Hello! Welcome to my very first embroidery tutorial, where I will share with you 5 different types of stitches to help you get started! These 5 stitches can look quite stunning all on their own and are used in surface embroidery techniques like redwork, bluework, or any other outline stitching. They also form the bases of more advanced stitches and are frequently used in hand-sewing.
Without further ado, here are the first 5 stitches I recommend starting with! You will need basic embroidery supplies, and you can find more information on that here.
Cut a piece of embroidery floss about the length of your forearm and thread your needle. You can use as many strands of the floss as you want for practicing these stitches – I used three. Leave a tail of about 3-4” hanging. Knot the end of the longer length. Often, knots are not always the best way to start and finish embroidery, but for the purpose of practicing these stitches, they’re perfectly fine. Place your fabric in the embroidery hoop, tightening the screw until the fabric is nice and tight.
1. The Straight Stitch
Bring your needle up from the back of the hooped fabric to form point A.
Decide on the length of your stitch, and bring your needle down in point B, forming a straight line. You can use a pencil to draw a guideline directly on your fabric if you want, or you can just free hand it.
And voilà, you’ve done the straight stitch! It’s pretty straightforward and might seem overly basic, but it’s a very useful stitch for making short, continuous lines to add details. Creating small motifs with the straight stitch can also work really well too (like blades of grass or a leaf, for example).
2. The Running Stitch
If you sew, you’ve no doubt had to baste something by hand at some point. In which case, you already know how to do a running stitch! They’re pretty much the same thing.
Thread your needle the same as above, and bring it up from the back, pulling all the way, to form point A.
Bring your needle down through the fabric in B. When the needle is about half-way through the fabric, bring it back up again in C.
You should have a nice straight stitch from A to B. The fun with this stitch is that it’s pretty fast, and you can “load” your needle with as much fabric as it can take, before pulling all the way through. In other words, you can repeat the second step several times before drawing the thread all the way through.
Again, it might be helpful to add pencil guidelines to your fabric to keep the stitches the same length.
3. The Backstitch
One of the most common outline stitches, the backstitch can be used to embroider just about anything. Frequently used in cross-stitch to add outlines and details, it’s one of the most useful stitches out there!
Bring your threaded needle up from the back through A and back down again in B, forming a small straight stitch.
Bring your needle up from the back again in C, at a distance that equals the size of the first stitch. Go back down again in B, through the same hole (this will make the stitches look neater and better connected).
Repeat to get a nice continuous line.
4. The Stem Stitch
The stem stitch is a variation of the backstitch. The needle comes back up right beside each previous stitch to create a sort of twisty line that looks like a rope.
Begin the same way you would with the backstitch, bringing your needle up in A and back down in B to form a straight stitch.
Instead of bringing your needle back up ahead of the next stitch, bring it up in C. This should be right beside the previous stitch at its middle point (but don’t go through the stitch).
Bring the needle down in D, forming your second stitch. Point D should be aligned with point B, so that the stitches will still form a straight line. The pencil guideline will be useful for this stitch to make sure the stitches end up where they’re supposed to be.
Repeat these steps to create a continuous line.
** A little tip for this one, as I struggled to make it even when I started:
Each stitch itself will end up at an angle, but you always want to go down at a point that aligns with the end of the previous stitch. If you lay the stitches straight, one beside the other, it will end up looking like this:
5. The Splitstitch
The splitstitch is probably my all-time favourite stitch, and I use it everywhere. If I have to outline something, I often chose it over the backstitch, because I find it looks neater and more textured. Also a derivative of the backstitch, it starts off the same way.
Come up from the back in A and down through B to form a small straight stitch.
Bring your needle back up in C, right through the middle of the previous stitch, thus splitting it.
Bring your needle down again in D at a distance of about the size of the previous stitch.
Repeat the process to get a nice continuous line!
Don’t you love its braided effect? It’s so pretty.
I hope you find this embroidery tutorial helpful and that you have fun trying out these stitches. Don’t be afraid to experiment too, you might just find a method that suits you better than what I’ve outlined here 🙂 Thank you so much for reading, and don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any comments or questions. I am planning on posting part 2 of this embroidery tutorial soon. It will feature other basic embroidery stitches that are super useful to know!