5 Basic Embroidery Stitches For Beginners

floral and butterfly hooped embroidery
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These 5 Basic Embroidery Stitches will Quickly Get You Started!

Now that you’ve gathered your supplies and learned some of the basic in’s and out’s of embroidery it’s time to learn 5 basic embroidery stitches that will help you get started.

There are so many stitches to learn but the ones I’ll teach you today are easy and very versatile that you’ll be able to create outlines, fills, textures, and decorative elements by the end of this tutorial. Once you’ve mastered them, you’ll want to learn more because I’m certain you’ll fall in love with embroidery the same way I did!

Here are the 5 basic embroidery stitches I’m going to teach you:

  1. Running Stitch
  2. Back Stitch
  3. Satin Stitch
  4. Chain Stitch
  5. French Knot

For each stitch I’ve made the instructions as simple as possible, but if you want a little more detail along with a video tutorial you’ll be able to find posts dedicated to each stitch by clicking their name in purple.

At the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to download a free practice stitch pattern which includes the 5 basic embroidery stitches I’m about to cover but if you’d like to join my newsletter you can download this pretty floral pattern which you can use to practice with while creating something to decorate your wall!

floral and butterfly hooped embroidery made with 5 basic embroidery stitches

The floral pattern does include a couple of other stitches but don’t worry, I have tutorials for those too!

Now let’s get started!

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Basic Embroidery Stitch 1: Running Stitch

The first of the basic embroidery stitches to cover is the running stitch which looks like a dashed line you often see on main streets and highways. The stitches are typically of the same length as each other just as the gaps are of the same length as each other, although you can mix it up depending on the effect you’d like. It’s great for creating outlines and decorative elements.

running stitch which looks like dashed lines
  • Come up at A to the top of the fabric.
  • Move up one stitch length away and go down at B to the back of the fabric.
  • Leave a small gap & come up at C.
  • Move up one stitch length away and go down at D.
  • Repeat steps to create more stitches.
thread going from A to B, then a gap, then from C to D

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Basic Embroidery Stitch 2: Back Stitch

The back stitch is a row of stitches which are usually the same stitch length and connected together, and it’s often used to create outlines and fills.

back stitch illustration
  • Come up at A to the top of the fabric.
  • Move back one stitch length away and go down at B to the back of the fabric.
  • Move up one stitch length away from A and come up at C.
  • Go back to A and push needle through to the back.
  • Continue in this fashion to create more stitches.
thread going backwards from A to B, then up at C which is a gap away from A

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Basic Embroidery Stitch 3: Satin Stitch

The satin stitch is used to fill in shapes and can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal. Rows of thread are laid parallel next to each other to create a fill. There are a few ways to do this (you can find them in my satin stitch post) but here we’ll focus on one method using a square template.

digital satin stitch illustration

There isn’t a set rule on where to start so you could start at the top or bottom of your shape, but for this example we’ll start at the top, at A.

  • Come up at A then down at B.
  • Come up at C then down at D.
  • Continue creating rows of stitches next to each other until you’ve filled your shape.
thread going from A to B, then C to D

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Basic Embroidery Stitch 4: Chain Stitch

The chain stitch is a row of loops all connected to each other to create a chain. Use it for outlines as well as fills and creating textures.

chain stitch illustration
  • Come up then back down into A but leave a small loop.
  • Come up at B so your thread is on the inside of the loop.
  • Go back down into B and leave a small loop.
  • Create more stitches in this manner.
chain stitch being tied down at the end

When you’ve formed your last loop you’ll want to create a tiny stitch at the top of it to hold it down. So this time, after you’ve come up through C you’ll push your needle through at D.

creating a hoop for the chain stitch

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Basic Embroidery Stitch 5: French Knot

The last of the basic embroidery stitches to cover is the french knot is a cute decorative stitch which is also used for fills and textures. You can vary the number of wraps you use but for this tutorial we’ll use 2.

French Knots
  • Come up through the fabric.
  • Hold your needle with one hand while wrapping the thread over and around the needle twice with your other hand.
  • Push your needle in halfway back into the same hole and hold it. With your other hand give your thread a gentle pull near the knot until your knot gently hugs your needle.
  • As you continue to hold your thread pull your needle and thread carefully through the back & let go of your thread as it disappears into the knot.
french knot tutorial

There you have it! You can use these 5 basic embroidery stitches to create all sorts of cute embroidery work. As I mentioned earlier, if you want a little more detail for each stitch just click the grey boxes with their name. You’ll find step by step illustrations as well as video tutorials.

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5 Basic Embroidery Stitches: Flower Template

Now it’s time to practice your basic embroidery stitches with this simple pattern that I’ve created for your personal use. Just download, print, and transfer it to your fabric. Try mixing the number of threads so you can see the difference it can make.

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floral and butterfly hooped embroidery

If you would like something cuter instead you can download this free floral pattern from my Creative Resource Library by joining my newsletter. I’ll send you a password to access it and other freebies I’ll be adding.

I can’t wait to see what you create!

❤️ Be passionate & happy stitching!