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Embroidery Basics

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Embroidery is a wonderfully expressive craft that employs a variety of different techniques. Here are a few of the basics. If you are interested in learning more about embroidery, explore our collection of embroidery books and patterns.

Backstitch

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Bring the needle and thread from the back to the front of the fabric.  Put the needle down through the fabric about 1/8-inch away from where you started (For right-handers, it may feel more natural to move to the left; left-handers may prefer the right).

Bring the needle up approximately 1/8-inch away from where you went down.  Pull the thread through.  Put the needle back down in the same spot you did before, taking a backstitch.

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Chain Stitch

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Bring the needle up from the back of the fabric and pull the thread through.  Put the needle back through the fabric a scant 1/16-inch from where you began, but do not pull the thread all the way through.  Leave a short, loose loop. Bring the needle back up about 1/4-inch away, and pull the thread up through the loop.  Put the needle back through the fabric, catching the loop and leaving a new loop through which to pull the needle on your next stitch.

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Satin Stitch

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Begin as you would for a running stitch, by making a single stitch.  Bring your needle back up through the fabric directly next to where you began the first stitch.  Make a parallel stitch to the first as close to the first stitch as possible.  Repeat to create a solid field.

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6 Responses to Embroidery Basics


  1. kimberlee says:

    thanks!

    i needed the embroidery help :)

    -kimberlee

  2. Q says:

    This is awesome! Thanks for the detailed shots.

  3. Embroidery Designs says:

    Thanks for showing elementary embroidery.

  4. Laura says:

    So pretty, your photos are the best!

  5. stacy z says:

    What's your advice on curves? As in filling in a monogram.

  6. purl bee says:

    Hi Stacy Z-

    Satin stitch is usually the choice for filling things in, curves or not. This is an excellent (an inexpensive!) embroidery book that explains each stitch more in depth:
    http://www.purlsoho.com/purl/products/item/5321-TNNA-How-to-Embroider

    Thank you!

    Molly

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