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In fiction, many creepy things need to have something unnerving about them, without going into outright gore or Scenery Gorn. The solution? Stitch it up! Stitches often carry unsettling implications, such as the notion that the being or object stitched together was never meant to be reassembled, or was cobbled together from different sources not meant to be combined; the idea that they resemble or close nasty scars; and that their conspicuous appearance connotes shoddy, off-putting repair, or merely looks out of place and strange when used stylistically.

This trope is often used in depictions of Frankenstein's Monster, but it's not exclusive.

Compare Good Scars, Evil Scars, Glasgow Grin, and Mouth Stitched Shut, which occasionally overlaps.


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Examples

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     Anime & Manga 

     Comic Books 
  • Batman villain The Scarecrow is often shown with a stitched-together outfit, and sometimes his burlap mask is included.
    • The Dollmaker, another Batman villain, stitches together human skin in horrifying ways, including a mask and tapestries.
  • Flash enemy Rag Doll in his modern appearance is made to look like a demented rag doll, with yarn-like hair, button eyes, and plenty of stitches all around his body.
  • Judge Dredd: As part of their cadaverish nature, the uniforms of the Dark Judges are held together by crude stitches rather than the zippers on the regular Judges.
  • Ghost Rider: Marvel Comics' Scarecrow also has these.
  • The Punisher: Jigsaw, the closest thing the Punisher has to an Arch-Nemesis, was originally a handsome mobster named Billy 'The Beaut' Russo until he had a run-in with Frank Castle. Castle left him alive to send a message to organized crime after knocking him through a glass windowpane, an act that reduces Russo's face to a jigsaw puzzle-like mess of scars.
  • Simon Dark, a heroic Frankenstein's Monster in The DCU, has visible scars on his face, and presumably elsewhere.

     Fan Works 
  • Fan interpretations of the Tails Doll from Sonic R will often emphasize the stitches on its body for horror.
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    Films — Animated 
  • 9 invokes this, being set in a grim universe populated by rag doll "stitchpunks" and featuring a sewing-themed threat, the Seamstress.
  • In Coraline, the Other Wybie's mouth is stitched into a forced smile. The sewing thread used for the button eyes of the Other World's denizens also counts.
  • It's subtle, but Emily's wedding dress from Corpse Bride is haphazardly sewn back together.
  • Frank from Hotel Transylvania has stitches all over his body. These apparently don't hold well, as he mails his disassembled parts to the Hotel, and falls apart after an extra-high dive into the pool.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas
    • Sally is a Frankenstein-inspired rag doll whose skin and dress are made of stitched-together cloth. She takes advantage of this by undoing these stitches to detach her limbs and let them act independently.
    • Oogie Boogie, the antagonist, also displays these. He's a walking burlap sack with prominent stitches along his sides and above his mouth.
    • While it's not the case, Jack Skellington's mouth can be mistaken for these, to the point where the Collector's Edition DVD cover mistakenly portrays it as such.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Batman Returns, Catwoman has a costume that is roughly stitched together from random torn pieces of PVC, symbolising the unstable nature of her new persona after her old self was destroyed by trauma... as well as allowing for sexy Clothing Damage when the stitches start to fail.
  • In Bride of Chucky the titular killer doll is revived after getting his body and face stitched back together, giving him a new iconic look that carries on in the following Child's Play movies.
  • In Dead Birds, Clyde finds a creepy ragdoll with stitching that makes it look like the eyes and mouth have been sewn shut. This turns out to be Foreshadowing as Clyde is eventually strung up as a Scary Scarecrow with his eyes and mouth stitched shut.
  • Frankenstein gives us the most famous and popular example, with its portrayal of the Monster.
  • Sergio from The Last Circus finally becomes ugly on the inside and out after getting severely mutilated to the face. It gets worse in the ending when he puts on makeup to fully become the Monster Clown he is.
  • Sam from Trick 'r Treat wears a stitched-up burlap mask with visible seams.
  • Young Frankenstein parodies this element of the Monster, and as such, the stitched-up scars are replaced with zippers.

    Literature 
  • The Igors in the Discworld believe in advertising: whilst it is pointed out that they have ointments that can eliminate scar tissue in fifteen minutes, in the main they prefer to advertise their status as surgeons of last resort by wearing lots of visible scars and stitches with pride. Their distaff side, the Igorinas, are the ones who tend to actually use the scar cream. However, every Igorina will subtly advertise her Igor nature with a single, subdued and discreet, stitched scar somewhere on her face or visible body. It's like having a discreet membership tattoo.

    Newspaper Comics 

     Theater 
  • Most theater productions of Arsenic and Old Lace will give Jonathan stitches on his face to help drive the idea that he's had plastic surgery on his face and now "he looks like Boris Karloff". The script does not call for stitches, merely saying he looks like Karloff, whom modern audiences will likely know best for his role as Frankenstein's Monster. The original production had the benefit of actually having Karloff himself playing Jonathan.

    Toys 
  • Beanie Baby Frankenteddy is made to look like a greenish bear with multiple pieces of fabric making up his body. Since he had several color variations, the fake stitches on his body also vary, but each version has a few scattered around his body.
  • Lalaloopsy doll Scraps Stitched 'N Sewn has a few on her skirt and skin in reference to the famous Monster.
  • Many of LEGO's minifigures of the Monster have these, but the first three versions use more amusing methods to close the forehead.
  • LEGO minifigures of the Batman Scarecrow have all featured these, but his 2016 Batman: The Animated Series variant takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Monster High characters Frankie Stein, her sister Alivia Stein, and Hoodude Voodoo naturally use these.
  • The Once Upon A Zombie line of zombified fairytale princess dolls features stitching in place of more serious gore.
  • Playmobil has made several zombie/Frankenstein's monster figures whose face and clothes are stitched together.
  • A line of bizarrely cute plush toys called the Animazombs, zombified animals with gruesome body-part separation features, has these on each of the animals, and Samuel the meerkat's largest line of stitches hides a zipper that allows you to remove his intestines.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner toon "I Killed Pom Pom" shows Pom Pom being (temporarily) popped. A possible scenario is shown with a zombie Pom Pom returning, with the many pieces of his inflatable body being crudely stitched together.

    Web Original 
  • Stitches from Ruby Quest is a bear that has been stitched back together.

    Western Animation 

     Other 
  • Any depiction of a cloth Voodoo Doll is bound to include visible stitching on the body.
  • Occasionally, a Wicked Witch will have a shabby, stitched-up outfit to emphasize her outcast status.
  • Spirit Halloween:
    • The Evil Rag Doll looks like a real doll but is covered in stitches and scars.
    • The Deady Bear and Deady Teddy props also feature some stitches on their bodies.
  • Scary Scarecrows tend to exploit this, as friendly scarecrows often have innocent stitched smiles and patchwork outfits.


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