Stitch tip: satin stitch complex shapes

This was inspired by the little birds I did in my piece for Australian Homespun. :-)

Satin stitch can be a challenge when doing simple shapes like circles or leaves. When it comes to more complex shapes the challenges can be even greater. I think that is often because we try to make the stitching work harder than is necessary.

In the bird on the left I have stitched it by following the individual parts of the bird: tail, wings, head and so on. And although it doesn’t look horrible, it does look a little messy, with stitching going in several directions. After all, satin stitch is meant to give a smooth, even surface on our stitching.

Compare with the bird on the right. It is much more consistent because I didn’t stitch a bird that is comprised of different body parts. Instead I stitched it as a bird shape, where following the silhouette was more important than getting individual sections to look ‘natural’.

It is a lot easier to get complex shapes to look smooth if we think of them as a silhouette and not as the actual thing they represent. If you see a bird silhouetted against the sky, you can’t see which way the tail feathers point, but your brain will fill in the picture. And that’s the same thing we can do with satin stitch. Suggest the overall image and the imagination fills in the rest. :-)


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