How to Embroider the Chain Stitch

chain stitch as fill on boat

The chain stitch is my new favorite embroidery stitch. Sorry stem stitch, I’ve replaced you. I want to chain stitch all the things now! Chain stitch is fun to do and, though it takes a little bit to get used to keeping the tension even, it zooms along once you get the hang of it. It makes an interesting outline and an even more interesting textured fill, like I used on the boat above.

how to chain stitch step 1

To embroider the chain stitch, start with your needle coming up from the bottom of your work.

how to chain stitch step 2

Put your needle back into the same hole or right next to it. Pull the needle to the back side but leave the floss as a big loop.

how to chain stitch step 3

Pull the needle through to the right side of your work at the point where you would like the next stitch to start.

how to chain stitch step 4

Gently pull your thread through until the loop you created just tightens to the start of the next stitch. Don’t pull too tightly.

how to chain stitch step 5

You stitch subsequent stitches in the same way. Start by going back into the same hole.

how to chain stitch step 6

Pull the needle from bottom to top at the point where the next stitch should start, making sure it’s inside of the loop created in the previous step.

how to chain stitch step 7

Then gently pull your thread until the stitch tightens down to just meet the start of the next stitch, being careful not to over-tighten.

how to chain stitch step 8

To finish a line of chain stitching, insert your needle from top to bottom just on the outside of the previous stitch’s loop. You are effectively creating a small tack that will keep the final loop in place.

chain stitch comparison

You can get different effects based on the number of floss strands you use, how tightly you pull the floss, and how long your stitches are. The tighter you pull your stitches the more elongate they will look. The closer together the stitches are, the rounder the stitch looks. Experiment!

chain stitch as outline

Have you tried the chain stitch? Does it excite you like it does me?

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