Chain Stitch

Chain stitch is an outline stitch that can also be used as a fill stitch, as in the Pumpkin Stitch Sampler pattern.

1 Push the needle up from the bottom of the fabric to the top, then place the needle back in the same hole.
2 Do not pull the thread all the way through. Instead, leave a loop. Bring the needle back up through the loop.
3 Pull the thread until the previous loop is taut. Stick the needle back in the same hole the thread is coming out of.
4 To end a line of chain stitches, simply place the needle slightly above the final loop.
5 Pull the thread through and secure to the back.

Trellis Stitch

Trellis stitch is a gridded fill stitch that is less time consuming than denser fill stitch such as long and short stitch. Here’s how to stitch it:

1 Place long, horizontal stitches, and space them evenly.
2 Place long, vertical stitches, also spaced evenly.
3 Make small diagonal stitches across the intersections of the horizontal and vertical threads. 
4 You can also make another diagonal stitch to create cross stitches over the intersections. 

Tips: (i) If you want to do the vertical stitches first, that’s fine. 

Stem Stitch

Stem stitch is typically used as an outline stitch and is particularly well-suited for curves.

1 Place a single stitch.
2 Come back up halfway through the previous stitch, placing the needle next to the thread, not through it.
3 Place the needle a little past the end of the previous stitch.
4 Pull the thread taut.
5 Repeat until the line or area where stem stitching is taking place is complete.

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.

Split Stitch

The split stitch is typically used as an outline stitch.

1 At one end of the line where the split stitch will occur, make a single, straight stitch.

2 For the next stitch, put the needle halfway through the previous stitch, splitting the thread.

3 Stick the needle a little further down the line.

4 Pull the thread all the way through and taut.

5 Repeat steps 2-4 until the line is complete.

Tips: (i) The stitches for this tutorial were done at roughly 1/8 of an inch. You can go shorter or longer if you like. (ii) Working from top to bottom or bottom to top can help achieve an even look. If your line is horizontal, simply move your hoop until the line becomes vertical. 

Running Stitch

The running stitch is a dashed line of hand stitches. It can be used decoratively or to temporarily hold fabrics in place, such as sewing a transfer paper or stabilizer to the fabric or hand basting a garment before the final stitching is sewn.

A 1/4 inch running stitch.

1 If this is your first time doing a running stitch or you want to ensure precision, you may want to mark your line with a washable pencil or marker. Use a ruler for exact measurements. Alternatively, an “imperfect” line can give a decorative running stitch an artistic appeal.

2 Start by pushing the needle from the bottom of the fabric through to the top at one end of the line of stitches. Personally, I prefer to work top to bottom or bottom to top, but if you prefer to work side to side, that is fine as well.

3 Next, place the needle at the end of the first dash, sending it back to the bottom of the fabric.

4 Repeat on all subsequent dashes. Push the needle through one end of the dash and then…

5 These stitches are 1/4 of an inch long, but you may do them
according to preference or a pattern’s instructions.