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How to make fabric with texture

Published: 2019-07-18

How to make fabric with texture

1. Applique

Applique is the method of sewing pieces of fabric onto other fabric bases in beautiful designs. You can stitch the applique pieces by hand as well as by sewing machine

Checkout the tutorial on how to do Applique – infact 12 different ways to do applique more details. Also checkout the Hand applique tutorial and How to make applique letters tutorial

2. Patchwork

Patchwork is the method of sewing small pieces of fabric (patches) of different patterns and colours together to make a big fabric piece . This technique is also called piece work  ; You can make stunning garments and accessories with patchwork fabric.

3. Embroidery

This is the technique of decorating fabric with beautiful stitches made with  embroidery thread or yarn. Hand embroidery techniques like Kantha embroidery, Sashiko Embroidery, Shadow embroidery, Chikankary embroidery all create unparalleled texture. If you are a beginner to embroidery checkout the post on how to embroider for more details. Do you know that there are more than 60 different embroidery techniques in existence ( probably much more which I donot know about) and the different filling stitches you can make in hand embroidery to add texture. Check it out. The bullion stitch and french knots and other knot stitches are also great for texture.

4. Beading/ Beadwork

Beads add glitter, texture  and beauty to fabric. You can sew / glue beads to fabric . Checkout this post on the basic beading stitches you can use to sew the beads and the one which tells you how to make 10 easy to do bead embroidery flower motifs

5. Macrame

This is a technique of using knotting to make fabric with special macrame cords. You can use macrame to decorate your fabric or make the whole fabric with macrame.Here is a list of easy to make knots you can make with yarn/thread etc and add to fabric for that extra bit of texture which is knotty.

6. Fabric trims

You can sew the different types of fabric trims like ribbons , braids to the fabric to add texture to fabric.

7. Couching

This technique uses cords, threads and other materials which are then stitched on to the fabric surface. The thread is laid on the surface of the fabric in a pattern and it is sewn with small stitches by hand or by sewing machine. Checkout the post on 4 ways to do couching for more details

8. Fabric painting

Fabric painting uses a specially formulated paint to make designs on fabric. You can use the fabric paint to add dimensional effect to the fabric as well

9. Fabric Patches

Fabric patches are pieces of fabric embellished with embroidery, sequins , beads, fabric paint etc which are attached to fabric surfaces with glue or sewing or heat activated iron on adhesives; These are great for mending holes on clothes as well as decorating them.Checkout the 10 ways of making fabric clothing patches and the 8 different ways to attach them on to clothes

10. Printing on Fabric

Printing on fabric is a great way to add designs on your clothes. You can add any designs to the the fabric without any sewing involved using your inkjet printer at home. Commercially there are many techniques for printing on fabric .Checkout the post on inkjet fabric printing that you can do on your own. There are other ways in which you can trasfer images / pictures/photos onto your fabric – check out the post on 6 ways to Transfer photos to fabric

11. Reverse Applique

This technique involves adding a layer of fabric underneath the base fabric and cutting away a portion of the base fabric in the shape of the design so that the fabric underneath is revealed. You can add multiple layers of fabric underneath for a beautiful effect.Here is a post to learn more about Reverse Applique.

12. Monogramming

This involves embroidering the initials of a person’s name in a particular way and is a very popular technique of embellishing clothes and accessories to customise and personalise them. Checkout the post on the different ways to create and add monograms to fabric, tips on embroidering letters and Monogramming rules for more details. Checkout this tutorial on designing your own letters for embroidery

13. Felting

Felting is a process by which wool fibers are agitated ( by hand or by machine) to make fabric. Needle felting and wet felting are the two methods used to make the felted fabric. Felted fabric looks beautiful and can be used to make and decorate garments and accessories

14. Fabric Flowers

You can make beautiful flowers using fabric pieces to decorate your garments. The fabric scraps you have at hand if you have been sewing for some time can be transformed into beautiful almost real looking fabric flowers very easily. Find the tutorial to make 10 different types of fabric roses for more details. Also check out these posts on making flowers with felt; How to make DIY felt roses and for making fabric flowers 

15. Fabric bows

Fabric bows the same  way as fabric flowers add to the beauty of clothes.Checkout the 7 different ways to make bows with ribbons and also as many as 8 ways to make fabric bows

16. Faggotting

This is a technique for adding ribbons and lace trims to the fabric with pretty embroidery stitches. Hemmed edges of fabric panels are together or to trims with criss crossed stitches.

17. Insertion

You can add lace between fabric panels ; checkout this post on different methods for lace insertion . Lace will add a transparency and texture to smooth fabric and will transform the look of ordinary fabric surface.You can join fabric pieces together decoratively with insertion stitches – checkout the two ways of doing insertion stitches here

18. Piping

Piping is a technique of adding a special type of trim which is made by inserting a cord inside a bias fabric strip.The piping is added to the seam as a decorative trim. Check out the post on making and sewing piping.

19. Tucks

Tucks are folds in fabric which are sewn in place. Pintucks are my favourite. As the name suggests these are tiny folds which are sewn in place close to the fold. They contain the fullness of fabric as well as add texture .Pintucks are made using  pintuck foot and double needle stitching. Checkout the post on Pintucks and other 9 types of tucks

20. Sewing Machine Embroidery

You can use embroidery sewing machines to make incredible designs on your fabric.Learn mmore about sewing machine embroidery here

Free motion embroidery involves making embroidery designs using your regular sewing machine with a darning foot and hooped fabric. This easy to do embroidery can make some amazing embroidery patterns and great  texture as well. Checkout the post on free motion embroidery for more details 

21. Rhinestones

Rhinestones are flatbacked beads which can be sewn or glued on to fabric to add sparkle to garments and accessories. Checkout the post on different ways to add rhinestones to fabric

22. Sequins work

You can add a lot of sparkle and texture by adding sequins to fabric ( sew them or glue them) – Checkout the 10 different ways of attaching sequins to fabric 

23. Gold work and zari work

Gold work uses metal threads in gold and silver colour to make embroidery patterns on fabric. This is a beautiful embroidery technique. Zardosi work uses a special type of gold string to work the embroidery designs. The needle and thread is inserted through the hole in the zardosi strings and the work is completed like this.Checkout the post on Zardosi embroidery work and the 10 basic embroidery stitches used and 12 types of metallic threads you can use for metallic embroidery 

24. Ruffles

Ruffles are pleated or gathered fabric or trims used to decorate garments and accessories. Checkout this post on gathering fabric for more details

25. Decorative Edge Finishes

Edge finishes need not be boring. You can finish the fabric edges with embroidery loops or buttonhole stitches ; For more edge finishing techniques checkout this post.

26. Decorative Hem finishes

You can add beauty and texture to the hem of your garment in many ways. Checkout this post on the different types of hand hemming stitches for tutorials on this.

27. Using roulette loops

Roulette loops are very thin fabric tubes made with fabric strips. You can easily make the roulette loops yourself and use it to decorate fabric

28. Bobbin work

This is a technique of doing embroidery with thick threads in the bobbin. The work will appear on the underside of the fabric facing the needle. This is a wonderful way to add texture to fabric. Checkout the post on bobbin work  for more details

29. Ruching

Ruching is basically gathering fabric so that there are patterned fold in the fabric; It is also called puffing in heirloom embroidery. Ruching is usually done along the bodice of dresses and sleeves along the center line which is ruched creating attractive folds on either side of the center stitching line. You can ruche fabric by sewing the fabric with elastic . This is usually done with thin, sheer and transparent fabric as an overlay or a drapable cloth. Checkout the detailed tutorial for ruching fabric here.

30. Dyeing

Dyeing involves adding colour to the fabric by way of soaking it in a solution of dye. You can dye  a fabric fully or partially ; Batik, tie and dye, shibori dyeing are all variations of dyeing fabric to bring about beautiful patterns on fabric surface

31. Stamping

This is a variation of diy block printing – you stamp on fabric surface with fabric laden stamps – you can diy stamps or buy from stores. Fabric paint ink pads are also available.

32. Smocking

Smocking involves stitching together gathered folds of fabric with pretty embroidery stitches in a definite pattern. Smocking is a means of controlling fullness as well as adding beautiful embroidery to the fabric.Checkout the post on smocking

33. Shirring

This is the technique of gathering fabric by using elastic thread in the bobbin. Shirring in parallel lines can produce beautiful texture to the fabric. Checkout the tutorial on the best way to do shirring .

34. Fabric origami

Fabric origami is making origami ornaments by folding fabric pieces in definite folding patterns. You can use this to decorate fabric

35. Ribbon embroidery

Ribbon embroidery is embroidery done with soft silk ribbons. You can make beautiful floral designs with ribbon embroidery. Checkout the different types of ribbons you can use as well as the post on the basic stitches used in the ribbon embroidery as well as 10 easy diy ribbon embroidered flowers ( tutorials) .

36. YoYos

A fabric yoyo is a gathered circle of fabric piece with small running stitches. The resultant fabric yoyos which resemble flowers are great for decorating fabrics. There are many ways to make yoyos- even heart shaped ones. Check out the tutorial to make yoyos here.

37. Decorative pleats

Pleats like box pleats, inverted pleats are all great ways of making the fabric look beautiful. Checkout the different types of pleats in the post here

38. Tassels

Tassels are loose threads gathered together at one end ; They are great for embellishing the hems of scarves and shawls ; Adding them to the end of drawstrings are common as well.Checkout the different ways of making tassels on this post. The post on 8 ways to make bead tassels and other edge beading also is related

39. Mirror work

Attaching mirrors on fabric can make your fabric sparkle . Checkout the post on different ways to attach the mirror on to fabric. and the tutorials to stitch 10 simple mirror embroidery designs

40. Shrinking fabric

Shrinking different layers of fabric differently will produce texture on the face of the fabric. This technique is better detailed here 

41. Adding textured fabric as accent features

When you have a garment with a smooth surface you can add texture to it by adding fabric pieces with texture like denim, pleather, leather, canvas, embroidered fabric to make yokes, collars or top hem of pockets, sleeve cuffs  etc.

42. Distressed fabric

Weathering or distressing fabric is a technique of making the fabric look old by using various methods like using a pumice stone or wire brush to wear the thread or using paint to make it look used. Checkout the 15 ways to distress fabric as well as the correct way to rip fabric while leaving horizontal thread intact


This refers to making an impression of images or designs on the surface of a  fabric  with the help of heat and pressure. This is also called Blind Printing, and Relief Printing. A raised or lowered imprint of the design is made with stamps and application of heat. Checkout the post on doing embossing on velvet by yourself . 

44.Open work

Drawn thread embroidery involves pulling out thread from the fabric and knotting the thread left in bundles or using decorative stitches over the drawn thread. This creates an open work with great texture on the fabric . Checkout the tutorial for drawn thread embroidery and pulled thread embroidery for more details. Cutwork, Hardanger embroidery, Borderie Anglaise are all open work which creates similar texture.

45. Stenciling

Stenciling creates patterns and designs on fabric surface with the help of thin cut out stencils made of metal, plastic, paper or wood. The holes in the stencil forms the designs on the fabric. Checkout the  post on making your own stencils for more details

46. Stitch and Slash technique

Slashing fabric layers which are stitched together in parallel diagonal rows creates a beautiful visual and textural effect on the surface of the fabric which is unparalleled. No photo can reproduce the same impact you get when you see and feel the faux chenille fabric you have made with simple plain fabric pieces. Checkout the tutorial to make the faux chenille  fabric and experience it yourself .

47. Scallops

Scallops are dome shaped stitching that is usually done along the fabric edge. You can make scallops by hand stitching with fine embroidery stitches or machine stitch the scallops with a facing or with decorative stitches in your sewing achine. Checkout the 5 ways to make scalloped edges.

48. Bubbling

This refers to the techniques used to create bubble-like appearance on the face of the fabric.

A simple enough way is to  wet fabric, make small cotton balls and wrap these balls with the fabric very close to each other and tie them up with thread. If you leave them for a few days and then open them up, and remove the cotton balls the fabric will take on a texture of bubbles on the surface. For more methods using shibori techniques and wet and dry technique checkout this post on making bubble texture fabric

49. Wrinkling 

This can create a beautiful texture on the fabric surface. One very easy method involves wet fabric and rubber bands. You will have to wet the fabric thoroughly – then wring out the full water – do this two or three times. Leave it in the wrung state, twisted and tie the fabric with rubber bands every 2 inches. Keep it the same way in a secure place to dry. Remove the rubber bands when the cloth feels dry to touch and open up. 

50. Foiling

This refers to adding thin metallic foils on the surface of the fabric with the help of heat applied to it.Foiling adds a beautiful dimensional effect to the fabric with its shine and texture. It is used a great deal in home furnishing fabric and in textile art

51. Roughening

If you are seriously making real texture like the hard surface on a sculpture that you can even sketch and paint , it is not difficult with some household ingredients – Mix 3 parts PV glue and 2 parts water; add Talcum powder slowly till you get a thick consistency ( like the dough batter for cakes). Apply on fabric and use your tools and imagination to create the texture you want.When dry you will get your textured fabric. 

Source:Sew Guide