Bullion Stitch Tutorial

Bring on the Bullion Stitch!

Here’s another fun embroidery stitch that will add texture and interest to your embroidery pieces… the bullion stitch. It looks like a straight stitch but with volume, and if you don’t mind me saying, it resembles a little worm.

But don’t let that scare you off! I’m not a fan of creepy crawly things, but I really like the bullion stitch and you can easily find creative ways to use it.

It’s a wonderful stitch that can create things such as open and closed fills, hair, seeds, and flowers. You can create one single bullion stitch to make something like a wheat grain or it can be grouped together to get some really fun effects.

One thing to note about the bullion stitch is that while it looks simple it’s not exactly a beginner’s embroidery stitch, kind of like the popcorn lazy daisy stitch. It requires both hands and a bit of coordination, but the good news it it won’t take long for you to get the hang of it.

You’ll find my video tutorial at the end. Sometimes, photos just aren’t enough and seeing how something is made through a video can be super helpful.

TIP: The bullion stitch works best when using high quality threads such as DMC threads. They tend to be smoother and firmer which makes it easier to pull through your wraps.

Your Needle

Because you’ll be wrapping your thread around your needle and pulling the needle through the wraps, you may want to use a needle that’s tapered, one that doesn’t have too bulbous of an eye, otherwise it’s gonna get a little feisty and not want to slide through.

I use my regular DMC embroidery needles to make the bullion stitch because the eyes aren’t too large to create major issues, and I’ve learned not to wrap my thread too tightly. But if you have any trouble with it use a Milliners (straw) needle which is streamlined and will help your needle pass through easily.

Step one

The bullion stitch can be created from any direction, and for this embroidery stitch tutorial I’ll make one going up & down.

Begin by coming up to the top of the fabric from the bottom and returning to the back a stitch length away at the top.

Don’t pull the thread all the way through. It needs to be pretty loose on top to continue the rest of the steps.

Step Two

Push your needle back up to the top, at or very near the point where you started, but don’t pull it all the way through.

Step Three

Hold your needle in place from below the fabric with one hand. With the other hand, pick up the end of the thread that’s next to your needle and carefully wrap it several times around your needle. It doesn’t matter which direction you go.

Remember, your needle needs to pass through your wrapped thread so don’t wrap it too tightly.

Push the wrapped thread down along your needle and set it gently against your fabric to check the length. It should reach the hole at the top where the other end of your thread is located.

Step Four

Here is where it can get a little tricky, and this may require some practice…

Pinch your wrapped thread and carefully pull your needle through.

Step Five

As you pull your needle and thread up with one hand, use your other hand to keep your bullion stitch from unravelling. Use your fingernails to pull the wraps down if they start to stray.

Continue pulling until your bullion stitch fits nice and snug against your fabric.

Feel free to use your needle to adjust the wraps if any fall out of place.

Step Six

To finish your embroidery stitch, just return to the back of your fabric.

The first few I made were a bit of a disaster, so if that’s the case for you don’t feel bad. It’s a bit of a tricky one, but I promise that it’s worth learning and you’ll find it fun once you get it down.

Curved Bullion Stitch

To give your stitch a curve, simply add more wraps to your needle. That’s all you need to do, then return to the back at the hole at the top of your fabric.

If you make your loose stitch (the initial step) really small you can add a bunch of wraps and create a circular shape. This is a little trickier than making a straight or slightly curved bullion stitch but as they say, ‘practice makes perfect’.

Try creating a french knot, then adding bullion stitches that go around it. This will create a cute little flower or rose!

This embroidery stitch isn’t a beginner’s stitch but it’s not too difficult so give it a few go’s! Don’t forget to watch my bullion embroidery stitch video below:

Bullion Stitch Video

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Bullion stitches on fabric

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