UPDATE: Originally I wrote this post in February 2014 as a tutorial series. However, I recently felt that it would be great to vamp this series up and add some new insights of my own, picture examples and a pinterest board to get in the mood to start stitching! So if you are reading this in 2016 and later: Hello! You just read the better and improved version
Satin stitch is widely used as a fill stitch. The name comes from the smooth surface similar to the surface of the fabric called satin. The satin stitch consists of parallel usually quite long stitches. There are two possibilities to make the satin stitch. For the first method you simply mark the shape of your area to stitch and embroidery it following the marks. For the second method you prestitch your shape with a line stitch like backstitch or splitstitch and embroider over this. The second method produces a neater appearance and for a beginner is easier to do. The stitched shape is more textured and risen than with the first method.
If you plan to do stand alone shape like the triangle in the picture I would always use the prestitched technique while if you want to embroider something with many small shapes side by side it could be better to stitch right away on the fabric.
Here is how it works:
Satin stitch eats a lot of thread if you do it this way. You may feel the urge to save some thread and instead of stitching both sides of the fabric you’ll might want to bring up the needle right next to your previous stitch on the same side where you entered the fabric. This indeed saves ALOT of thread, but it also changes the appearance of this stitch. When you stitch around the shape the thread always lays in one direction. If you alter the stitch and go back and forth on the front only, the thread will look different every other stitch. Also at the entrance point of the threads the stitch will twist a little bit to the next stitch and form an intermitted ‘U’ with the previous stitch. Especially if you don’t use a prestitched shape this often results in a frayed looking edge. As with all things this is totally something everybody has to decide for him/herself!
Many artists use the satin stitch as the dominant stitch. It fills up whole areas quickly and has a smooth surface. Here are some great examples:
Wait, there is more! Here are some great examples of embroidery featuring the SATIN STITCH curated in a Pinterest board: