7 days of stitches: running stitch

7 days of stitches: running 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

Let’s start with the first of basic stitches for this week! The RUNNING STITCH probably is the most simple and basic embroidery stitch. Yet you can achieve the most intriguing patterns or minimalistic line stitchings.

Here is how it works:


For the running stitch you go over and under the fabric in one line.

By increasing or decreasing the space between stitches you can achieve a different look of the running stitch.

Embroidery techniques using the running stitch as their basic stitch are Sashiko and pattern darning.

Sashiko is a technique from Japan traditionally using indigo blue and white for thread and fabric. Geometric patterns are embroidered with running stitch following some basic rules for edging and center. Sashiko is often reversible.

Pattern darning is a technique used all over the world. The pattern is created with running stitches over the whole length of the pattern row for row. You can see an example in the top image in this post (the arrow shaped lines). It resembles two colored woven fabric or in some cases satin stitch. Pattern darning can be done reversible.

Some artists use the simple and raw nature of the running stitch to their advanage. Here is a selection of a few to show you how versatile this stitch really is.

laubordados montanietas hand embroidery

‘montanietas’ by laubordados

running stitch used by Alabama Chanin for handsewn and embroidered garments

running stitch used by Alabama Chanin for handsewn and embroidered garments

geometric landscapes by s.lapre

geometric landscapes by s.lapre

A great way to get into the running stitch are my geometric animals patterns:

geometric animals hand embroidery pattern

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

pinterest board running 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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