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Embroidery Stitches

17 March, 2017

Free-Patterns-&-Tutorials (1)

Embroidery Stitches

Embroidery is one little word for loads of different stitches and techniques. We re here to help you out with a lot of those stitches so you can be on you way to becoming an embroidery boss.   A Guide to Embroidery Stitches:   Before we review the different stitches, we thought we should explain the different categories of stitches out there. These four stitch categories create different effects on an embroidery project.

  • Outline: These stitches are used for you guessed it outlining the elements of your design.
  • Border: These stitches are used to secure edges as well as for adding textural dimension.
  • Detached: These stitches are used to make decorative details or to fill in open areas of a design.
  • Filling: These stitches are used to create shading or to make a solid filling in a design area.

    Quick Embroidery Stitch Tips:  

  • An easy trick to keeping your thread from twisting while you stitch is to turn your needle a slight quarter to half turn with each stitch.

 

  • If your thread does happen to get twisted, drop your threaded needle and let it hang freely until it unwinds itself.

   

  • Avoid running the thread across the back of the fabric in order to get to a new stitching area. The thread could show through on the front side. We recommended starting and stopping by section instead.

   

  • No mess, no fuss! Remember to keep your hands clean when you stitch. Avoid handling food and drinks as you work.

   

  • Make tiny dots to ensure a uniform stitch size. You can use a tape measure or ruler to measure out your markings so you can be sure they are evenly spaced. The more you stitch, the more you will be able to gauge your stitches without tools like tape measures.

     

  • Work your needle up and down through the fabric when making your stitches.

     

  • Keep your tension even as you work. To create smooth, uniform stitches, pull each stitch with the same amount of tension.

     

  • A note about the amount of tension needed: keep in mind that if your thread is too loose your stitches will appear limp, and if they are too tight it could cause the fabric to pucker, causing the design to become distorted.

     

  • Learn how to use both hands when stitching. It takes time to get used to holding the embroidery hoop and manipulating the needle. You ll find that both hands are often necessary to complete a stitch. For example, the hand holding the hoop is sometimes needed to assist in keeping a loop in place while you are stitching with the other hand.

     

  • A floor or table stand allows you to keep both hands free for stitching. If you find it difficult to use both hands while trying to hold a hoop, try using a stand.

        Running Stitch

Running Stitch Running Stitch

This stitch is often used for outlining and for creating straight and curved lines.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:

 

    • Work from right to left.
    • Bring your needle up at 1, then down at 2, up at 3, and then down at 4. Continue stitching in that pattern.
    • The spaces between your stitches can either be the same length as the stitches themselves or you can make them shorter to create a different look.

   

  • Stitch Tips:
    • Keep an even tension and avoid pulling your thread (this will cause the stitches to pucker).
    • See the Laced Running Stitch for a variation on this stitch.

    Back Stitch

The Back Stitch The Back Stitch

This stitch is often used for outlining and for creating straight and curved lines.

    1. Stitch Guidelines:
      • Work from right to left.
      • Bring your needle up at 1, then back down at 2.
      • Move left and bring your needle up at 3, then back down at 1.
      • Continue stitching from there.

   

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Make shorter stitches for curved lines and shapes.

    Split Stitch

The Split Stitch The Split Stitch

This stitch is often used for outlining, for creating curved lines, or for filling a shape by working rows closely together.

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work from left to right.
    • Bring your needle up at 1, then down at 2.
    • Bring your needle back up at 3, splitting the center of the previous stitch.
    • Take your needle down at 4 and then back up at 2.
    • Continue stitching.

 

  • Stitch Tips:
    • Make shorter stitches for curvy lines.
    • Use this stitch to outline a shape before using the Satin Stitch. This will create a raised effect.

    Stem Stitch

The Stem Stitch The Stem Stitch

This stitch makes a rope-like appearance. It s used for outlining, for creating straight and curved lines, for making stems for plants, or for filling (if the rows are stitched close together).

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work from left to right.
    • Bring your needle up at 1, then down at 2.
    • Bring your needle back up halfway between 1 and 2 at point 3 (just slightly above the first stitch).
    • Be sure to keep the thread below the needle.
    • Continue stitching.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Make smaller stitches for curved lines to maintain a rounded, smooth look.

    Chain Stitch

The Chain Stitch The Chain Stitch

Use this stitch for outlining, making straight and curved lines, or as filler (stitch rows close together if using it for filler).

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work from top to bottom.
    • Bring your needle up at 1 and then re-insert it back into that same hole forming a loop.
    • Bring your needle up at 2 and pull the thread to tighten the loop until the desired shape is achieved.
    • Repeat multiple stitches to create a chain.
    • To end the row, make a small stitch over the last loop to hold it in place and secure the thread on the backside.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Keep your thread tension even with this stitch otherwise your chain might look inconsistent.

    Couching

Couching Couching

This stitch requires two threads: a thicker foundation thread (also called the laid thread) and a thinner thread (called the counching thread). Use this stitch to outline shapes, create straight and curvy lines, spirals, bold dimensional accents, and decorative borders.

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring the foundation thread onto the front of the fabric and place it along the design line.
    • Bring the couching thread up under the foundation thread. Make a tiny stitch over the thread, going back into or very close to the entry hole.
    • Continue making evenly spaced stitches over the foundation thread to anchor the foundation thread in place.
    • To finish couching, bring the foundation thread onto the backside and secure it.
    • Secure couching thread on the backside.

 

  • Stitch Tips:
    • Use a matching colored thread if you want the couching stitches to blend in. Alternatively you can choose a contrasting color for a bolder look.
    • Use DMC cotton floss (1 ply) to couch down solid color foundation threads and use DMC Metallic Embroidery Spool Thread (1 ply) to couch down metallic foundation threads.

    Blanket Stitch

The Blanket Stitch The Blanket Stitch

Use this stitch to create straight and gently curved lines as well as borders and finished edges.

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work from left to right.
    • Bring your needle up at 1, then down at 2.
    • Bring your needle up at 3 keeping the thread looped under the needle.
    • Pull the thread through and shape your stitch as desired.
    • Repeat multiple stitches until complete.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • To create an even stitching line, keep the height of the stitches the same throughout.
    • Conversely, if you want to vary the look of the stitch, change the height of each stitch by making one long one and one short one.

    Whip Stitch

The Whip Stitch The Whip Stitch

This stitch is used for seaming fabrics (either right or wrong sides together). The stitches should be about 1/16 apart and only as deep as necessary to create a firm seam.

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2. Make sure to pierce both pieces of fabric to bind them together.
    • Bring your needle back up at 3 and down at 4. Continue stitching the seam.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Leave a tail of thread when you start. Work several stitches over it to secure and hide the thread.

  Ladder Stitch

The Ladder Stitch The Ladder Stitch

This is used in appliqu and to bind two seams together.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring your needle up at 1 and through the fabric a short distance to 2. Keep your thread hidden under the fabric (see the dashed lines).
    • Bring you needle over to 3 and repeat.
    • Only the vertical stitches should show on the front side of the fabric. The stitches indicated here by dashed lines will be hidden in the base of the fabric (or in the folds of the appliqu ).

  Laced Running Stitch

The Laced Running Stitch The Laced Running Stitch

Use this stitch for creating borders or a decorative outline.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Stitch a line of running stitches.
    • Bring the lacing thread up at 1 and lace it under the next running stitch.
    • Continue lacing the thread up and down through the running stitches, keeping the loops even.
    • To finish the lacing, bring the lacing thread onto the backside under the center of the last stitch.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Use a blunt tip tapestry needle for the lacing thread. This will help prevent you from piercing the fabric of the running stitch threads.

    Coral Stitch

The Coral Stitch The Coral Stitch

Use this stitch when you want to create details like decorative borders, foliage, and plant stems.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Working from right to left, hold the working thread to the left of the starting point (or the last stitch).
    • Insert the needle into the fabric above the working thread and bring the tip of the needle out just under the thread.
    • Wrap your thread around the needle from left to right and pull the needle through the resulting loop.

    Cross Stitch

The Cross Stitch The Cross Stitch

This stitch can be used for creating borders and filling if worked in adjacent rows.  

  • Stitch Guidelines to Stitch a Line
    • Stitching from left to right, bring your needle up at 1, down at 2, then up at 3 and down at 4.
    • Continue stitching across to the end of the line.
    • Start back stitching from right to left. Make crosses by bringing the needle up at 5 and down at 6.
    • Continue until all crosses have been stitched.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Be sure your cross stitch on the cross is in the same direction throughout your project.

    Upright Cross Stitch

The Upright Cross Stitch The Upright Cross Stitch

Use this stitch when creating borders, fillings, or decorative designs.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work left to right.
    • To create a horizontal stitch:
      • Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2.
    • To create a vertical stitch:
      • Bring your needle up at 3 and down at 4.
    • Create the next upright cross stitch. Bring your needle up at 5 and down at 6.
    • Bring your needle back up at 7 and down at 8.
    • Continue stitching.

    Herringbone Stitch

The Herringbone Stitch The Herringbone Stitch

This stitch is used for stitching borders, edgings, or for stitching over a ribbon or braid to hold it down.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work from left to right.
    • Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2.
    • Bring you needle up at 3 and down at 4. This will create an elongated cross stitch.
    • Bring your needle up at 5 and continue.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • We recommend you mark two parallel lines with a water soluble pen to keep your stitch height uniform.

    Chevron Stitch

The Chevron Stitch The Chevron Stitch

You can use this stitch to make borders, for edging, or for stitching over a ribbon or braid to hold it down.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work from left to right.
    • Bring your needle up at 1, then down at 2.
    • Bring the tip of your needle back through the fabric, halfway between 1 and 2, at point 3.
    • Bring the needle up to 4 and make a backstitch by bringing your needle up from 5 and then down at 6.
    • Bring the tip of your needle back through the fabric, halfway between 5 and 6, at point 7.
    • Bring your needle down at 8 and repeat the sequence.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Mark two parallel lines with a water soluble pen to keep the stitch height uniform.

    Cloud Filling Stitch

The Cloud Filling Stitch The Cloud Filling Stitch

Use this stitch when you want to fill spaces in.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Lay a groundwork of small, evenly spaced vertical stitches, alternating the placement of the stitches as shown in the diagram.
    • Weave the thicker, secondary thread through the network of stitches in rows.
    • When starting from the right, thread your needle under the first vertical stitch then bring your needle through the vertical stitch to the lower right. Next, thread your needle under the next vertical stitch to the upper right. Continue stitching in a zig-zag motion to the end of the row.
    • Work the next row in the opposite direction.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Use an embroidery hoop to keep your tension even. Don t pull too tightly when weaving your secondary thread through your vertical stitches.

    Feather Stitch

The Feather Stitch The Feather Stitch

This stitch is used for making decorative border edges, creating seam embellishments, and for stitching foliage and stem designs.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Work vertically from top to bottom.
    • Bring your needle up at 1 and back down at the right at 2, leaving a loop on the front.
    • Bring your needle back up at 3 and pull the thread to shape the loop as desired.
    • Insert your needle to the right of 4 at point 5, leaving a loop of thread on the front.
    • Bring your needle up at 6 and pull the thread to shape the loop.
    • Take the next stitch to the left and continue stitching.
    • To finish, make a small stitch over the last loop.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • To create stitches with even widths, mark 4 parallel lines to use as a guide. Be sure to use a removable marker because the stitches won t fully cover the lines.

    Lazy Daisy Stitch (also known as the Detached Chain Stitch)

The Lazy Daisy Stitch The Lazy Daisy Stitch

Use this stitch to create flowers, or use single stitches to make leaves. This stitch is similar to the chain stitch, but the loops are detached instead of connected.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Come up at 1 and back down in the same hole or right next to point 1, forming a loop on the front side.
    • Bring your needle up at 2 and pull the thread to shape the loop as you desire.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Pulling your thread tighter will create a straighter looking stitch. Looser thread creates a more rounded loop.
    • If creating a flower, finish the center with a cluster of French knots.

    Fly Stitch

The Fly Stitch The Fly Stitch

Stitch in rows for edging, or singly for accents, plants and foliage, decorative lines, and interesting filling.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2, leaving a loop.
    • Come up at 3 and with the needle over the loop, pull the thread to make a V.
    • Go down at 4 to anchor the V shape.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Lengthen the anchor stitch to form a Y.

      Seed Stitch

The Seed Stitch The Seed Stitch

Use this stitch to fill in spaces, create flower centers, or to make background textures such as leaves, snow, and sand.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • The seed stitch is created by making two small stitches side by side. Then place them randomly to fill in an area.
      • To create this stitch:
        • Come up at 1 and down at 2.
        • Come up at 3 and down at 4.
        • Continue grouping your stitches together randomly and at different angles. This will create a scattered seed look.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • If you are trying to create a decorative border stitch, make sure your stitches are made in even rows.

    French Knot

The French Knot The French Knot

The French knot can be used for creating decorative dots, for filling flower centers, or for making leaves, plants, and eyes.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring your needle up at 1.
    • Hold your thread taut with the other hand and wrap it twice around the end of the needle.
    • Gently pull your thread to tighten the wrapped portion of thread. While holding it taut, insert your needle next to 1.
    • Pull your thread through onto the backside until the knot is formed and lies securely on the surface of the fabric.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • If you d like to make a larger knot, wrap the thread around your needle a couple of extra times or use thicker thread.

    Bullion Knot

The Buillon Knot The Buillon Knot

The bullion knot is usually used to create decorative dots, leaves, and plants. This is similar to the French knot in that you will be looping your thread around your needle, but with the bullion knot you ll do it more times. This creates a wormlike look.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Make a back stitch equal to the length of the bullion knot you require.
    • Bring the needle out at 1, but don t pull the needle out all the way.
    • Loop the thread around the needle point as many times as is needed in order to equal the length of the back stitch.
    • Holding your left thumb on the coiled thread, turn your needle back to 1 and insert it in the same place.
    • Pull the thread through the fabric until the bullion knot lies flat.

    Colonial Knot

The Colonial Knot The Colonial Knot

Use this stitch to create decorative accents. If you make these stitches close together you can use it to form lines and fill in shapes.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring your needle up through the fabric and wrap the thread up, over, and behind the needle to form a figure 8 (around the needle).
    • Insert the tip of the needle back through the fabric, close to where it first came up, but not in the same hole. Pull your thread carefully until a knot is formed then push the needle to the back and pull the thread through.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Use this stitch instead of a French knot if you want to create a slightly larger and higher knot.

    Star Stitch

The Star Stitch The Star Stitch

The star stitch is often used to create (you guessed it) stars. It can also be used however, to make flowers and other decorative accents. Make the star stitch in a row to create a beautiful border or disperse them to create a random design of stars.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Starting at the top, bring your needle up at 1 and down to the center at 2.
    • Bring the needle up at 3 and down to the center at 2.
    • Continue stitching in a clockwise direction until you have 8 evenly placed stitches creating a lovely star.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • If you want to create an eyelet effect, tighten the tension on each stitch. This will create an opening in the center. This technique works well on evenweave fabrics.

    Satin Stitch

The Satin Stitch The Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is often used for making a solid filling in shapes. This stitch is also great for monogramming.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Bring your needle up at 1, down at 2, then back up right next to 1 and down right next to 2.
    • Place your stitches close together to fill in an area.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • Make sure your thread lays flat and doesn t twist at all. This will ensure a smooth look.
    • To raise the stitching, make a split stitch just inside the outline of the shape before you start.

    Padded Satin Stitch

The Padded Satin Stitch The Padded Satin Stitch

This stitch is used for filling in shapes.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • Make a cluster of seed stitches.
    • Stitch the satin stitch over to create a gorgeous raised look.

    Long and Short Stitch

The Long and Short Stitch The Long and Short Stitch

This stitch is used for filling in larger shapes, especially to create color shading.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • First work a row of alternating long and short satin stitches. (Be sure to keep the upper edge of the design line even.)
    • Next, work a second row of long, even-length stitches into the short stitches of the first row, passing your needle through the tip of the stitch above.
    • Continue stitching rows until the shape is nearly filled and the last row of long stitches are worked along the bottom of the design line.
    • Stitch the last row with short stitches to fill in the open area along the bottom.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • To achieve shading, change the thread color as needed by row.

    Beading   Beading can create wonderful textural details on your embroidery project. DMC Beading Needles are thin enough to accommodate most bead holes for easy threading right onto your needle.  

  • Stitch Guidelines:
    • To stitch on a bead use 1-ply matching colored floss.
    • Knot one end of the thread and thread your beading needle.
    • Bring your needle up through the fabric to the right side and thread a bead onto the needle (slide it down to the fabric for correct positioning and then continue with your stitch).
    • Continue sewing beads using this running stitch.

 

  • Stitch Tip:
    • On straight lines depending on the size of the bead several beads can be threaded on the needle and then sewn on in a single stitch.
    • Every 3 or 4 beads, take a back stitch to secure your work.
    • Always use good quality glass beads for your embroidery project as plastic beads can melt during ironing.

   

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