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The fly stitch, also known as an open loop stitch, is a very versatile stitch that creates a V or a Y shape. A single fly stitch can be worked to resemble the shape of a flying bird, worked in a horizontal row to create decorative borders, or stacked on stop of one another to fill in and form shapes such as leaves.
How To Make A Basic Fly Stitch
- Bring your needle up through the fabric at point A.
- Place your needle back down through the fabric (a short distance away from / on the same plane as A) at point B, but don’t pull your needle all the way through.
- Slightly below A and B and in the center of both points, bring the tip of the needle through the fabric at C, catching the loop of thread so it forms at “V” shape.
- Pull your needle and thread through.
- Make a small stitch over top of the thread.
Fly Stitch Variations
Closed Fly Stitch Leaf
This is one of my favorite hand embroidery stitches to incorporate into an embroidery project because there are so many different different effects and creative approaches you can take with it! Here are a few ideas.
The fly stitch can be used as a filling stitch. To make this stitch resemble leaves, you’ll want to draw a leaf shape and mark a vertical line down the center so you can keep your stitches nice and even.
Another great way to use this stitch if for simple stems of leaves or flowers.
Plaited Fly Stitch Borders
This variation of the fly stitch has more of a long tail at the base. They are slightly interlaced, making it a great choice for a decorative border.
Check out even more embroidery stitch tutorials.
30+ Embroidery Stitches
Learn over 30 hand embroidery stitches with step by step photos and instructions as well as some extra helpful tips sprinkled in so you can perfect them even more.
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.