Basic embroidery Stitches

This comprehensive guide covers the 25 basic embroidery stitches every beginner needs to know, with clear instructions and step-by-step illustrations.
Basic embroidery stitches
Basic embroidery stitches

25 Basic embroidery Stitches You Need to Know

Learning basic embroidery is both fun and necessary if you want entering into fashion industry or craft world. embroidery is a type of needlework wherein thread or yarn is used to decorate fabrics.

People of ancient age all over the world used to wear embroidered garments. It is a striking fact that there are no changes of materials or techniques which can be felt or interpreted as advances from a primitive to a later stage. In fact, we find high standard of craftsmanship in early centuries works which are rarely found in later times.

Table of Contents:

A Brief History of embroidery: From Ancient Egypt to Modern Day

embroidery has been around for centuries, with its origins dating back to ancient Egypt. The craft has evolved over time, with different cultures putting their own unique spin on it. Today, embroidery is enjoyed by people all over the world and is used to create everything from clothes to home decor.

In earlier centuries, embroidery was a skill marking for girls’ path in conveying rank and social standing. If historically viewed, doing embroidery was a pastime, activity or hobby, intended just for women as they were to suppose to be at home and their duty was to maintain the households. Though, for marginal groups, many people survived by doing embroidery as profession.

All the embroidery Materials You Could Possibly Need

  • embroidery needle-needles of sizes from 1 to 10 are used most.
  • embroidery floss- 6 strands of thread twisted together is called floss. For good embroidery good quality of floss is needed.
  • Scissors
  • embroidery hoop or frame – A hoop is needed to set the fabric during embroidery, so that, the fabric stays taut.

Materials needed for embroidery

How to do Basic embroidery Stitches

Watch the video to go through step by step process of doing different types of embroidery stitches. Get started in the wonderful world of embroidery with this helpful video that covers all the essential stitches.

The Different Types of embroidery Techniques

Depending on time, location and materials available, embroidery can be found of different types, though the basic stitches remain almost same. So, if you are a beginner you must learn these following basic stitches for mastery and to be able to create wonderful embroidered pieces.

These are

Running stitch

embroidery is a form of needlework that has been around for centuries. It is used to decorate clothing, linens, and other items with designs that are created using a needle and thread. The most basic form of embroidery is the run stitch, which is a simple straight stitch that is used to create lines and outlines in a design.

You can say that among all the existing embroidery stitches, running stitch or the run stitch is the easiest. It is very common stitch in Kantha embroidery of Bengal. Traditional Sashiko embroidery of Japan is also done using only running stitch.

This stitch is done by running the needle and thread up and down the cloth at a particular distance. To get the perfect look of the stitch, keep the length of the stitches as identical as possible. Running stitch is also known as straight stitch.

The run stitch can be used to create a variety of different designs, and it is a versatile stitch that every embroiderer should know.

Back stitch

Back stitch is done by taking the thread backward direction. There are no spaces between each stitch, giving a look of a continuous line. Like the running stitch this stitch also has variations. Back stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches and is worked by taking small stitches backward and forwards on the fabric. It is usually worked in a straight line but can be used to follow a curve. It can be worked in a continuous line or as individual stitches.

Threaded Running Stitch

The embroidery stitch known as the threaded running stitch is one of the most basic and commonly used stitches in hand embroidery. This stitch is also known by a variety of other names, including the Holbein stitch, the Outline stitch. The threaded running stitch is worked by bringing the needle up through the fabric from the back side, then taking a small stitch on the surface of the fabric and bringing the needle back down through the fabric to the back side. The thread is then pulled tight, but not so tight that it pucks the fabric. This stitch is typically worked in a straight line, but can also be worked in a curved line.

It is basically done by passing the needle in and out of the fabric at regular intervals. The thread is then pulled through to the back of the fabric and the needle is inserted again at the same point, forming a loop.

It is a variation of running stitch. After doing running stitch, another thread of the same color of the running stitch or any contrast color is to pass through the stitches, which will create a rope like form. It is very decorative stitch, can create beautiful borderlines.

Run Stitch and Back Stitch

Stem stitch

Stem stitch is one of the most common embroidery stitches. It creates a thin line is generally used to form plant and flower stem. It is easy to create both straight and curved lines. It is very common stitch of Kantha embroidery of Bengal. It is a versatile stitch that can be worked in straight or curved lines and can be used to create a variety of different effects.

Chain stitch

It is one of the oldest stitches practiced over the world. Just like its name, this stitch creates a chain like appearance. Just like run and stem stitch, chain stitch is very common in Kantha embroidery. This stitch is also done dominantly in Kashidakari embroidery of Kashmir.

Chain stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches and is worked in a continuous line. It can be worked in a straight line or a curved line and can be used to outline a shape or to fill in an area.

Lazy daisy stitch

Lazy daisy stitch is one of the most basic and commonly used embroidery stitches. It is a simple stitch that can be used to create a variety of patterns and designs.

This stitch is worked by bringing the needle up through the fabric, then making a small loop with the thread. The needle is then inserted back into the fabric a short distance from the first stitch and brought back up through the loop.

Lazy daisy stitch can be used to create a variety of patterns and designs. It is a simple stitch that can be worked in a variety of colors. This stitch is worked by bringing the needle up through the fabric, then making a small loop with the thread. The needle is then inserted back into the fabric a short distance from the first stitch and brought back up through the loop.

It is almost like chain stitch but detached. So, it’s another name is detached chain stitch. It is single chain stitch, so we can use it to create a flower form. In fact, it is the simplest stitch for embroidered flowers.

Basic embroidery stitches

French knot stitch

If you're new to embroidery, you may be wondering what a French knot is. French knots are one of the most basic embroidery stitches, and they're great for adding texture and dimension to your project.

To make a French knot, start by bringing your needle up through the fabric. Then, wrap the thread around the needle a few times i.e. give 5 to 7 knots in one stitch. Finally, insert the needle back into the fabric and pull it through until the knot is tight against the fabric.

French knots are a versatile stitch that can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them to create flowers, leaves, and other embellishments. They're also great for filling in small spaces. If you're looking to add some interest to your next embroidery project, give French knots a try! This stitch is used to do little flowers or as a filling stitch to fill in small circles or sometimes the center of flowers.

Bullion knot stitch

It is a variation of French knots. This stitch gives comparatively large knotted look. For this stitch give 12 to 15 knots in one stitch. Generally bullion stitch is used create petals of flowers especially of little rose flowers.

Basic embroidery stitches

Hem or blind stitch

It is one of the oldest stitches. Hem stitch, as its name defines, is used in the hemline of a fabric to give a finished and smooth edge, though this stitch is not shown from the right side of the fabric. So, it’s another name is blind stitch. After folding the edge of the fabric, hem stitch is done from the wrong side of the fabric.

Feather stitch

Feather stitch is a decorative stitch, looks like a series of interconnected “V”s. This stitch can be used with embellishments like beads, pearls, French knots on its head. This stitch can create decorative borderlines.

The feather stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches and is used to create a variety of effects. It can be used to create lines, to fill in areas, or to add texture to a design. The stitch is worked by bringing the needle up through the fabric and then taking a small stitch to the side. The needle is then brought up through the fabric again and the stitch is repeated.

Satin stitch

Satin stitch is very common in almost every country. This stitch is used in traditional Phulkari embroidery of Punjab. It is a filling stitch used to fill any spaces, or flowers, plants etc with different colors. Making embroidery with satin stitches gives a very colorful and vibrant look. Satin stitch is very simple just like straight stitch. But it becomes messy if you cannot maintain the neatness on the edges of the pattern.

Satin stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches and is used to create a smooth, shiny surface. It is worked by stitching close together stitches over a path, typically using a straight stitch. The resulting line of stitching is very smooth and can be used to create curved or straight lines.

Basic embroidery stitchesBlanket stitch

Blanket stitch is one of the most versatile and commonly used stitches in embroidery. It can be used to finish raw edges, attach appliques, and create decorative designs.

This stitch gets its name from its original use - to finish the edges of blankets and quilts. The stitch is worked around the edge of the fabric, creating a finished, decorative edge.

While blanket stitch is most commonly used in embroidery, it can also be used in other needlecrafts such as cross-stitch and needlepoint.

This stitch is relatively easy to master, and with a little practice, you'll be able to create beautiful projects using this versatile stitch.

As described earlier, traditionally, it is used to fill and embellish the edges of blanket, thus this name. In many regions, this stitch is used while doing appliqué embroidery, as it secures the edges.

Looped blanket stitch

Looped blanket stitch is a basic embroidery stitch that is worked by passing the needle over two threads of the fabric and then under one thread. The needle is then passed back over the one thread to form a loop. This stitch is worked in a continuous manner, forming a line of stitches that resemble loops.

This stitch is almost looked like blanket stitch, though in addition of loops. It is used in decorative purpose, to create embroidered flowers.

Basic embroidery stitches

Herringbone stitch

Herringbone stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches and is often used to create decorative borders. It's a versatile stitch that can be used for both straight and curved lines.

To create a herringbone stitch, start by making a small knot in the end of the thread. Then, insert the needle into the fabric where you want the stitch to start. Pull the needle through to the back of the fabric. Next, insert the needle into the fabric a short distance away from where it first came out. Pull the needle through to the back of the fabric. You should now have a small loop of thread on the back of the fabric. To complete the stitch, insert the needle into the loop of thread and pull it through. Now, you should have a small stitch on the front of the fabric. Repeat these steps to create additional stitches.

It is made of crosses though not in the middle, but in the edges of the pattern. It is a filler stitch that can fill both large and small pattern in less time. To create embroidered leaves, we can use this versatile embroidery stitch. It is commonly used in traditionally Kantha embroidery.

Fly stitch

Just like the name, this stitch creates a look like a bird is flying or English alphabet “Y”. With this stitch you can create embroidered leaves or flying birds.

The fly stitch is one of the most basic embroidery stitches, and it has a long history. This stitch is often used to create a variety of simple geometric shapes. It is also used in freeform embroidery and can be combined with other stitches to create more complex designs.

Basic embroidery stitches

Rice Stitch

Rice stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches that is used to create a textured look on fabric. It is worked by making small stitches that resemble grains of rice. This stitch can be worked in a straight line or in a curved line. Rice stitch can be used to fill in small areas or to outline a design.

It can be said variation of seed stitch. But unlike seed stitch it is done in haphazard manner to fill a pattern. It does not follow any particular line or pattern. It looks like chaos of rice grains over the floor, thus its name.

Split stitch or Opus Anglicanum

It is very old stitch and was very popular in medieval England known as Opus Anglicanum. This stitch creates a continuous line, almost like a back stitch. Along with running stitch hand stitch is also used in quilting.

Basic embroidery stitches

Woven wheel stitch

There are a variety of basic embroidery stitches, and one of the most popular is the woven wheel stitch. This stitch is created by first making a small loop with the thread. Next, the needle is inserted into the fabric at the base of the loop and pulled through to the top. Finally, the needle is inserted into the loop and pulled through to create a small knot.

This stitch is often used to create decorative borders or patterns on fabric. It's a relatively simple stitch to master, and it can add a lot of interest to your embroidery projects.

As it looks like a spider’s web, it is also called Woven spider wheel. It is very decorative and easy stitch. It can be done for embellishments, or can create flower forms.

Couching

Couching stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches. It is a simple stitch that can be used to add texture and dimension to your embroidery. Couching stitch is worked by laying a thread or yarn over the fabric and then stitching over it with a contrasting thread. This stitch is often used to add detail to floral designs or to outline a shape.

Couching and woven wheel

Whipped Back or Whipped Running Stitch

embroidery is a beautiful way to add a personal touch to any piece of fabric. There are many different stitches that can be used to create a unique design. One of the most basic stitches is the whipped running stitch.

The whipped running stitch is a simple stitch that can be used to create outlining or to fill in a design. To create this stitch, you will need a needle and thread. Begin by threading the needle and tying a knot at the end. Next, take a small stitch in the fabric. Then, instead of pulling the thread all the way through, leave a small loop.

To complete the stitch, take the needle and insert it into the loop. Then, pull the thread until the loop is tight. Continue taking small stitches, leaving a loop after each one. To finish the stitch, take the needle and insert it into the first loop. Pull the thread until the loop is tight and then knot the thread.

The whipped running stitch is a simple but versatile stitch that can be used in a variety of ways. Try it out the next time you are doing some basic embroidery!

It is also a variation of threaded running stitch. But we use back stitch instead of running stitch here. So, it is back stitch with twisted effect.

Fishbone Stitch

embroidery is a craft that has been around for centuries and is enjoyed by people of all ages. There are many different stitches that can be used in embroidery, and the fishbone stitch is one of the most basic.

The fishbone stitch is worked by bringing the needle up through the fabric at the start of the stitch, then making a small diagonal stitch to the left or right. The needle is then brought up through the fabric at the end of the stitch, making sure to catch the diagonal stitch. This creates a small fishbone shape.

This stitch is often used in borders or as a decorative stitch. It is a fairly simple stitch to master, and once you get the hang of it, you can easily add it to your repertoire of embroidery stitches.

It is a filler stitch, used to make leaves, feathers usually.

Whipped Back and Fishbone StitchDouble Threaded Back Stitch

Here, back stitch is done first. Then, a thread is passed through the back stitch. After completing the line, pass another thread from opposite direction through the back stitch. So it gives a wavy line from both sides.

Seed Stitch

This is simple running stitch which has shorter stitch and larger space between stitches of the stitching line. It is used to feel a pattern. Seed stitch is a basic embroidery stitch that is worked by going over one thread and under the next. This stitch is worked in a row and creates a nice, even texture.

Chevron stitch

If you're new to embroidery, you might be wondering what chevron stitch is. This stitch is one of the basic embroidery stitches that you should learn.

Chevron stitch is created by making a series of V-shaped stitches. To create this stitch, start by bringing your needle up through the fabric. Then, make a small V-shaped stitch. Continue making V-shaped stitches, spacing them evenly, until you reach the end of your desired stitch length.

This stitch is commonly used to create decorative borders. It's a simple stitch to master, and once you've learned it, you can use it to create beautiful embroidery designs. It can be used to make zigzag borders.

Chevron and Seed Stitch

Fabric Manipulation Smocking

Fabric Smocking is also an embroidery technique. It is a special types of decorative stitch which is don on the gathered fabric. We have a separate blog post on Fabric Smocking. Please click on the word Smocking. It will redirect you to the blog post on fabric Smocking.

Though there are at least 400 types hand embroidery stitches all over the world depending on local environment, material, skills, running stitch is the easiest ever embroidery stitch. Running, back, stem, chain, French knot and satin are the 6 basic stitches to learn for any beginner to start embroidery.

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