Chain Stitch Tutorial

Create Solid Lines and Fills with the Chain Stitch

While the chain stitch can use up a lot of thread it is one of my favorite embroidery stitches because it can create some nice solid lines with a bit of volume and texture. It can easily add a bit of interest to an embroidery piece as either an outline or a fill. It reminds me a lot of crochet stitches when it’s used as a fill and that can give this wonderful embroidery stitch a playful personality!

As the name suggests, a chain stitch resembles a chain and is created using loops which are connected to each other. Each loop is about the same length and depending on the number of threads used you can create really nice degrees of thinness or thickness.

It’s a strong bold stitch that can give certain parts of your embroidery work more attention, kind of like the thick lines you often see in old school tattoo art.

chain stitch used as a line and a fill in pink

This is a great stitch to have in your embroidery stitch arsenal. It’s one of several popular basic embroidery stitches that every embroiderer should know. So let’s get started.

Step by Step Chain Stitch Tutorial

If you’re following along draw a guideline to start. It can be straight or slightly curved.

The first step is to create a small loop, so come up then back down through the same hole at the beginning of your guideline.

chain stitch step one

You should have a small loop. Push your needle halfway up through your loop one stitch length away.

needle coming up through fabric and through a loop

You can go ahead and pull your needle all the way through and allow the loop to fall into place as the thread tightens.

Or, you can pull the thread tight from the back until the thread hugs your needle, then pull your needle through. This is my preferred way of doing it because it keeps me from accidentally pulling the thread too hard and making too small of a chain stitch.

To make the next chain stitch, return to the back of your fabric at the same spot you last came up, which is through your loop. Leave it a bit loose on top to form another loop.

Repeat these steps until you’ve reached a happy length.

To end the stitch, come up through your last loop and instead of returning to the back inside the loop, do so just outside of the loop. This will tie your last loop down.

If you want to fill in a shape, just lay rows of chain stitches next to each other to create beautiful texture! How cute is that? Texture and character!

Be creative and have fun with your new stitch!

Chain Stitch Video Tutorial

As always, here’s a video tutorial so you can see it working.


Be sure to stop by my other embroidery stitch tutorials like my 5 Basic Embroidery Stitches for Beginners. You can download a simple embroidery practice pattern, or sign up for my newsletter so I can send you the same pattern I used for this tutorial!

Floral pattern made with 5 basic embroidery stitches

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