What Is It Called When You Embroider Edges Around Fabric?


Embroidery edging stitches have long been used by home sewers to add a brightly colored decorative accent to otherwise bland but useful household and clothing items. These stitches finish the raw edge of a garment or household textile, but they do it with style and flair. Modern manufacturing has found ways to mimic or improve on this hand-embroidered finishing method. It uses machine embroidery to create finishing edges on housewares and apparel.

Machine Lace Edging

  • Often found on commercially manufactured garments, machine lace edging is essentially machine embroidery used to finish the hem or edge of a garment or household textile. It frequently includes nonstitched areas in the design that are subsequently removed, leaving holes between the embroidery stitching. The overall effect is one of an embroidered lace edging.


  • Another machine-embroidered method, scalloping creates a zigzag line of stitching that curves regularly, forming a series of scallops at the edge or hem of a garment. The excess fabric is then cut off outside the stitching, leaving a scalloped edge finished with machine embroidery.


  • The foundation for many embroidery edge stitches, the blanket stitch encases the edge of the fabric by inserting the thread from the same side for each stitch. It is further reinforced by inserting the needle into the loop of each stitch, making a simple knot.

    The knotted blanket stitch, also called the Antwerp stitch, adds a series of knots when the needle is inserted into the loop of each stitch as it is sewn. The stitches are also made farther apart than the regular blanket stitch. The result is a scalloped-look with a rounded bump of a knot at the base of each scallop.


  • To add a picot edging, first finish the edge of the material with a regular blanket stitch, with the stitches about 1/4 inch apart.

    The first variation of picot edging is called loop or pinned picot. It is a series of loops made at regular intervals in the blanket stitching along the edge of the garment or textile. A pin is used to "build" the picot, using embroidery thread.

    The second variation is called ring picot. Insert the thread from a previously sewn blanket stitch into a stitch four or five stitches away, leaving a loop of thread connecting the two. Cover the loop of thread by winding the needle through the ring over and over, until the loop is completely covered. Repeat, making loops until the edge is finished.


  • Frequently used to finish the edges of household linens, the plaited edging stitch is nearly identical to the blanket stitch, but the needle is inserted back through the previous stitch, effectively plaiting the two stitches together. It makes a strong edge.


  • Another variation of the blanket stitch, a braided edge stitch has loose edge stitches. They hang down past the edge of the fabric, creating a scalloped look with the thread.

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