What Is A Stitch Collage?

Ailish Henderson shares her view on the world of embroidery - it's the Ailist!

Many of us have plenty of fabric scraps, odds and ends, bits of paper, fabric, watercolour, acrylic, stitches and crayons just sitting around. Have you thought about using them all together as a stitch collage?

Stitch Collage is when the technique of mixing and matching a wide range of materials into a composition, widely known as collage is mixed with the technique of stitching. Paper based materials as well as fabrics are brought together to create one singular piece, resulting in a Stitch Collage.

There is something very satisfying when you bring surprising items together to create something new. Within this post, we will explain a tad more about this method, using images all the way so you can visualise what we are on about!

Gathered materials for a stitched collage
Gathered materials for a stitched collage, including reference material and the option of using a sewing machine

What Materials Will I Need To Create A Stitch Collage?

To create a Stitch Collage, you will need:

  • Scissors
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine (if you prefer machined stitch)
The Ailist stitched collage with machine
Using a sewing machine can be one option to draw lines and attach materials together on your stitched collage
  • Mix of fabric scraps
  • Mix of paper based materials, such as personal mementos as well as any papers you are drawn to
  • Pritt Stick (vital to have on hand to place objects)
  • Reference material to inspire you
Reference material can help you to develop your collage
Reference material can help you to develop your collage

How Do I Create A Stitch Collage?

1. First of all you will want to decide the style of your stitched collage. You may wish to create a purely mis-matched piece. Or you may wish to create more of a picture or face.
Have a look at some photographs of your own to use as a reference to work from, or a point of inspiration for your Stitch Collage. Maybe you have one stored in your phone, such as an image of a pet or grandchild.

Using Mr Darcy as a reference to create a stitched collage using a sewing machine.
What type of collage do you want to create? Mr Darcy was this artists point of interest!
A sketchbook showing plans for future collages
Do you have a face or something else in mind?

2. When you decide, begin by getting your materials out and placing them around each other, maybe using a durable paper base to secure your pieces onto.

3. Use your Pritt to secure objects where you wish them to be.

What Is A Stitch Collage?

4. If you have a particular picture in mind, try to get a copy or image to work from, to track your progress.

A selection of prior made collages at all different stages, showing faces.
Your stitched collages don’t have to be accurate – have fun

5. Once you are happy with your composition, using both your fabric scraps and paper based materials as well as any personal findings you wish to add, thread your hand stitching needle, affixing a knot at one end and begin to secure your shapes down onto the paper in a further, more permanent manner. (Some of you may wish to use a machine to fulfil this part. If so, try to use a free motion embroidery foot if you are familiar with this method)

Top Tip! You may wish to use a dark coloured thread, so any drawn lines depicting the picture you are creating are obvious.

And finally…..there is nothing wrong with using pens or pencils to add extra shape or drawn areas to your collage.

Colouring in and drawing before collage or adding this method into collage can be a good way to add extra detail.
There is nothing wrong with drawing or colouring in as well as stitched collage

Once you feel you have done enough, stop and admire your work!

Ideas to further explore Stitch Collage

Stitch Collages can be inspired by many resources, here are the ones we think you may enjoy:

  • Own portrait
  • A favourite pet
  • A famous face or book character
  • A family member or friend

Once you get your head around this technique, you may wish to explore many variations. Have a look at your own personal photographs, maybe you will find one you wish to use as a reference guide. In a future post we will return to this subject and discuss further ideas, as well as other methods which you may wish to bring together with Stitch Collage.

Lets finally review what we have discussed!

A Stitch Collage is when a wide range of materials such as paper, fabric and offcuts are brought together and stitched into a singular piece. The piece can be planned to form a face or scene, that bit is up to you! There are no right or wrong materials to use and you may wish to use either hand or machine stitching to fix the items together, or maybe a mixture of both. There are plenty of ideas to create a variety of collages, by bringing in your own personality and inspiration you are sure to create a Stitch Collage you can be proud of!