Blanket stitch, an embroidery technique, is both useful and decorative. It is traditionally used on the outside edges of blankets, but it can be a rustic addition to tea towels, napkins, quilts, appliques, and even clothing. The stitch adds a finished look to the project, and it reinforces the edge. No need for hemming!
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Hand Sewing Blanket Stitch
Insert your needle through the back of the fabric to the front. Place your needle a diagonal 1/4 inch away, and insert the needle back through the fabric. Bring the needle back to the front, making a 1/4-inch vertical stitch. Insert the needle to the back, making a 1/4-inch horizontal stitch.
Every time you do this, it will lock the previous stitch in place, creating a kind of ladder effect that keeps the edge nice and secure. Blanket stitch works well around a curved edge, as you can adjust your stitches to accommodate the changing edge.
Machine Sewing Blanket Stitch
Many sewing machines include this stitch in their repertoire. You can either use a raw edge or turn the edge under to create a small hem underneath the blanket stitch. You can use any weight of thread and a standard-sized needle. For a fun touch, use a contrast-color thread to help the stitch stand out against the fabric.