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How To Do The Ceylon Stitch

The ceylon stitch is a very fun raised embroidery stitch that looks similar to knitting. It’s a great stitch to fill in an area and add more texture to it. It is worked very similarly to a detached buttonhole stitch.

ceylon stitch

Ceylon Stitch

how to do the ceylon stitch part 1
  • Start by making a back stitch across the top of the shape you’d like to fill in.
  • Bring your needle and thread up directly below the start of the stitches and place your needle under the first back stitch from the top.
  • Pull the thread through gently so a loop forms
  • Continue working your way from left to right, making loops through each of the back stitches. When you reach the end of the row, place your needle and thread down through the fabric to secure it.
  • Come up below the row of stitches you just made and place your needle (right to left) through the “x” or cross that forms between the first and second loop.
  • Pull your needle and thread through. Repeat for each loop.
  • Continue making rows of stitches until you have filled in the desired area.

How To Finish The Stitches

how to finish the ceylon stitch part 2

The edges along the rows of stitches are secured to the fabric. However, the middle of the stitches will not be and can slightly roll up and move around. You’ll want to secure the very bottom row of the stitches by starting and ending each loop through the fabric.

Helpful Tips

  • Experiment with more or less thread to see how it changes the way this stitch appears.
  • Making larger back stitches will space the looped stitches out more which will make the stitched area appear more sparse.
  • If you want a really dense look, shorten your foundational back stitches so there is more of them per square inch of fabric. Securing the looped stitches slightly tighter will also help.
  • Try to be very careful when you are making the loops. Before proceeding to the next stitch, try adjusting each loop with your needle to ensure it’s the right size and in the correct position. This will help keep things consistent and even.
  • If you find that your needle is catching on the embroidery thread, you may find it helpful to use a blunt tapestry needle.

Variations Of The Ceylon Stitch

This stitch is really fun to play with by using different colors. You can alternate or change the colors you use for each row to add stripes or a pattern. This would also be a fun stitch to do with variegated floss!

Embroidering Irregular Shapes And Patterns

If you want to fill in an irregular shape, you’ll have to add or subtract loops on each row. You can easily do this when you first back stitch the entire outline so you have a foundational anchor for areas that you have to add additional loops to.

As an example, here is how you could embroider a sweater.

Knit Sweater Tutorial

This sweater is stitched in three parts: the torso and the two arms.

Start by making a few stitches along the tops of the shoulders and a few along the center of the collar.

Make 2 rows of looped stitches along the foundational stitches for the left and right shoulders.

For the 3rd row, you’ll continue making looped stitches all the way across the torso, including looped stitches through the 3 center back stitches of the collar.

Then continue filling in the shape with rows of ceylon stitches.

You can alternate the colors used for different rows of the stitches. For example, this sweater used:

  • 4 rows of dark blue
  • 2 light blue
  • 4 dark blue
  • 2 light blue

Finish the bottom of the sweater with vertical satin stitches.

Both of the sleeves are filled in the same way. Make a row of 4 back stitches along the seam between the torso and the sleeve.

Make 2 looped stitches along the first 2 foundational back stitches. Then start another row of looped stitches, this time filling in the entire row.

Fill in the rest of the entire sleeve with rows of ceylon stitches.

Fill in the very bottom of the sleeves with vertical satin stitches.

<< Back To All Embroidery Stitches

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