Getting that perfect circular shape when you’re embroidering can be really hard. But it doesn’t have to be! There are different stitches and techniques that this article will share that will be helpful to prevent seamlines where the two ends of the thread meet which will improve the finished shape and look. Keep reading to learn how to embroider a perfect circle whether you’re outlining it or filling it in.
Tips for Embroidering Curved Lines and Circles
Stitching along curved lines requires some planning and patience to get right. Before going over stitches and techniques, here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind.
It’s always good to mark the fabric before you start stitching so you have good guidelines to follow.
If you have a hard time drawing consistent curved lines or getting the shape of a circle even, it’s super helpful to use a plastic stencil or a compass!
Another great way to get smooth, curved, consistent lines is to shorten up your stitches. Long stitches can make a curved line appear somewhat jagged, but shorter stitches will make the lines appear more smooth.
This last tip is a bit of a general one, but taking your time will help to keep your stitches consistent and help you stay along the guidelines.
- Mark the fabric before stitching
- Use a stencil or compass to mark out the lines
- Shorten up stitch length
- Take your time
What stitch is best for circles?
Pretty much any outline or fill stitch can be used to embroider circles, but here are some of the most common ones.
- back stitch
- chain stitch
- stem stitch
- split stitch
The back stitch and chain stitch in my opinion are the easiest to work, while the stem stitch and split stitch can be a bit more challenging to get consistent and smooth. All of these different outline stitches look great for outlining circles though!
Embroider A Circle Outline
All of these stitches look great when worked with stranded cotton floss or pearl cotton floss. These two types of thread have a slightly different appearance, but it’s all a matter of preference as to which one you choose.
For the example photos, I am using DMC 6 strand cotton floss.
General tips for embroidering circles using outline stitches:
- Always mark out the shape of the circle before you get started. It is easiest to do this after the fabric is already in the hoop so the shape doesn’t get stretched or obscured.
- Make sure to keep your stitches short and even around the entire circle.
The back stitch is one of the simplest and easiest ways to embroider the outline of a circle.
The chain stitch has a thicker, more rope like appearance.
To make the circle appear seamless with this stitch, the last stitch should be made slightly different. Take your needle and thread under the very first stitch you made and then go back down through the last stitch to end it.
The stem stitch can be a bit trickier to get just right. Making the stitches too long will make it appear messy and jagged, so take your time and keep your stitches relatively short!
To end the last stitch, make sure you tuck your needle and thread under the first stitch.
Another simple yet effective way to embroider a circle is the split stitch. To end this circle of stitches, place the end of your last stitch through the first stitch you made.
- Padded satin stitch
- Woven wheel
- Woven Circle Stitch
Padded Satin Stitch
The padded satin stitch is the perfect way to fill in a circle.
First, outline the circle with split stitches. Then, carefully make satin stitches over top of the stitches.
The split stitches will add a bit of padding and dimension to the circle, and it also makes it easier to keep the edges neat.
Couching uses a laid thread and a working thread to secure the thread to the fabric. It looks interesting when you use two different colors to make this stitch.
The blanket stitch adds a really fun twist to any circle. Draw a center dot in the center of the circle and work your way around the circle making blanket stitches.
It may also help to mark out each stitch around the circle if you find it hard to get the stitches even.
Woven Circle Stitch
Woven circle uses 4 stitches spaced evenly around a circle. Then with another piece of thread, work your way around and under each of the stitches. Be sure not to pull the thread too tight or you’ll lose that nice circular shape!
How To Fix A Circle That Is Irregular In Shape
If you’ve already embroidered a circle and the shape is a little off, one quick way to try to neaten it up is to make some outline of stitches along the edge. If you’ve only outlined the shaped, this will thicken up the outline and you may be able to smooth is out a little bit or if you’ve filled it in, this will serve as a neat border around the shape.
You can also fill in the circle by stitching completely over the circle you made using satin stitches to create a slightly larger padded satin stitch circle.
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.