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Embroidery Stitches

Embroidery Stitches
Illustrated Glossary

Stitches A-L

Also see: Free Embroidery Patterns
Free Motion Machine Embroidery
Free Sewing Book

Glossary A to L

Purpose Of Embroidery

Stitches can be used for basic sewing or decorative purposes. The decorative stitches can be functional, such as holding layers together, or decorative. By slightly changing the stitch, an entirely different look can be achieved. Mix and match stitches to create new designs.

An outline embroidery stitch can be used to outline your design. Use any other decorative stitch to fill in the area. Children's coloring books provide wonderful "patterns" for embroidery. Expand your options by adding beads, decorative yarns, buttons and other items.

We will be adding to our glossary over time, so stay tuned.

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Alphabetized list of stitches: A-L

Go To: M-Z

backstitch    threaded backstitch Backstitch

Provides secure stitching for sewing two fabric pieces together (in place of machine stitching). Creates lines or outlines.

Threaded Backstitch

Create a backstitch line. Then using one or two contrasting color threads, begin lacing the backstitch line by bringing the needle up through the fabric under the first back stitch, in the center of the stitch. Lace back and forth through the backstitch line. When finished, pull the thread down through the fabric under the final backstitch, in the center of the stitch.
blanket stitch   buttonhole stitch Blanket / Buttonhole

Blanket (left): often used to stitch on appliques. Provides definition and helps prevent fraying. Buttonholes (right): stitches are made by the same method as the blanket, but are very close together and the stitches are shorter.
chain stitch    chain stitch Chain

Used for decorative purposes. The distance between the points where the needle exits and enters the fabric determines the width of the chain. Variation can form leaves, flower petals etc. (see Lazy Daisy)
couching stitch Couching

Consists of small straight stitches that hold down an underlying thread. Place one thread along your design outline, then stitch in place with contrast or same color thread. Used for decorative stitching, stems, outlining etc.
feather stitch   feather stitch Feather

Creates vine or stem. Fills in an area with an interesting texture. Stitches can be "L" shape or "u" shape.
fern stitch Fern

A fern stitch is created with three straight stitches of equal length, each originating at the same point. The starting point is at the base of each stitch; each stitch is created from bottom to top. Center stitch is created, then the left, then the right.
fishbone stitch Fishbone

Fills in an area with straight stitches set in rows at opposite angles from center line. Creates a nice, textured center line while filling in small spaces. Commonly used for filling in leaves and other small areas. The center stitch at the top is created first, from top to base. Then, create the stitch on the right, bringing it across the center line at the base of the first stitch.
fly stitch   fly stitch Fly

Completed in the same way as the chain, but only a single chain is made. Creates "insects", adds texture and pattern when used as fill, and can be used to create stem and leaves of small plants.
interlaced band Interlaced Band

Create two lines of back stitches, one line 1/2 stitch offset to the other. With a contrasting thread, come up through the fabric under the first stitch. Wrap thread around stitch, up and over and down through the underside of the stitch. The contrast thread does not run through the fabric; it is laced through the two lines of stitches.
lazy daisy Lazy Daisy

Variation of chain stitch. Creates petals, leaves, etc.
long and short Long and Short

Variation of satin stitch. Long and short straight stitches are made, very close together. Used to fill in small areas such as flower petals, leaves, hearts and other shapes.

Stitch Glossary: A-L   M-Z

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