Pinch stitch tutorial

close up of overcast stitch with title "pinch stitch tutorial"

Pinch stitch is a decorative stitch common in pojagi. It is traditionally used on ramie, but linen works quite well, too. It is a raised stitch with dimension and texture, as well as colour. 

There are two variations, and I have shown them both.

This sample is stitched on a lightweight linen with size 8 perle cotton. The thread should match the fabric.  If you use a coarser linen, use a larger thread. 

Use a  needle with a large eye and a dull tip (like a cross stitch or tapestry needle). Make sure the is just the size for the thread, and not too big, or it will leave holes in your work.

Place the linen over your pattern. Put both on a soft but firm surface, such as an old magazine or notebook. Don’t place it directly on your table, or your table may get marked.

tracing a design onto fabric with a hera marker.

With a hera marker, trace the design with a firm back and forth motion and steady pressure.

fabric with a design marked by a hera.

When you are finished, the creases should visibly show the design.

finger pressing creases into fabric.

Pinch along the creases. The Hera scores the fabric, so it should be fairly easy to fold.

fabric with finger pressed design.

Thread the needle and knot the thread. Bring the thread up from the back, nesting the knot in the crease.

OPTION ONE:  Sew along the crease with an overcast stitch. Pull the stitches quite firmly, as you want to maintain the crease, and not have it open.

overcast stitch with pink thread on white fabric.
overcast stitch on a crease in white fabric.

This option gives a design with a lot of colour. The thread is prominent.

overcast pinch stitch design with pink thread on white fabric.

OPTION TWO: Sew along the edge of the crease with a running stitch.

close up of running stitch on a crease in fabric.

This method tends to give more texture, as the creases do not flatten as much.

fabric with running pinch stitch in progress.

The thread is not as prominent, but the design is still clearly visible.

design stitched in running pinch stitch on white fabric.

If you are using this technique in a project, always cut the fabric larger than you need. The dimension does pull on the fabric and distort the grain, so you will need to cut to size after doing the stitching.

This technique adds colour and interest to projects, and can be used in a lot of different ways. Experiment and see what you like!


Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

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