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In an era where we have access to embroidery machines, there is only one reason for you to do it by hand. We practice hand embroidery because of our passion.
It is artistic and fulfilling. There is something deeply satisfying about making something with your own hands.
Hand embroidery is a diverse field. It has been around for thousands of years, so it had enough time to develop. The types of hand embroidery are numerous, and I don’t know if anyone can master all.
“Types of hand embroidery” is another way of saying “types of stitches”. In this article, I will name some of these stitches and give you the procedure for two.
Types of Stitches:
Hand embroidery can be classified by types of stitches. Mastery of the art of embroidery requires the practitioner to be well-versed in using a wide variety of stitches.
While there are many types of stitches in existence, I will discuss just a handful, some of the more popular ones.
Below is a list of stitches you can use when embroidering:
- Running stitch
- Satin stitch
- Split stitch
- Stem stitch
- Feather stitch
- Lazy daisy stitch
- Chain stitch
- French knot stitch
- Herringbone stitch
- Seed stitch
1. Backstitch: How-to Guide:
This is an excellent stitch to learn when you are new to the art of embroidery. There are so many patterns you can work on entirely in backstitch.
Backstitch (also back stitch) is called so because it involves making stitches backward to the general sewing direction.
Backstitch is used for outlining shapes, adding fine detail to an embroidered picture, to attach two pieces of fabric together, and for writing.
It is executed from right to left, taking two steps forward and one step back along the determined line.
- Piece of muslin fabric (approximately 15 cm square)
- Six-strand embroidery floss (thread)
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery scissors
- Embroidery transfer pen
Procedure of Backstitch:
Step One: Preparing the Fabric for Stitching
- Used the embroidery transfer pen to trace a line on the fabric.
- Secure the fabric in the embroidery hoop – if possible, let the entire line you have drawn be contained within the hoop.
Step Two: Stitching the Line
- Start by threading your needle.
- Begin stitching into the line you have drawn.
- If you want to prevent the floss from pulling your stitch out, you can tie a small knot at the end of the floss
- To complete the first stitch, pass the floss back through the fabric at the starting point of the traced line.
Step Three: Second Stitch and so Forth
- Now on to the second stitch on the line.
- Pass the floss through the fabric back to front, with an equal distance in front of the first stitch.
- Ensure each stitch is equal in size for the sake of uniformity.
- When stitching around curves, use smaller stitches than the ones you use for straight lines.
- The second stitch is completed when you pass the floss back through the original starting point. As a result, all the stitches will form a continuous line since they all pass through the beginning point of the previous stitch.
- Continue this way until you arrive at the end of the traced line.
Step Four: Finish the Back of Your Work
- Weave the end of your floss into the final stitches.
- After the last weave, secure the floss by tying a small knot. This ensures the floss is secure in place. Cut the excess floss after tying the knot and pulling it taut.
- That’s it: a backstitch.
YouTube video of how to make a backstitch:
2. Split Stitch: How-to Guide:
The split stitch is excellent for outlining and filing in colors for patterns. During the Middle Ages, embroiderers used it to embroider face.
- Muslin fabric (approximately 15 cm square)
- Embroidery hoop;
- Six-strand embroidery thread (floss)
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery transfer pen
Step One: Prepare the Fabric for Stitching
- Use the embroidery transfer pen to trace a line or pattern onto the fabric.
- You can also draw a curved line or a circle. Split stitch is excellent for outlining curves.
- Secure the fabric in the embroidery hoop, smoothing out all wrinkles, and tightening the fabric.
Step Two: Threading the Needle
- Thread the needle with six-strand embroidery floss.
- Split stitch requires that you split the stitch not just lengthwise, but also by width.
- There are many types of threads in existence but six-strand floss is the best to use for split stitch since all the stands separate easily, allowing you to get three strands on each side of the needle.
Step Three: Stitching the Line
- Now begin your stitch.
- You can choose to work the split stitch just like the backstitch: start your first stitch by poking the needle up through the fabric from back to front, about one stitch length from where your pattern line ends.
- The first line completes when you pass the needle and floss back through your drawn line’s end point.
Step Four: Split the First Stitch with the Second Stitch
- When working a split stitch, ensure all the stitches are of approximately the same length – your second stitch should come back through the fabric approximately a half stitch length ahead of the first stitch.
- Next, stitch back to your first stitch’s center, splitting the floss halfway by width in the process – so you have three strands one side of the needle and three strands on the other as the needle passes through.
Step Five: Stitching the Rest of the Line
- Carry on stitching down the line.
- As you have done in step four, do for all stitches. Each stitch splits the previous one in half by both length and width.
- Here you have used six strands of floss; but if you want to make a finer line, you can use two or four strands instead – but it must always be an even number of strands, so as to ensure they split evenly when you are stitching.
Step Six: Finishing the Back of Your Work
- When you reach the end of the line, finish the back of your work.
- You weave in the ends of your floss to your stitching or tie a small knot.
- There it is: a split stitch.
YouTube video of how to make a split stitch:
In any field, you cannot call yourself a master if you only know one technique. It is crucial that you learn several things. It is the same with embroidery.
Learn how to make different stitches. Master them. And then mix things up. That’s where the joy of creating comes in. That’s how creativity and unique design happen.