Long and Short Stitch

Long and short stitch is used as a fill stitch in surface embroidery. As the name suggests, stitches of varying lengths are used, similar to how a pencil artist uses sketch marks of various lengths to fill in an area.

This tutorial uses a single thread of cotton embroidery floss, which requires a great deal of time. To shorten the process, try using 2-3 threads at a time, but be advised that this will make the work be thicker and more raised. I recommend only doing 2-3 threads at a time if you’re also using 2-3 threads throughout the entire piece you’re working on to ensure an even appearance.

1 Outline the shape where the long and short stitch will occur using an outline stitch. Here, split stitch is used.
2 Make several vertical stitches of various lengths across the top.
3 Stick the needle through the lower portions of the first set of stitches and make several more vertical stitches of various lengths.
4 Fill in any gaps that are created along the way. Do not allow the fabric to show through the stitches.
5 Continue working in stitches of various lengths until the entire area is filled.

Tips: (i) Using various lengths of stitches helps give the sketched look the long and short stitch is intended to provide. If you make stitches all the same length, you will end up with more of a brick stitch look. (ii) Outlining is not strictly necessary but does tend to provide a nice finish the long and short stitches that cover.

Published by

Leave a Reply