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Types of Embroidery Stitches

5 Basic Types of Embroidery Stitches That You Need to Know

An embroidery stitch is a technique executed in a particular manner, to form a figure or a pattern on a fabric. This article throws light on the different styles and types of embroidery stitches.
Kanika Khara
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
A stitch is defined as the periodic movement of a sewing needle from the back of the fabric to the front side and then back again. The thread stroke formed at the front side of the fabric is also known as a stitch. Embroidery patterns are formed by practicing many embroidery stitches in the same or different style, by following a counting chart on paper or even by working freehand.

There are two ways to do embroidery stitches efficiently and neatly: hand-sewing method and stab or maggam work. In the hand-sewing method, the needle is inserted into the fabric, brought to the surface of the fabric, and the thread is pulled through. It can be performed by using an embroidery frame or free-hand. The frame makes the work simpler and helps in inserting the needle without stretching the fabric too much. The stab method is more common in India and is also known as 'Aari' work. It is like a chain stitch in which the needle is put into the cloth at an angle of 90 degrees, and then the thread is pulled through. It can also be performed using a frame or a hoop.
Types of Stitches in Embroidery
Embroidery uses different variations of stitches. Each one has a particular name to help identify it. All of them are generally simple to execute; however, when combined together, the results can be unique and complex.
Straight stitch
Straight stitch
Straight stitch passes through the fabric in a simple up and down motion, in which the needle is brought through the fabric at one end and returned from the wrong side at the opposite end of the stitch. The thread has to be pulled carefully so that it shouldn't pucker or distort the work. Simple satin, Algerian eye, fern, running, or blasting stitch are some popular types of straight stitches.
Chain stitch
Chain stitch
Chain stitch is the easiest of all the looped stitches, in which the needle is brought through the fabric at one end of the stitch and is inserted back into the fabric at the same point. Then, again the needle is brought back up at the polar end of the stitch. To complete and secure the row, the needle is taken to the wrong side over the loop from where it came through. Lazy daisy, Spanish chain, or zig-zag chain are some examples of the chain stitch.
Cross stitch
Cross stitch
Cross stitch is done by forming a line of diagonal stitches in one direction by using the wrap and weft of the fabric and while coming back crossing the diagonal in the opposite direction, forming an 'x'. Breton, sprat's head, and herringbone stitch are some of its types.
Back stitch
Back stitch
Back stitch is commonly used to draft an area of a design. It works along one side of a square or diagonally across the square in an encircling motion. It is normally worked on last with a finer thread. Stem, split, and crewel stitch are some of its examples.
Buttonhole stitch
Buttonhole stitch
Buttonhole stitch or blanket stitch, holds the loop of the thread on the surface of the cloth. In this, the needle doesn't return to the actual hole to pass back through the cloth. The stitches are tightly packed, which prevent the raveling of the woven fabric. They form the basis for a variety of needle laces. Crossed buttonhole, closed buttonhole, and tailor's buttonhole stitch are some common examples of the buttonhole stitch.
These were just a few out of the many different types of embroidery stitches. They are used for basic sewing or decorative purposes. By slightly altering the stitching style, a completely different look can be achieved.
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