5 Basic Embroidery Stitches For Beginners

Floral pattern made with 5 basic embroidery stitches

5 Basic Embroidery Stitches to Get Started Quickly

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

At the end of this tutorial you’ll be able to download this super adorable Scandinavian-inspired floral pattern to practice with.

Floral pattern made with 5 basic embroidery stitches

Now let’s get started, and don’t forget that you can click the purple heading to reach tutorials dedicated to those specific stitches!

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.

  • Come up at A and return to the back at B.
  • Leave a gap and repeat the steps.
running stitch going from point A to B
running stitch in red

Back Stitch

The next basic embroidery stitch is the back stitch which in some ways is similar to the running stitch but there aren’t any gaps in between each stitch.

  • It starts just like the running stitch, by creating a single stitch.
  • And you’ll also leave a gap when you come up to the top of your fabric.
  • Now here’s where it differs. Instead of moving forward, you’ll go back to the end of the previous stitch.
  • Just repeat the last 2 steps until you’re happy with the length.
comparison of back stitch and running stitch

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 the receptacle of a flower.

There are no set rules on where to start so you could begin at one end of your shape or the center. I’ll start in the center to split the shape into sections. Just add a straight stitch from one end to the other.

one straight stitch

Add another row by coming up next to starting point of your previous stitch and returning on the opposite side. Continue adding rows until you’ve filled in half of your shape.

rows of straight stitches filling in half a shape

Then fill in the other side.

satin stitch filling in a flower receptacle

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.

  • Come up then back down into the same hole and leave a loop behind.
  • Come up a stitch length away through your loop and pull it through gently.
needle coming up through a loop

Return to the back through the loop and leave another loop behind.

loop hugging the needle

Repeat until you’re happy with the length. Tie the last loop down with a small stitch.

chain stitch

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.

  • Come up to the top of your fabric and wrap your thread over and around your needle twice. Then push it back halfway through (or close to) the entry point, pull the thread tight until it hugs your needle.
thread wrapped around needle

Then carefully pull your thread though. It helps to hold the thread down near your needle as you do this.

french knot

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.

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.

If you want to get your hands on the floral embroidery pattern I used for this blog post, sign up for my newsletter and I’ll send you the download, plus I’ll also send you a 50% off coupon code to one of my floral embroidery sampler patterns in my Etsy shop!

Or take a peek at my magical embroidery pdf patterns which can be found in my Etsy shop.

I can’t wait to see what you create!

❤️ Be passionate & happy stitching!

Floral pattern made with 5 basic embroidery stitches

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