Types of Stitches In Embroidery

What are the types of embroidery stitches?

There are many different embroidery stitches, and even the most basic of stitches can have many different variations. Because of how long the list would be, I’m going to include the embroidery stitches that are most commonly used. This post will separate them into a few groups based on their general purpose, but you can still use stitches in one group for another purpose (for example, using a commonly used outline stitch to fill in an area).


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    Fill Stitches

    Used to fill or shade large areas.

    • Satin stitch
    • Short and long stitch
    • Basket-Weave Stitch

    Satin Stitch

    satin stitch

    Straight stitches made beside one another, typically used to fill in an area or shape with solid color.

    Short and Long Stitch

    short and long stitch

    This stitch is usually used to blend colors together, used commonly in thread painting. A series of short and long stitches are used to combine two or more colors together. This is best done with a gradient of colors, dark to light, or light to dark.

    Basket Weave Stitch

    basket weave stitch

    You can use a basket weave stitch to fill in an area that you want to have more texture. Parallel stitches are made. Then, stitches are made perpendicular to the first stitches and woven under, over, under, etc. The applie pie in the photo above uses a series of basket weave stitches for the crust of the pie.

    Outline Stitches

    These stitches are used for a border or to outline a shape, makes a continuous line of stitches.

    • Back Stitch
    • Split Stitch
    • Chain Stitch
    • Stem Stitch

    Back Stitch

    back stitch

    Start with a straight stitch. Come up where your first stitch ends. Come up a space ahead, then stitch backwards where your previous stitch ended.

    Split Stitch

    split stitch

    Start with a straight stitch. Come up through the stitch you just made, and make another straight stitch. Continue making stitches, splitting the thread as you go along.

    Chain Stitch

    chain stitch

    Bring the thread through the fabric and then back down the same hole Pull partially through until a loop forms. Bring your needle through in the loop and pull snug. Continue making a chain.

    Stem Stitch

    stem stitch

    Come up through the back of the fabric and take a stitch with your needle, coming up about halfway between the first stitch. Pull through, and repeat.


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      Decorative or Detached Stitches

      Used for decoration, stitches can be used for things like flowers, leaves, etc.

      • Fishbone Stitch
      • Fly Stitch
      • Detached Chain Stitch or “Lazy Daisy Stitch”
      • Pinwheel Roses

      Fishbone Stitch

      fishbone stitch leaf

      Make a straight stitch. Bring thread to the side of the initial stitch. Bring needle down to the opposite side of the straight stitch. Alternate sides all the way down leaf shape.

      Fly Stitch

      fly stitch

      Make one straight stitch. Come up to the left of the initial stitch. Go down to the right of the initial stitch and grab hold of loop. Bring needle up at the base of the straight stitch and then back down below loop.

      lazy daisy stitch

      This stitch, also known as a detached chain stitch, is exactly like a chain stitch, except you are only making one chain. You can learn more about it with this lazy daisy flower tutorial.

      Make 6 straight stitches around a circle, forming a “star”. Come up through the right of the center point. Weave your thread under and over the 5 points until circle is completely full.

      Embroidery Knots

      • French Knot
      • Bullion Knot
      • Cast-On Stitch

      French Knot

      french knot

      Bring thread through the back of the fabric. Take the thread in non-working hand and twist thread around needle 2-3 times. Bring needle down through the initial spot you came up through and pull tight.

      Bullion Knot

      bullion knot
      • Come up through the back of the fabric and take the needle a few cm down from the first stitch and come back up through the same hole the thread is coming through.
      • Take your thread and twist around the needle 6-7 stitches.
      • Place your thumb over the stitches to keep them secure and pull your needle all the way through.
      • Secure the stitches at the bottom of the knot.

      Cast-On Stitch

      • Pull your thread through the back of the fabric and pierce halfway through with your needle below the first stitch. Come back out where the thread is coming out of the fabric.
      • Make loops with your working thread and pull the tight on the tip of the needle. Make 5 or 6, depending on how much space you left between the needle and thread.
      • Pull your needle and thread through the stitches you made and then secure your thread by going down through the base of the cast on stitch you made.

      Both of these stitches I use frequently to embroider roses, which you can read about in this post/video tutorial

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