Learning to embroider chain stitch is a great basic start to a beautiful hobby and a way to decorate all kinds of fabrics. Chain stitch is a simple and yet effective way to link other stitches together or just a standalone decorative stitch.
It is easy and curvaceous in patterns or a wonderful filler for a design. Chain stitch has been around for centuries and was very popular with the Chinese as they decorated their fine silks with delicate chain stitch designs.
How simple is chain stitch? It really is a one-two-three kind of stitch.
Looped together, the chains link with each other and you can direct their journey across your fabric for as long as you wish.
So, set your hoop up, choose your thread, and get ready to go looping chains together.
How to do Chain Stitch
Step one: Pull your floss up through the back of your hoop at your starting point at (1). Leave a tail at the back to catch in later so the back is neatened beautifully.
Hold the tail thread securely as you start your first chain stitch.
Step two: Your thread is now on the right side of the fabric.
Insert the needle at point (2) which is next to the point (1) where the thread came to the front of the fabric. (It should be a separate hole).
Exit the needle at point (3) which is just in front of (1) and (2).
Wrap the floss under the tip of the needle and gently it through to the right side. This will make your first chain.
The distance of (3) from (1)(2) determines the size of the chain.
Step three: The floss that is pulled through acts as the anchor for the chain.
Continue to create chains as you insert the needle into the space in the previous chain next to the point where the last insert was made.
Wrap the floss around the needle and there is your next chain.
There you have it, a simple single chain stitch that can decorate anything as a border, filling in stitch or an outliner. It drapes easily across your fabric and is easy to control.
If you should change your mind this stitch is easy to undo and start again. The loops just unravel, and you redirect and go again.
Tips for Sewing Chain Stitch
- Do not pull too tightly as the chain will lose its lovely linked effect and the material will pucker.
- Hold each stitch gently with your thumb over the top so you can control the loop. As you practice, you will perfect the size and shape of each stitch.
- Watch the gap you leave as you insert the needle to make each stitch as this determines the size of the stitch.
Chain stitch is the basic stitch that can become more elaborate or intricate with many different variations. There is knotted chain, petal chain, rosetta chain, wheatear chain and zigzag chain just to wet your appetite.
Chain stitch is a must to learn for every beginner. It will continue to be a favorite as you see its potential in so many different scenarios. Getting caught up in chain stitch will keep you ‘linked – in’ to embroidery!