5 Types of Hand Embroidery Stitches That Beginning Sewers Should Know

Want to sew some clothes for yourself, take a sewing project or even create some crafts? If you are a beginner, it is important to first of all learn some basic hand embroidery stitched that will help you get started in this field. Although many people consider the process of learning these stitches to be difficult, the truth of the matter is that anyone can master them with a little bit of practice and patience. Let’s look at 5 main types of hand embroidery stitches that every beginner should know and practice.

Running stitch

Running stitch is one of the most popular hand embroidery stitch used for creating an outline to embroidery designs. The stitch can be used to sew anything ranging from embroidery to clothing. The stitching can be used in two ways one of which involves pushing the floss and the needle in and over a fabric but using one continuous motion. This is more similar to the popular hand sewing. It can also be done by pushing your needle through the fabric and then pulling it back up. This is normally referred to as “stabbing” or “punch and poke” method.

Back Stitching

This stitching is great especially when you want a solid line like that of text or outlines. The hand embroidery is done by pulling the needle and thread up through a fabric and then doing a stitch forward. You then space the needle within the length of the desired stitch from underneath and then pull up through your fabric. Bring the needle and the thread back down right from the end of the earlier stitch. As the name implies, you stitch back to the point where the upper floss went through the fabric to create a somewhat continuous stitch.

Stem stitch

This hand embroidery stitch got its name from its use. Basically, it was used for creating vines and flower stems but also works very well if you want to sew something that needs to curve. If you know how to do a split stitch, then stem stitch is easy to understand as you start just the same way by creating a straight stitch forward before bringing the needle and the thread up from underneath your fabric. However, rather than going through the centre of the initial stitch, stem stitch involves bringing the needle up just next to the side of the stitch.

Split stitch

Split stitch is similar to back stitch as it creates one continuous solid line. However, it has some braid-like texture which makes it unique and different from split stitch. It works well for outlines and text but you can also use it for filling in your designs. To do a split stitch, you begin by pulling the needle and the thread up through your fabric and then creating one straight stitch. Once the needle and the thread are pulled to the underside of the hoop, you will then bring up the needle through the central part of the stitch that you’ve just created. With this done, you then sew forward to the same length as the initial stitch and repeat it by bringing your needle up the middle of each stitch.


If you want to do lettering and vines or stems, couching is a great hand embroidery stitch to use. The stitch is done using two working floss and these can vary in colour, type and size or ply. You will have a couched thread which is pulled up as you start your line and then pushing it down to the end of the line, leaving a slack. You will then use the couching thread to fasten down your couched thread alongside the curves of your lines. The two threads are then fastened once your desired line has been created.

These same hand embroidery stitches can be replicated using the best sewing machine for the money. The best thing though is that sewing machines tend to make the work easier and faster but you will also need to learn how to go about it in order to master your skills. It is however worth noting that hand embroidery is more artistic and looks amazing especially when done properly but on the other hand, you may find sewing machine embroidery to be amazing for your bottom line.