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Learn Raised Embroidery Stitches (Sampler Pattern And Tutorial)

Raised embroidery stitches are very interesting because you work them mostly on top of the background fabric. Instead of making each stitch through the fabric, the working thread is woven in and out of some foundational stitches. They possess a very distinct appearance that is both intricate and textured. While they are commonly used in stumpwork embroidery, they are great to use as a filling stitch for any project.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn several of the most common raised embroidery stitches. And to make it even more fun and easy to follow, I’ve created a printable design so you can stitch along to create this vintage inspired hot air balloon!

embroidery of a hot air balloon made up of raised embroidery stitches

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Getting Started

diagram of the raised embroidery stitches used in an embroidery

Supplies You’ll Need

  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery Needle
  • Tapestry Needle
  • Stranded floss or pearl cotton
  • Cotton or Linen Fabric
  • Printable design – download here
  • Embroidery marker or pen

Helpful Tips

  • All of these stitches have 2 parts to them. There are the “foundational stitches” that pierce through the fabric. Then there is a portion of the stitches that involve weaving and out of the foundational stitches.
    • The foundational stitches are easiest to do with an embroidery needle, which has a sharp tip that can pierce through the fabric. For the needle weaving portion of each stitch, you’ll find that switching to a tapestry needle (one with a blunt tip) will be much easier to use and will prevent any snagging.
  • I used DMC stranded cotton floss for the project, but you may find it easier to use non-divisible thread such as pearl cotton while you’re learning some of these stitches.
  • You will start to see a pattern with the technique for setting up these stitches: most of them start with horizontal foundational stitches. Make sure you keep these as straight and even as possible. This will set you up better so the finished stitches will look neat and even.
  • The most important thing to keep in mind when you are working the needle weaving portions of these stitches is to keep the thread tension even. Avoid pulling the stitches too tight. Keeping the tension consistent and secure will result in a prettier looking stitch!

Sampler + Stitch Tutorials

Now let’s get started on the sampler! We’ll start with filling in the hot air balloon.

I intentionally chose to create this design because the areas we’ll be stitching are a bit irregular in shape. I think learning these stitches this way is more helpful and more applicable to their practical use, as the areas to be filled in often won’t be perfect rectangles and squares.

Note: For the foundational stitches I used 2 strands of floss and for the needle weaving portions I used 4 strands.

Raised Stem Stitch

raised stem stitch step 1

To start this stitch, make horizontal stitches that are evenly spaced out along the area.

step 2

Come up with your needle and thread at the top of the area. Pull the working thread to the left side and place the needle underneath the first horizontal stitch.

step 3

Pull the working thread so a small loop forms along the horizontal stitch. Then move to the next horizontal stitch, again keeping the working thread to the left side and placing the needle underneath the stitch.

step 4

Work this stitch across each of the horizontal stitches and end by going back down through the fabric.

step 5

Continue making rows of these stitches until each horizontal stitch is filled in. Make sure to keep the working thread to the left side the entire time so the stitches lay neatly together. You will find that the top and bottom of the area fill in faster. Once they are filled in you can start each row of stitches along the 3rd or 4th horizontal stitch and end the row a few stitches before the bottom.

step 6

Repeat for the area on the right side of the balloon. This time, keep your working thread to the right hand side as you are working the stitch.

Raised Chain Stitch

raised chain stitch step 1

Make horizontal stitches across the next area pictured.

step 2

Come up at the top of the shape with needle and thread. Keep the working thread off to the right and place the needle under the first horizontal stitch,

step 3

Pull the thread through. Then pull the working thread to the left side. Place the needle to the right of the first stitch, going underneath the horizontal stitch from top to bottom.

step 4

Gently pull the thread, making sure that the working thread goes through the loop that forms

step 5

Pull until a small stitch forms and proceed to the next horizontal stitch.

step 6

Continue working lines of these stitches until the entire shape is filled in.

Needle Weaving

needle weaving step 1

Make horizontal lines across the shape.

step 2

Start at the bottom of the shape and begin weaving the needle under and over the horizontal lines.

step 3

Continue weaving under and over until you’ve reached the very top of the shape. Then place the needle and thread back down through the fabric at the very top to secure the thread. This shape is curved so make sure you leave a little slack in the thread so you can slide it over to the right side of the shape.

step 4

Alternate the horizontal stitches you weave under and over for each line of these stitches.

step 5

Continue until the whole area is filled in.

Detached Buttonhole

This stitch is a needlelace technique that has many variations. It can be made more as an open fill stitch or you can make the stitches very small to more densely fill in an area.

detached buttonhole stitch step 1

This particular shape is easiest to work with the balloon on it’s side. Back stitch along the edges of the shape.

step 2

Come up with needle and thread along the left side of the shape. Place your needle down through the first back stitch and over the working thread.

step 3

Pull through until a small loop forms.

step 4

Proceed to the next back stitch, placing the needle down through it and over the working thread.

step 5

Work these stitches across the entire line of back stitches. Then end the stitch by going down through the fabric along the right edge of the shape.

step 6

Start along the left hand side again. You’ll be making these same stitches, but instead of going through the back stitch, you’ll be going through the little “legs” of the stitches above.

step 7

Continue filling in the shape in rows. Once you hit the very bottom of the shape, anchor the stitches by going down through the back stitches along the bottom of the shape as you make each buttonhole stitch.

Buttonhole Scallops

Buttonhole scallops are worked in a similar way to the detached buttonhole stitch. The main difference is that they are worked along a single strand of thread.

buttonhole scallop step 1

Make one long stitch, keeping some slack in it so it forms a “u” shape.

step 2

It’s easiest to start the weaving portion of this stitch with the thread secured, so I used my embroidery needle to anchor the stitch temporarily. Then come up to the left side of the stitch with your working thread.

step 3

Go down underneath the stitch and over the working thread.

step 4

Keep working these stitches from left to right until the entire stitch is filled in.

step 5

To secure the stitch, go back down through the fabric at the right edge of the stitch.

step 6

Make another scallop right beside the first one.

Whipped Back Stitch

whipped back stitch step 1

Back stitch along the cables of the balloon.

step 2

Using a contrasting thread color, come up at the very top of the line and place your needle underneath the first stitch from right to left.

step 3

Then proceed to the next back stitch, placing your needle underneath it from right to left.

step 4

When you reach the bottom, place your needle and thread through the fabric at the very bottom of the last back stitch.

Basket Weave

This last stitch is a variation of the needle weaving stitch we made in the balloon. By playing with different colors and amounts of thread, this stitch can look entirely different.

basket weave step 1

Make horizontal stitches in groups of 3 that are evenly spaced out along the shape.

step 2

Weave under and over the horizontal stitches, again in groups of 3 stitches to fill in the basket.

step 3

And that’s it! I hope you found this tutorial helpful and fun. These are by no means all of the different raised embroidery stitches, but they are certainly the most common and versatile ones.

If you’re interested in learning even more stumpwork stitches, check out the turkey work and the ceylon stitch tutorials.

You may also enjoy learning even more ways to add lots of texture into your embroidery.

flatlay of a red and yellow hot air balloon embroidery that is made up of a variety of raised stitches. The embroidery is surrounded by scissors, thread, and a vintage pin cushion

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