What is a Flame Stitch Fabric?

Flame stitch fabrics seem to be everywhere these days. They seem to be part of the recent resurgence in retro design, and one of these old designs quickly regaining popularity is the flame stitch fabric.

Its mixed colors, tough texture, and zigzag pattern tend to add a touch of electric energy to anything you use it on. Flame stitch fabrics are very versatile, and manufacturers use them for many things. This article will show you the best way to use and take care of flame stitch fabric.

What is a Flame Stitch Pattern Fabric?

Flame Stitch Pattern Fabric

Flame stitch is more of a design than a specific fabric. It is a type of needlework consisting of long vertical stitches of two colors to form a zigzag pattern. If done correctly, the zigzag pattern will resemble a burning fire. This flame-like appearance gives the design its name. Any fabric that has a flame-like design on it is called a flame stitch fabric. 

Originally, skilled sewers either stitched the patterns on canvas or fabric with tapestry wool and needle or knitted wool threads of different colors using a crotchet. Although, it is not uncommon to see flame stitch patterns printed directly on fabrics recently.

The embroiderer uses dyed Individual threads or yarns that correspond to the color he wants. Once sewn or stitched together, the threads’ collective colors or yarn give the fabric a vibrant thread. Unlike most tapestries or crotchets, Flame stitch fabrics have a slightly irreversible and flat design.

This nature of the design is because the embroiderers do not use knots to secure stitches; instead, they sow stitches on top of each other, ensuring that they do not quickly go out. Close observation of the fabric will usually distinguish the front of the fabric from the back.

A Brief History of Flame Stitch

The history of the Flame Stitch Fabric is unclear, which is not helpful because the design combines two stitches from two countries.

Many sources link the Flame stitch to the 13th and 14th centuries when the brick stitch (from Goblin) and the zigzag stitch (from Hungary) were first used on one canvas. The result appealed to the Hungarian Princess Elizabeth; she always carried samples. Since she always visited Italy and is reported to have married an Italian, the style soon became popular in Italy.

Others believe that the Ikats of the Middle East created the Flame Stitch fabric before it made its way to Italy via The Silk Road. What is for sure is that the stitch grew so popular in Italy during the 17th and 18th centuries and soon became widely known as Bargello and Florentine Stitch (after the Italian city of Florence).

From Italy, the fame of the stitch spread to other parts of Europe, eventually reaching America. However, the stitch fell out of favor in Europe and the U.S. during the 70s and is only seeing a resurgence recently.

How To Make Flame Stitch Fabric

How To Make Flame Stitch Fabric
Knitted Flame Stitch Fabric

You can easily create flame Stitches using three basic methods. Some knitters sew tapestry wool on a duck canvas, which is a popular option, although this type of flame stitch is usually unsuitable for clothing.

The first step in this method is threading the tapestry wool on a needle. After which, they draw a rough design outline on the canvas. Then carefully, they begin weaving the wool in and out of the canvas, holding the end of the thread to prevent it from pulling away. 

They do not fasten the threads with knots; instead, they stitch over the end of the thread, preventing them from going out. The embroiderer is also careful about the direction of his weave; he follows a specific direction to get the sharpest of patterns.

Another method of getting the flame stitch pattern is by knitting two or more separate colored wool yarns through a series of complicated stitches or crochet moves. The knitter does not use a canvas or another type of fabric; He only uses wool or yarn. 

With the aid of nothing but a crochet hook, multiple colored yarns, and other accessories, the knitter can replicate the sharp scissor-like effect of the flame stitch. Because the knitter uses wool to make it, this flame stitch type is more suitable for clothing and other worn products.

Recently, fire stitch patterns have begun being printed directly into many fabrics. A graphic designer creates the design on his computer and then sends the file to the textile printers, which adjust for scales and convert the file to something his machine can read. A popular printing machine is the InkJet Printer which uses tiny droplets to recreate designs on the fabric. The end product is just as vibrant as the knitted and weaved version.

Types of Flame Stitch Fabric

There are many Flame stitch designs on many fabric types, but its production method is a good criterion for grouping flame stitch fabric. This criterion is relevant because the method of fabric production affects its usage. Based on these are three main types of Flame Stitch fabrics:

Canvas Flame Stitch Fabric

As the name implies, this type of flame stitch fabric comes from the knitting process. The sewer or knitter knits the fabric onto a duck canvas. Duck canvas is a type of fabric that is hard, heavy, and tightly plain woven. It is mainly made from cotton fiber but can sometimes come from linen.

Usually, the canvas or duck fabric series of pores guide the knitter when creating the pattern. Some knitters also work with upholstery canvas or leather, and the nature of the duck canvas makes this kind of Flame Stitch Fabric unsuitable for clothing.

Knitted Flame Stitch Fabric

This type of Flame Stitch comes from the clever manipulation of woolen yarns to recreate the distinct flame-like pattern of Flame Stitch. The yarns usually come from the fleece of sheep and other animals.

This method is a painstaking process that requires great precision, skill, and planning. Because wool is often and often worn, this type of flame stitch fabric is suitable for wearing and other purposes.

Printed Flame Stitch Fabric

Compared to the other types, this is the fastest and most easily produced type of Flame Stitch Fabric. Printed Flame stitch also differs from other flame stitch patterns because it isn’t limited to a specific fabric; it can be printed on nearly all fabrics.

Textile workers favor cotton, silk, and polyester fabrics as they are more readily available than others. The diversity of printed flame stitch fabric and its ease of production also expands its usage.

Uses And Applications of Fire Stitch Fabrics

Fire stitch fabrics are very versatile, and textile manufacturers, designers, and home decorators have found them helpful. As previously stated, the uses are often determined by the type of Fire Stitch Fabric.

Uses of Canvas Fire Stitch Fabrics

Flame Stitch Upholstery Fabric
Flame Stitch Upholstery Fabric

The toughness of canvas fire stitch fabrics makes them useful in the production of:

  • Wallpapers
  • Area rugs
  • Customized sneakers and shoes
  • Tapestry pieces for walls
  • Curtains
  • Item design like clock covers
  • Chair covers and Upholsteries

Uses of Knitted Fire Stitch Fabric

The woolen yarn of knitted fire stitch fabrics gives them a slightly softer feel and makes them more suitable for products in contact with the skin. Some of the products of knitted fire stitch include:

  • Quilts
  • Bed covers and Perk up beddings
  • Throw pillows
  • Cushions and Seat covers
  • Accessories such as berets, purses, and scarves.
  • Articles of clothing such as jackets, skirts, etc.

Uses of Printed Fire Stitch Fabric

The printed fire stitch fabric is the most versatile form of fire stitch fabric because it can be printed on many forms of material. This versatility makes them useful for a wide range of things, such as:

  • Clothing ranging from shirts to socks
  • Home decors items such as curtains, draperies, throw pillows, seat covers, cushions, etc.
  • Accessories such as scarves, purses, etc.
  • Beddings
  • Chair and Upholstery coverings.

Care For Flame Stitch Fabrics

Flame Stitch has different fabric types, so caring for them is always complicated. Always consult the manufacturer’s or fabric care label before deciding on anything. Here are some precautions you can take:

For Knitted Flame Stitch Fabric

  • Wash Knitted flame stitch fabric with a mild detergent such as Woolite according to the fabric care instructions.
  • Do not wring garments to avoid ruining them.
  • Dry or flat dry. Avoid using a dryer.
  • Avoid the use of bleach or any other harsh cleaning products.
  • Store in a cool, dry area.

For Canvas Flame Stitch Fabrics

  • Avoid washing in a washing machine. Wash the fabric as little as possible.
  • Do not use a dryer after each wash.
  • Hand wash the fabric using a mild detergent like Woolite.
  • Dust hanging pieces every week to reduce overlaying dust particles.

For Printed Flame Stitch Fabrics

  • Hand wash printed fabrics If possible. Ensure you use cold or lukewarm water during this process.
  • Do not over-rub the printed part of the fabric.
  • Pre-test each laundry on a small area of the fabric before using them.
  • Limit the use of dryers for flame stitch fabrics during laundry.
  • Iron the fabric on the reverse side to avoid wearing out the prints.

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