7 days of stitches: stem stitch

7 days of stitches: stem stitch

 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 are reading the better and improved version :D

Stem stitch is an elegant line stitch that resembles a rope. The slanting segments make this stitch blend the single stitches into a smoother line than the more distinct segments of back stitch or chain stitch.

Here is how it works:


Stick the needle into the fabric at one stitch length and pull it up at half the length of the same stitch.



Repeat to stick the needle into the fabric at one stitches length and pull it up where your last stitch ends.



The stem stitch looks like backstitch on the backside.


 Stem stitch is often used to support other stitches which makes it difficult to find artwork which feature this stitch as the main stitch. However here is a selection of artwork incorporating the stem stitch:

Baobap's 'fireflies walk with me' handembroidery

Baobap’s ‘fireflies walk with me’ handembroidery

NaNee hand embroidery's 'camping' embroidery pattern

NaNee hand embroidery’s ‘camping’ embroidery pattern

Looking for a pattern to practice the stem stitch? Here are some of my patterns:

cabin embroidery
kristall hand embroidery pattern

Wait, there is more! Here are some great examples of embroidery featuring the RUNNING STITCH curated in a Pinterest board:

pinterest borad stem stitch

This tutorial is part of 7 days of stitches. Take a look over here to see all the other stitches.




Anne is an embroidery enthusiast living in rural north eastern Germany.

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