Sewing Chain to Fabric

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I’ve seen a lot of chain sewn onto clothing and accessories lately, and most of it is sewn (or glued) on in a way that’s kind of sad looking. It’s very easy to make it look better and last longer by sewing it down properly.

– chain
– thread – the wider the better, superfine sewing thread can work through the gaps on unsoldered chain
– needle
– fabric
– embroidery hoop – use this if at all possible, though you won’t be able to on some pre-finished items
– fusible interfacing – totally optional, use this if the chain is heavy or you want some extra support


The best chains for this are made to lay flat – the links will look a bit twisted. It’s even better if you can find a chain with soldered links, but that’s not necessary for success. If you’re planning to wash what you’re attaching chain to be sure to test it first by putting chain on wet scrap fabric and leaving it for a while – some chains will rust or leach colors.

The stitch to use for this is back stitch. Feel free to mark out guidelines on your fabric before you start (make sure to use something that disappears.)


I’m working in a circle so I started by stitching up through the second link, but if you’re making lines then start in the first link and stitch over the end to secure the end of the chain.

Stitch down through the first link, moving backward from the direction your line of stitching is going.

Stitch up through the third link.

And down through the second.


It’s that simple – work your back stitch while catching the place where two links intersect with each stitch. If you’re using very tiny chain you can stitch through every other or every third link.


If you’re working a non-closed shape (like a line) just stitch to the end, cut the chain, and stitch over the end of the last link.

To close up a shape cut the chain as close to the right length as possible. Stitch up through the first link in the chain and down through the last.

A close shape like this is a great way to frame a bit of embroidery. Parallel lines can look good over shoulders, around necklines and to weigh down skirt hems. It’s also a nice effect for accessories like purses and collars.