25 Million Stitches Big Stitch Tutorial

Big stitch hand quilting is a technique used by many quilters. However, I recently used this technique in an embroidery project!  A few weeks ago, I decided to make an embroidered panel for the 25 Million Stitches project and in this post, I’ve detailed the technique that I used.  I decided to make my panel using big stitch– a popular hand quilting technique used by many contemporary/modern quilters.

Scroll down this post for a description of the project, including a link to a tutorial video.  I’ve also included descriptions of my tools and some detail shots of a quilt where I used big stitch hand quilting.  Enjoy!!


25 Million Stitches is a community arts project is bringing awareness of the massive scale of human dislocation around the world.

From 25 Million Stitches webpage:

The world is in flight. 25 million people* across the globe have been forced to flee their homelands as a consequence of genocide, war, poverty, natural disasters, targeted violence, and other grave threats. They leave behind everything they’ve known and possessed in order to live; they face immense struggles, misfortunes, and perils on their journey; and, through it all, survival, much less successful resettlement, remains but the slimmest hope.  Please join this project to hand-stitch 25 million stitches: one stitch for each refugee. How does making 25 million stitches help refugees? We believe that this project is a way for us to engage with this global crisis instead of ignoring it. And even though no single stitch can fully represent an individual, the act of stitching and the resulting work will help bring attention to the scale of the crisis.

Here’s a link to a recent news article about this project.

What is Big Stitch Hand Quilting?

Hand quilting, also know as ‘big stitch’,  is very popular among modern quilters and it’s a technique that I’ve used for many years.  Since I am not an embroiderer, I decided to use  a hand quilting big stitch for my embroidery stitch.  This is the same type of stitch that I use on some of my quilts such as the the quilts below.

Many modern quilters use ‘big stitch’ as their handquilting stitch. Big stitches are made by using a thicker thread such as Perle #5 or Aurifil 12 weight.  (It’s similar to a sashiko stitch.)  With big stitch, you make larger quilting stitches that still hold the quilt together when you wash it.  And, these large stitches become a design element.  I like to use bright color threads.

Blocks from my Parisian Curves quilt. First, I quilted it using matchstick quilting with a neutral gray thread. Then, I added big stitches using Perle #5 in different colors.


Detail–maroon, yellow and blue Perle #5 thread.


Detail–more big stitch quilting.

I usually combine big stitch with machine quilting as you can see in these detail shots of my Parisian Curves quilt. The pattern and technique for making the Parisian Curves Quilt can be found in my book, Madly Modern Quilts, available on Amazon.

My Panel–Big Stitch Tutorial

Here are some detail shots of my panel.


Here’s my tutorial video where I share the tools that I use and the stitching approach.

My Big Stitch Notions

Here’s a link to a source for the thread that I used in this tutorial. (There are lots of Perle threads available–check your local quilt shops or craft stores where you will find them in the embroidery or crochet aisle.)

Here are the needles that I used.  You can buy them here.  (You can also use Sashiko Needles.)

Be Sure to Sign Up for My Newsletter!

I wouldn’t want you to miss all the News!

8 thoughts on “25 Million Stitches Big Stitch Tutorial”

  1. Thank you Carole for this tutorial and inspiration.
    I will make one of these panels with “big stitches” and send to the “25 Million Stitches” group.

  2. That quality of your work and what it represents is amazing. Your 25 million stitches pieces reminds me of winding trails and twisting roads that each one of those refugees traveled. Thank you for helping their stories be told by sharing your work. It really makes you think of the magnitude of the refugee crisis.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
%d bloggers like this: