11 February 2016

How To Railroad

Last week in a conversation among stitchers on the 123Stitch message board, the subject of stitching with white thread came up, and I was surprised at the number of stitchers who said they didn't like stitching with white because the stitches didn't look nice or cover well. I suggested railroading, and yesterday I posted a couple of photographs to show how it's done and how well it works. I was surprised again to learn that a number of stitchers hadn't heard of this technique. I had a request to do a blog post about it, so here it is.

Railroading is simply placing your needle between your threads before you pull it through the fabric to ensure the threads lie next to each other smoothly instead of on top of each other or twisted. If you've never done it, it may slow you down quite a bit, but once you get the hang of it it will go much faster. You'll also probably develop a "feel" for how to manipulate your needle as you're stitching so that the threads lie next to each other on their own and you don't actually have to constantly railroad. 


I railroad both bottom and top legs of stitches, which results in nice chubby stitches and full coverage. I don't like to see a lot of fabric under my stitches; I prefer more of a "mosaic tile" look instead of an "xxx" look.

I railroad all my stitches, no matter the color, but I particularly like the results when stitching with black. To me, if something is supposed to be black, it should be black... not flecked with little peeks of the fabric underneath. Here's an example of railroaded black stitches.

I hope this post is helpful to someone. It's been helpful to me to be reminded to share tips and how-to's, and to not assume that everyone already knows. 

Happy Stitching!

9 comments:

  1. I always just called this splitting my threads! Your stitching is beautiful - thanks for the post!

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  2. Honeybee, thank you for the up-close shots of railroading! Your stitching looks fabulous.

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  3. Thank you Honeybee. It does help to see something explained visually. I will have to try this technique soon.

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  4. I do not railroad all of the time, but most. And definitely always with white!

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  5. Thanks for sharing, I like to use my laying tool. But I am going to give railroading a try

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  6. I have heard of this but never tried it! Yours looks great though so I might have to give it a go. I like nice fat stitches too.

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  7. I have railroaded for so long now that it comes naturally. When I'm lazy, the first stitch left bottom corner to right upper is just a stitch but I railroad the second stitch to make the 'X'. For me, I find that black thread misbehaves more than white. Your stitching looks very nice, I might add!

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  8. I always assumed railroading would be very difficult and require special tools. I certainly learned something new today! I will have to try this the next time I sit down to stitch, my current project has a lot of white. thank you!

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  9. i always disliked the way white looked what a great help you are never heard of this before

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