Basic Embroidery Stitches Everyone Should Know

Whether you’re a full-blown embroiderer or just someone who dabbles, these stitches are must-knows for all your projects! See our how-to instructions and illustrated diagrams to learn new embroidery stitches!

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Backstitch

A great stitch for outlines, this simple stitch works best when a very precise line is necessary.

To backstitch, pull the needle up at A, insert it back into the fabric at B, and bring it up at C. Continue in the same manner.


 

blanket-stitch.jpg.rendition.largest.jpgBlanket Stitch

This decorative stitch can be a bit confusing at first, but with a little practice, you’ll pick up the overlapping pattern and be stitching with ease.
To blanket-stitch, pull the needle up at A, form a reverse L shape with the floss, and hold the angle of the L shape in place with your thumb. Push the needle down into the fabric at B and come up at C to secure the stitch. Repeat for as many blanket stitches as desired.


 

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Chain Stitch

Versatile as a decorative stitch, outline, or border, this fun stitch is a series of loops joined together to resemble a chain.
To chain-stitch, pull the needle up at A, form a U shape with the floss, and hold the shape in place with your thumb. Push the needle back into the fabric at B, about 1/8″ from A, and come up at C. Repeat for as many chain stitches as desired.


 

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Circular Couching Stitch

1. To make a circular couching stitch, stitch a series of straight stitches that share the edge of an arch or circle.

2. Lace the thread underneath the straight stitches and pull it to form a circle.

3. Bring your needle up next to the center of one of the straight stitches (A), bring the thread over the straight stitch, and then go back down on the other side of the stitch (B) to tack down the straight stitch. Repeat on each straight stitch.

4. Lace the thread underneath each straight stitch, outside the stitches from Step 3.

5. Pull thread to form an outer circle.

 


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Cross-Stitch

Gaining its popularity from charted designs stitched on the uniform squares of Aida cloth, cross-stitch works well for free-form embroidery on other fabrics as well. It’s simply two straight stitches crossed at the centers.
To cross-stitch, pull the needle up at A. Insert it back into the fabric at B, bring it up at C, and push the needle down again at D.


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Fly Stitch

From the back of the fabric, pull the needle up at A and form a loop of thread. Holding the loop in place, insert the needle back into the fabric at B and pull it up again inside the loop at C. Push the needle down again at D to make a straight stitch that will hold the loop in place.


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French Knot

This raised knot makes a nice dimensional accent when stitched alone, sprinkled throughout a design, or grouped together to fill a space.
To make a French knot, bring the needle up at A. Wrap the floss around the needle two or three times without twisting it. Insert the needle back into the fabric at B, about 1/16″ away from A. Gently push the wraps down the needle to meet the fabric and then pull the needle and floss through the fabric slowly and smoothly.


 

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Lazy Daisy

One loop, similar to the chain stitch, is tacked down with a tiny straight stitch.
To make a lazy daisy stitch, pull the needle up at A and form a loop of floss on the surface. Holding loop in place, insert needle back into fabric at B, about 1/16″ away from A. Bring needle tip out at
C and cross it over the trailing floss, keeping the floss flat. Pull needle and trailing floss until loop lies flat against the fabric. Push the needle through to the back at D to secure the loop.


 

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Offset Backstitch

A variation of the traditional backstitch, this decorative stitch consists of backstitches that are slightly staggered.
To offset-backstitch, pull the needle up at A, insert it back into the fabric at B, and bring it up at C, slightly to the left or right of the first stitch. Push the needle back down into fabric at D in a straight line with C. Continue making stitches that alternate left and right.


 

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Pinwheel Stitch

Lightly draw a circle on the fabric the size of the desired pinwheel. From the back of the fabric, pull the needle up at A, form a reverse L shape with the thread, and hold angle of L shape in place with your thumb. Push the needle down at B (the center of the circle), come up at C, and, crossing over the trailing thread to secure the stitch, again form an L shape with the thread. Push the needle down again at B, come up at D, and secure the stitch in the same manner.


 

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Running Stitch

A simple stitch perfect for borders and outlines, this stitch resembles a dashed line.
To make a running stitch, pull the needle up at A and insert it back into the fabric at B. Continue in the same manner, loading several stitches on the needle at a time. Leave about a stitch’s width between stitches.


 

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Satin Stitch

When you want to fill an area with solid stitching, the satin stitch is the perfect choice and is recognized by its closely spaced straight stitches.
To satin-stitch, fill in the design area with straight stitches, stitching from edge to edge and placing the stitches side by side.


 

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Split Stitch

From the back of the fabric, pull the needle up at A, make a short straight stitch, and go back down at B. Push the needle up at C, piercing through the center of the first straight stitch; then make a straight stitch and go down at D. Continue in the same manner.


 

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Star Stitch

From the back of the fabric pull the needle up at A. Insert it back into fabric at B, and bring it up again at C. Push needle down again at D to complete a cross-stitch. Pull the needle up at E and insert it back into the fabric at F. Pull the needle up at G and insert it back into the fabric at H to complete a smaller cross-stitch that crosses over the first cross-stitch as shown.


 

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Stem Stitch

From the back of your fabric pull your needle up at A, then insert it into fabric at B, about 3/8″ away from A. Holding the thread out of the way, bring the needle back up at C and pull thread through so it lies flat against fabric. The distances between points A and C and between points C and B should be equal. Pull with equal tautness after each stitch.


 

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Straight Stitch

Sometimes all you need is a basic stitch. The straight stitch is just one stitch, stitched in any direction.
To straight-stitch, pull the needle up at A. Insert needle back into the fabric at B. Continue in the same manner.


 

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Whipstitch

Bring needle up at A; push it down at B on the background. Pull needle up at C and continue in same manner around entire shape.

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