The best embroidery stitches for lines and letters

If you are looking for embroidery stitches for lines that are not called backstitch (THE go-to stitch for these purposes) you are in the right place.

Below I’ll show you the pros and cons of some embroidery stitches commonly used for lines and letters. Also, you get to see a side by side comparison of all stitches so you can see the differences more easily.

Here are 8 embroidery stitches for lines

From top to bottom:

  1. running stitch
  2. back stitch
  3. whipped back stitch (left uni, right two colored)
  4. split back stitch
  5. stem stitch
  6. split stitch
  7. chain stitch
  8. magic chain stitch (two colored)
embroidery stitches for lines and letters

To make your decision process easier, below you’ll find a tutorial for each stitch and what their strengths and weaknesses are.


RUNNING STITCH

Running stitch makes a very flat, slim line. To avoid the dashed line, you can make an additional line of stitches to fill out the empty spaces.

Stitch properties

  • good for very tight curves
  • flat and slim stitch
  • dashed line

BACK STITCH

Wait, I said stitches other than the backstitch, right? Yes, I did. Still, it’s a great embroidery stitch and I want to list all the benefits and uses for this stitch, too. There would be something missing would I not include the backstitch in this guide.

Stitch properties

  • good for very tight curves
  • segmented look – each stitch can be identified as an individual stitch

WHIPPED BACK STITCH

This stitch is a variation of the backstitch (you most probably found that out by the name). The wrapping of threads around the original back stitch blends the harsh segments of the backstitch. I find it very easy to embroider and you can use it with two colors!

Stitch properties

  • good for very tight curves
  • can be stitched in 2 colors
  • stitches blend into each other

SPLIT BACK STITCH

Another variation of the backstitch. It is very similar to the split stitch. It actually is how the backside of a split stitch looks like!

Stitch properties

  • good for very tight curves
  • stitches blend into each other

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STEM STITCH

The stem stitch is one of my favorites for line stitching. It’s looking like a thin rope and makes a thicker line than many other stitches because two stitches are worked in the same line. Stem stitch is perfect for curves and slanting lines.

Stitch properties

  • takes curves well – very tight curves are trickier
  • creates a seamless thick line
  • stitches blend into each other
  • makes a rope-like line

SPLIT STITCH

Split stitch is a variation of the stem stitch. Each stitch is split for the next stitch – hence the name. It’s not as thick as a stem stitch but at works exceptionally well with tight curves.

Stitch properties

  • good for very tight curves
  • creates a seamless thick line
  • stitches blend into each other

CHAIN STITCH

Chain stitches are basically loops held in place by the next stitch. They have a little gap in between where the fabric can shine through. There are two ways to stitch the chain stitch – one starting at the base, one starting at the top. If you have trouble with the first version, try the reverse chain stitch!

Stitch properties

  • works with curves, but not very tight curves
  • creates a very thick line
  • segmented look – each stitch is clearly visible

MAGIC CHAIN STITCH

This two-colored chain stitch is worked with two threads at once. It’s very fun to do! It has the same properties as the regular chain stitch.

Stitch properties

  • works with curves, but not very tight curves
  • creates a very thick line
  • two colored
  • segmented look – each stitch is clearly visible

Do you want more tips and tricks on hand embroidery?

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