pot that I made for my friend and, I found just the perfect flowerformed buttons to use. Last week I run into some beautiful mother of pearl buttons in various forms and hue; I couldn’t resist so now they are waiting for the right project to pop up!

    —Inger Martinson, Italy on June 4, 2012
  • I have so many little "saved finds" that I just might use some day on something. And they usually do get used eventually. Just need a dedicated room to keep all my treasures in. One with shelves for housing my storage containers, which most of them are repurposed. i.e. plastic flip top gum containers, 2 qt. plastic peanut butter jars, nut containers, any sturdy, stackable clear plastic container to hold my embellishment items as well as my tools and supplies. I would love this book as I am always looking for inspiration for new and unique ideas. Thank you for the chance to win.

    —Cindy on June 5, 2012
  • I would love some new ideas on how to embellish.

    —shay on June 5, 2012
  • I love the idea of using little "found" objects as embellishments. As a mom, I have a terrible time getting rid of the little things the kids bring me (for example my daughter brought me a wood bead – really a piece of branch – with the word "Mom" wood burned into it. These things all hang around in my "gonna do something with this" box. After looking at the pictures, I can see a place for some of them in quilts!

    Beth Strand on June 5, 2012
  • Embellishment is so much fun. I keep all scraps from all my different crafts and they end up on quilts.Bits of tatting, crocheting, floss buttons bangles , everything is fair games and fun to do. My favorite is my grandmothers and my mother antique buttons they collected for years and i have them all, and i love them. Thank you for the chance to win

    —Sharon Meyer on June 5, 2012
  • I love all kinds of things

    —linda on June 6, 2012
  • I love using decorative stitches, lace, rick-rack and buttons to projects. Thanks for the giveaway! Good luck, Everyone!! 🙂

    —Dawn Hollingsworth on June 6, 2012
  • Would love to win this book!

    —jane denny on June 7, 2012
  • I like to add embroidery to appliqued blocks as well as buttons and yoyo’s. In fact anything that can be stitched down.

    —Linda Ross on June 8, 2012
  • Cheryl Lynch has presented to Our Keystone quilters guild twice in the last two years. Her work is so versatile and beautiful…
    Linda Curry, President

    Linny on June 8, 2012
  • I don’t know a lot about embellishing, but I know that I have different kinds of stitches on my basic sewing machine. Sometimes I use those instead of a straight stitch. Also a little embroidery is good 🙂 I just wish I knew more to actually produce a tip. Perhaps, don’t be afraid to try new things!

    Karrie Smith on June 9, 2012
  • I like to use beads with colorful thread added to ribbon to embellish my projects. There is so much you can do.

    —Donna F on June 10, 2012

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