If you’re a beginner and you’re looking to learn how to embroider letters by hand, this post is perfect for you! Lettering can be challenging to get right. You’ll want to use stitches that are easy to stitch fine lines with, so I’ve picked 4 beginner friendly stitches to show you that work great for lettering.
Stitches For Embroidering Letters
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There are 4 different embroidery stitches I use the most frequently to embroider letters. These stitches are all considered to be outline stitches, which means they are great for fine lines and lettering.
- back stitch
- split stitch
- chain stitch
- stem stitch
For the letters pictured in this post I am using stranded cotton floss. For practicing, I highly recommend DMC’s 6 strand cotton floss or pearl floss as well as a sturdy, even weave fabric such as cotton or linen.
A Few Tips for Embroidering Letters By Hand
- When working curves, shorten the length of your stitches.
- Stencil out the lettering before stitching so you have a nice guide to go by.
- For finer lines, use fewer strands (i.e. 2-3 strands) of embroidery floss.
Back Stitch Letters
The back stitch is my go-to when I embroider letters, and I find it’s the easiest to learn. If you aren’t familiar with it, you can learn how to do a back stitch here.
One tip to make this stitch look nice is to make sure you aren’t skipping spaces between stitches. You should try to keep each stitch lined up directly against the last stitch you made and not come up to the side of it. When working on curves, shorten the stitch length. All of these things will help keep the lettering looking smooth.
Split Stitch Letters
The split stitch creates a bolder, textured line for letters. Learn the split stitch.
When working this stitch, try to use an even number of strands of floss since you’ll be splitting them down the middle. Also, try to take your time and make sure the stitch you are about to split is laying nicely where you want it. This stitch can appear a big jagged sometimes, but with practice and patience, you’ll get it!
Want to learn even more embroidery stitches?
This workbook is NOT your usual stitch encyclopedia. Most embroidery books don’t actually show you how you can use each embroidery stitch and they also don’t come with many tips. This workbook is packed full of helpful information to make you a better, more confident stitcher.
It comes with:
- embroidery stitch tutorials
- helpful tips for each stitch that will maximize your learning and improve the way your embroidery looks
- fun, modern embroidery patterns you can use to learn the stitches with ease
Chain Stitch Letters
Using the chain stitch for lettering creates a beautiful texture! Learn how to do a chain stitch.
I find it easiest to use 2 or 3 strands when working this stitch for letters because using all six can lead to the lettering being extra thick and less defined.
Stem Stitch Letters
This stitch is by far the most challenging to use for letters. It can easily appear jagged and not smooth. But when it’s done right, it has a rope-like appearance. Learn the stem stitch.
Make sure you are keeping your working thread to the same side the whole time you are working this stitch. Otherwise, the stitch won’t turn out like it’s supposed to!
Once you get the hang of how to embroider letters by hand, check out The Spruce Crafts free monogram alphabet patterns and put your skills to the test! Or check out my tutorial on how to design and stitch floral alphabet letters.
Embroidery Patterns for Letters
The easiest stitch to use for letters is the back stitch. Other outlines stitches like the stem stitch, split stitch, and chain stitch also work well.
Thick letters are best achieved by using some sort of fill stitch, such as the satin stitch, brick stitch, or long and short stitch. However, there are plenty of other stitches that work nicely. For example, you can easily fill in thicker letters with side-by-side rows of chain stitches or split stitches.
Embroidering letters is generally pretty easy and can be done using a few basic stitches. The most challenging part of stitching them is usually keeping the stitches smooth and even especially around curves.
For letters that are smaller in size, it’s helpful to use a smaller needle and less strands of embroidery floss. Choose a stitch that isn’t super thick or bulky, such as the back stitch or split stitch and try to keep your stitches as short and even as possible.
Amanda is a hand embroidery artist and teacher. With over 15 years of experience in the craft industry and embroidery, she owns and runs Crewel Ghoul, sharing tutorials and patterns to help inspire fellow crafters to get inspired and creative. In addition to running this website, she teaches on Skillshare and Youtube.