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« Cross Stitch | Main | Embroidery: Two-Color Techniques »

Embroidery Basics


Embroidery is a wonderfully expressive craft that employs a variety of different techniques.  Here are a few of the basics. These samples were made with hand-dyed embroidery thread from Valdani Threads. If you are interested in learning more about embroidery, explore our collection of embroidery books and patterns.



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. 


Chain Stitch


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. 


Satin Stitch


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. 


Reader Comments (6)


i needed the embroidery help :)

October 11, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterkimberlee
This is awesome! Thanks for the detailed shots.
August 20, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterQ
Thanks for showing elementary embroidery.
February 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmbroidery Designs
So pretty, your photos are the best!
January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
What's your advice on curves? As in filling in a monogram.
July 19, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstacy z
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:

Thank you!

July 21, 2014 | Registered Commenterpurl bee

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