Making My Very Own Sewing Brushes for Illustrator

During a print design project for a fabric shop. I had an idea for how I wanted the design to turn out, but I couldn’t find the right brushes anywhere. So, I decided to make my own sewing pattern brush for Illustrator, from scratch.

I found an excellent step-by-step guide that showed me the principles of how to make the illustrator brush – though their example was much simpler than what I needed to create. I was designing a double sided business card, and I wanted to do realistic stitches on the front and back. Neat on one side and scruffy on the other, replicating real machine stitching.

I carefully made each section of the sewing pattern with rectangles, testing it out as a brush as I went along. When it was right, I copied all the sections and rounded the corners using the pencil tool, to give the stitches a natural feel. Then I re-made the brush with these new parts. I also tweaked the settings, so I can use the stroke colour to define the colour of the stitching when I use the brush. The first one I made was the simpler of the two. Here’s how it turned out:

Double Stitch Brush

Next, I copied my original rectangular sewing parts and added extra stitches in. Adjusting the spacing until I had a realistic looking overlock stitch, with the zig zag as well as extra stitches along the lines. I created new corners and endings with lots of overlapping lines and short loose threads. Then I repeated the step above with the pencil, to make the stitch shapes more natural, and re-made my brush.

Reverse Double Stitch Brush

I didn’t stop there. My client wasn’t keen on the purposefully scruffy backing stitch, so I went ahead and made a few more different stitching patterns. Now I have a whole set of fantastic sewing brushes for illustrator. I can digitally ‘sew’ any lines I like or apply the stitches to outline shapes and paths.

Take a look at the flyer design I created with all my new sewing brushes.

Best of all, I know my sewings brushes are unique, so my designs will be too.

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