What is Chainstitching?
Historically, chain stitch embroidery was used for work-wear and western wear...think name patches on work jumpsuits letterman jackets & cowboys. The machines that chainstitch are unique from other sewing machines in that they are hand-steered and operated using a handle underneath the table which allows for free-flowing lines & lettering. Today, there are very few original machines still in existence and only a few manufacturers who still make the machines. Artists like myself are truly keeping the art alive as there is very little education and information left.
What machine do you have?
I work on a Singer 114-W103 and a Consew 104-1T in my little studio and incorporate my long time love of hand lettering and illustration into my obsession with vintage & working with my hands.
What Can You Embroider On?
Chainstitching is most effective on heavy woven fabrics like canvas, felt, and denim. To varying degrees of success, I can stitch on other materials, the rule of thumb is the less stretch something has the better the piece will turn out. If you are just dying to have chainstitching on your stretchy item, I recommend a single-line monogram or hand-sewing one of my pre-made patches.
I Don’t Have A Needle and Thread at Home. How Do I Sew On My Patch?
I offer Patch Sew-On Kits on my website and they are free with larger patches ($75+) that comes with a needle, pins, a needle threader and 2 colors of threads. I can add a third color of thread upon request (add it in the customizable field).
Can You Embroider on Baseball Caps or Jeans?
I cannot chainstitch baseball caps or beyond the waistband, back pockets or bottom hem of jeans unfortunately. I do not have access to a specialized kind of post-bed machine that allows for reaching into tighter spaces, so I recommend my chainstitching pals for the following:
I’m Interested in Getting Started with Chainstitching, Where Should I Go?
Before ordering a machine off eBay, PLEASE get connected with someone who’s deep in the biz, there are a lot of sketchy machines and parts out there and lots of people who try to take advantage of the rarity of these kinds of machines and lack of reliable info. Chainstitchers really help watch each other’s backs so get connected in the community before you take the plunge! I suggest watching Charecosew's video
about how to spot fake machine parts on Singer 114w chainstitch machines if you do decide to go the route of sourcing a vintage machine.
Can You Chainstitch My Artwork?
Right now, I’m really focusing on my own designs and artistry, but I am open to working with other’s artwork depending on what is it and other details. Feel free to fill out my custom order request form with your artwork and what you’re envisioning. Keep in mind that I may refer you to another chainstitcher or maker depending on what you’re needing and my capacity and lead time.
Do You Stitch at Live Events, Parties or Weddings?
Yes! I’m vaccinated and available for in-person events on a limited basis. I am always looking for markets to set up at, but I’m also available to live-stitch at your event such as a wedding, bridal party, birthday or at your business. Visit my Contact page
to request me at your event and we can talk through my rates, availability and what I’m able to customize for your event. KaitMakes is based in Chattanooga, TN but I have the ability to travel via car to surrounding areas.
To accommodate me for an event, I have a couple of needs:
Space: for a small setup I need at least a 5ft by 5ft space, and my full market setup usually takes up a full 10x10 tent area.
Access to power: I need to be able to plug in a 3-prong power strip to use my live machine.
No Stairs: I prefer events where I can pull my vehicle up to the door or event area if outdoors. My travel table has locking caster wheels for ease of transport but is quite heavy to lug up stairs.
Weather Permitting: I have a 10x10 tent, but due to the nature of my hunk of metal machine and need for power, I’m limited by in climate weather like rain, snow, or high winds.
How do you determine your pricing for custom pieces?
Small freehand script like your name on the front of a jacket, jumpsuit or apron (1-2 words) starts at $30 plus shipping back to you unless you pickup locally. You can either ship me your piece (I can email you a shipping label after your invoice is paid) or drop off your piece locally to me in Chattanooga, TN.
For larger pieces, I calculate pricing based on the size of the area of stitching, the complexity, the fabric/garment size and texture, thread amounts and the amount of "fill" (meaning the percentage of the design that's completely filled in with stitched color). Check out my customs page
for more info!
What is your lead time for your custom pieces?
Chainstitching first and foremost if a way for me to express myself creatively and it is not my main job or source of income. So my lead times are longer than some chainstitchers who do this for a living. With that being said, I base my lead times on what I’m currently working on, so when we chat about a custom piece (especially larger pieces) I will give you an estimate based on my current workload. For customizable pieces like patches, beanies, and small script pieces, the lead time is listed for each item.
How do I care for my chainstitched piece?
To clean: Dry cleaning is ultimately preferred, but machine washing on delicate or hand-washing on cold and laying flat to dry is adequate for more used items such as tees, sweatshirts, bandanas or beanies. Jackets and large patches should be dry cleaned, or spot cleaned at home for best results. Do not bleach or iron directly on the chainstitched portion.