Creative articles about sewing

Raised stitches with my BERNINA770QE, knitting yarn and paracord.

Making pillow cases on commission, makes me look for different effects. A customer asked for a denim pillow with decorative stitches: not flat but with relief. I am working with my BERNINA770QE, and have found some useful material. 

The simplest way is to use thick knitting yarn and paracord. There are so many wonderful decorative stitches on my B770QE, but it is important to keep the thread or cord visible, because it is part of the effect.

My knitting yarn is multi-colored, with long color changes and a metallic thread. Thickness 4 – 4 1/2. 

To keep the thread centered while making stitches, I will use Cordfoot #21

The opening for the needle of this foot is 5mm, so check the decorative stitch first, in this case Stitch 405. To prevent needle breakage, I’ve made the stitch much smaller: 4.8mm. 

The knitting yarn is pulled through the opening of Cordfoot #21, front to back/underneath. 

I am always working on samples first, to see if it gives me the proper effect. Despite the yarn being flattened, you can feel (and see) relief. The contrasting colors of yarn and thread gives this an extra effect. 

I have braided three threads from the same yarn. Cut them from different colors, which possible because of the long color change. Because I cannot pull 3 threads at once through the opening of the foot, I have wrapped tape around it, pulled that tight, and that made it work. 

Using stitch 6 = straight stitch going forward, backward and forward again, I’ve stitched the braid down, while holding it flat. You don’t have to make a long braid right away: just braid the first piece, stitch it down and braid some more along the way. 

Result: the braid is still visible, giving this a nice relief. The stitches are not visible, because I wanted the braid to stand out. If you want to make the stitches visible too, use contrasting threads.

Paracord is also great to use, raising stitches. This is a thick cord, which will not fit through the opening of Cordfoot #21. 

I will use the Open Embroidery foot #20C, making sure the cord stays in the middle of the opening of the foot. 

The regular zigzag stitch has to be wider to cover the cord and make stitches on both sides in the fabric. The width of the chosen stitch depends on the thickness of the cord: try making stitches first, adjust the width until you are happy with the result.

For more dramatic effect, I have chosen stitch 402. It is essential to keep the paracord centered, to be covered on each side. Large parts of the cord is uncovered because of the waves of the stitches: a fun effect. Working slowly, because of the core of the paracord and the thickness of it all is important to make even stitches. 

Choose your fabric according to the thickness of the paracord: it will be much stiffer with the decorative stitches covering it, so denim or canvas will work just fine.

The best results is working with complementary colors: the color circle shows that purple with yellow are ‘partners in color’, and so is blue with orange and red with green. The effect will be optimal, so choosing the purple thread with my neon yellow paracord means getting the best result in effect. 

The samples I have made are kept in my ‘archive’, for future reference. When I am ready to use this in a project, I can check the materials and the settings, which saves me time. I will try more, but I am curious about your tests: please leave some pictures in the Community of this BERNINA Blog

Happy Stitching!
Sylvia Kaptein
Sylvia’s Art Quilts Studio


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