How To Start Embroidery Part Three – Basic Embroidery Stitches

On this embroidery journey so far we’ve talked about embroidery tools and beginner tips. In the final part of this series I’m introducing you to some basic embroidery stitches. At the end of this post you’ll also find the free pattern to make this beautiful horse sampler available to download. Right, let’s get into these stitches.

1. Back Stitch

So this fella is basically the backbone of most of my embroidery projects. It’s great for making outlines of shapes and is very easy to do. If you’re a diagram person, then here’s a picture to follow, or if you’re a video person then let me explain it to you one to one in this video on backstitch. 

how to do back stitch

2. Satin Stitch

satin stitchSatin stitch is a the one here in pink that I’ve used for the horse hooves. It’s a great filling stitch to shade in areas. Once they’re full of stitching, you’ll see the shapes make a gorgeous sheen of thread as it’s so nicely packed together. You can watch my video on satin stitch or follow this picture to give it a go.

satin stitch

3. Seed Stitch

seed stitchSeed stitch is really very easy. It’s just a case of going up and down wherever you like with the needle, a little bit like a basic running stitch, just random rather than in a straight line. It’s one of the most basic embroidery stitches and good for filling areas with a bit of texture when you don’t want it to be too dense.

4. French Knots

how to do french knotsFrench knots are a decorative stitch that people seem to get quite stressed about. I love them! My top tips to make them really lovely is to keep holding the needle while you wrap the thread around it and also not to go back through the exactly the same hole that you came up through. Instead go back down quite close to it. If you try to go up and down through the same place your knot will probably pop back through the fabric altogether!

Here’s how to…

french knots5. Woven Wheel Stitch

woven wheel stitchThis makes a lovely circle that can form the base of a flower design or decorate different areas. It looks like it’s difficult but it’s actually dead easy to do. You just start by making an odd number of stitches like spokes in a wheel that all come from the same central point. Once you’ve done that, start from the centre and weave over and under the spokes with your thread, making sure you don’t pick up any of the base fabric.

6. Detached Chain Stitch

detached chain stitch

This stitch is also called lazy daisy stitch. If you’re trying to master basic embroidery stitches, this is a good one because it’s so versatile. I’ve used it in this pattern to make a little floral shape by grouping three of the stitches together and filling with a french knot. Because it’s another one of my favourites, I’ve made a video tutorial for detached chain stitch here. 

detached chain stitch7. Fly Stitch

feather stitch

This is fly stitch worked in a row but you could also make isolated fly stitched in a group to make a pretty smattering of motifs together. To do the stitch you first make a V-shaped loop and then tie it down with a vertical straight stitch.

8. Cup Stitch

cup stitchAgain, this guy looks tricky, but is actually super simple. I kind of made this up a bit on the spot when I was making the horse because I wanted to put in a decorative motif stitch with a bit of texture. Turns out – it’s a real stitch! Just lay a foundation of three straight stitches that form a triangle. Make them any size you like, depending on the size you’d like your final motif to be. Bring your thread up to the top of the work just outside your triangle then wrap it around the basic first stitch over and over again. If you don’t split your thread for the wrapping part then this will be better because you’ll cover the surface area more quickly.

9. Whip Stitch

whip stitchThis is a line stitch that I use to outline shapes if I’d like a more raised effect. In this photo it’s the blue stitch that’s wrapped (or ‘whipped’) with pink. First you work your basic back stitch (see number one) and then whip your thread over each stitch without picking up any of the base fabric. If you use contrasting colours for the base stitch and the whip it looks pretty gorgeous.

And that completes the line up! If you’d like to give all of these stitches a go, you can DOWNLOAD THE PATTERN HERE for free. Why not share what you make on Instagram with the  hashtag #youmakingmore and tag me @gidsyandjo. I’d love to see what you make!


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