D is for Ditch

A to Z of Machine Embroidery and Quilting

D is for DitchIf you’re a quilter, you’re probably familiar with the concept of “stitching in the ditch“. Basically, this means stitching on the lower side of a seam that has been pressed to one side, as close to the fold as possible.

Pieced Ditch

It’s an ideal way to quilt if you’re a beginner, and it’s a quick and easy way to quilt if you’re short on time (or ideas!).

When I’m quilting around embroidered appliqué shapes, I like to stitch in the “ditch” around the edge of the shape.

Applique Ditch

This helps to give definition to the shape as it has the effect of lifting the appliqué up off the background. If a higher loft batting is used, the effect is more pronounced.

When the background is quilted with a more dense quilting design (e.g. pebbles or swirls) then the quilting in the ditch around the appliqué shape will create the effect of trapunto without the extra work.

Trapunto Effect

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako Thread

My favorite battings to use for quilts showcasing embroidered appliqué when I want to create the trapunto effect by quilting in the ditch around the appliqué shapes are Quilters Dream Wool and Quilters Dream Puff. These are both high loft battings that are a joy to quilt and give beautiful results when quilted.

Daily Deal

From 12:01am on June 26, 2017 to 11:59pm on June 28, 2017, enjoy 25% off GO! Bloom.

Enter promo code “A2Z-D” at the checkout.

Add to Cart GO! Bloom $45.00
(Delivered as a digital download. Optional CD available at the checkout)


What I love about this collection… GO! Bloom is what I call a “whole cloth embroidery quilt“. The center is stitched onto a single piece of fabric, 36″ x 36”. The pieced circle is appliquéd onto the background. My signature technique for marking the quilt background combined with the positioning technology that is built into all of my designs makes this project much easier than you might imagine. The 4 pillows (2 are 15″ x 15″, 2 are 17″ x 17″) are a great starting point to practice your multi-hooping skills (following detailed instructions of course!) before embarking on the larger, but still very manageable, quilt. Choosing the fabric for this quilt from Ricky Tims‘ gorgeous hand dyed fabrics as pure joy!

The GO! Bloom quilt contains Quilters Dream Puff batting, with quilting in the ditch around each appliqué shape and reasonably dense quilting in the background. The embroidered appliqué shapes have a beautiful trapunto effect, looking like they float on the background of the quilt.

Sarah Vedeler Designs GO! Bloom

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 wt thread
and Ricky Tims Hand Dyed fabric

GO! Bloom pillows

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 wt thread
and Ricky Tims Hand Dyed fabric


Sarah Vedeler Designs GO! Bloom

Stitched on a BERNINA 830
featuring AURIfil Cotton Mako 50 wt thread
and Ricky Tims Hand Dyed fabric

Ariel sent me this photo of her GO! Bloom quilt:

GO! Bloom by Ariel

GO! Bloom by Ariel

What I love about this particular quilt – other than the gorgeous colors – is that Ariel used designs from the Transformation Quilting Collection to quilt her quilt in the hoop using her embroidery machine. The designs look as if they could have been made specifically for this quilt – and I applaud Ariel for seeing the possibilities.


  1. When I first noticed your in the stitch stitching around an applique and inside I was very impressed at the results. It was the first digitizing I had seen using that technique and it is a great addition. Your ideas are spectacular, you are a true fabric artist. To bad I already have the Go Bloom collection for I would certainly buy it!
    Hope you girls had a great break and went somewhere cool.

  2. I am so enjoying the daily Letters and this has given me such inspiration to continue practice my quilting skills. So many wonderful thing to learn and practice. Thank you

  3. I have found these daily letters to be enjoyable and encouraging.
    Thanks ;o)

  4. Thanks for the teaching today

  5. What design or collection is the blue/tan stitch in the ditch from? I can’t find it.

    • Hi Marilyn,
      It’s a small sample I created by reorganizing one of the split designs from Sedona Surprise. I’m currently working on a different project that uses this same design so keep an eye out for an email towards the end of the month, beginning of August 🙂

    • A couple things as I (try to) embark upon the Feathered Christmas design: (1) Do you stitch in the ditch AFTER you satin stitch the applique’s edges–or before? (2) You suggest using a loftier batting–do you use it under the fabric before you applique or under the applique to make the applique stand out? Thank you, Sarah! BEAUTIFUL designs!

  6. The blue and white is out of this world. I’m really enjoying these lessons. Thanks

  7. Thank you for explaining stitch in the ditch so well.. I like to use this around appliqué too . Love all of your designs.

  8. Sharon O'Reilly

    I am thoroughly enjoying your inspiring daily mail. Thank you for doing this for us. Love your work Sarah.

  9. Like a lot of you, I have so many of Sarah’s designs. They are all so beautiful. The extra “hints” she gives are always appreciated. Hope that everyone has a great day.

  10. Like so many of you, I have a lot of Sarah’s designs and they are all so beautiful. Her extra “tips and hints” are always appreciated. I hope that you all have a great day!

  11. Awesome A-Z Inspiration, Tips and Learning. I am having so much fun and look forward to each morning email. Your beautiful designs and classes help keep me focused through this hot summer.

  12. Thanks for the tips on batting. Oh, somehow I missed the last three days. I’ll have to go back and look.

  13. Thanks for these tips, always helps. Enjoying this inspiration each day.

  14. You have such beautiful designs

  15. More great tips and beautiful “eye candy”. Thanks so much Sarah.

  16. Great tips, beautiful designs,

  17. Your designs are so unique and beautiful. Thank you for the wisdom you are providing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *