One of the trendiest things to use on digital scrapbooking – or paper scrapping, if you look around the web – is stitching.  It can be straight and perfect like from a machine, or messy and imperfect by hand or machine.  Any way you choose to stitch, it’s going to add so much to your layout and make it look more realistic.  Shadows will add so much more.  Here are five tips on when to shadow your stitches and a few tips for each style.

Everything I’ve used today is from the Road Trip Collection or from the LAD: Road Trip SUPERSized Collection, and I’ll tell you in detail what I used where so you can grab the same supplies if you’d like.  Be sure to visit the Layout-A-Day forum to get more details and to play along!

  1. When stitching “flat clusters”, otherwise known as flat paper on top of flat paper.  This type of shadow will stay close to your paper, because real paper doesn’t have a lot of shadow when sewn onto other pieces of paper.  Using Linear Burn with a dark brown color and a lower opacity is a great way to start.  Then you can play with the size and distance to make it appropriate for the thickness of your cluster.  Here is an example of my settings as well as an example of a stitched flat cluster. (There will be more about flat clusters during this LAD: Road Trip event, so stay tuned!)Road Trip 071024_1

    road trip 071024 layout 1
    Sample uses items from the Road Trip Collection from Mixed Media by Erin.

  2. When the stitching is irregular.  When you have little threads hanging out of your stitching (like you see when the sewing machine goes bananas and messes up), that needs a shadow.  For this particular shadow style, you may want to put your shadow on a separate layer and warp it slightly so that your loose ends appear further away from your page than your actual stitching does.  Here’s a link to a tutorial on how to warp shadows on a different layer so you can see what I mean.  There’s a close up of before and after the warped shadow, and the full sized sample.

    unwarped shadow

    warped shadow

    Road Trip Sample 2
    Sample uses items from the Road Trip Collection from Mixed Media by Erin.

  3. When you’re stitching light on light or dark on dark. You don’t need a BIG shadow, but you do need a distinct shadow when you’re stitching on similar colors and tones.  Playing with the color & opacity of your Linear Burn shadow will really give you lots of options.  Here is an example and the settings I used.sample 3 settings final

    sample 3
    Sample uses items from the Road Trip Collection by Aimee Harrison.

  4. When the stitches are the STAR of the cluster. This might take a little manipulation with the color of your shadow, and a few other little tweaks in your layer style menu, but making your stitching the main show on your cluster is a fun and attractive thing to do on your page from time to time.  Here’s what I did.sample 3 settings

    sample 4
    Sample uses items from the LAD: Road Trip SUPERSized Collection, and word strips from one of the LAD: Members Only gifts by Manu Scraps (you can buy them here if you’re not a member, but they’re FREE for members all month long).

  5. When they just look too flat without the shadow. Sometimes your stitching is just a border or a frame, and it looks great without a shadow, depending on the color of the stitching and your background.  Other times you really just want that realistic feel to your page, and the drop shadow is what will really make a difference.  Just a simple shadow, playing with the opacity and distance, will make a huge difference in how it looks on your page.  For this particular one, I also added an inner glow, and that made it a little more distinct.  Here are my settings.sample 5 settings A

    sample 5 settings b

    sample 5
    Sample uses items from the LAD: Road Trip SUPERSized Collection, as well as papers, stitches and signs from the Members Only free gifts from this month.

Shadowing stitches isn’t difficult, and these tips should make your next stitching shadow even easier.  Be sure to jump over to the LAD: Road Trip forum and the SUPERsized Club to grab some tools that will make your stitching and shadows a breeze.