Fly stitch is a great way to add graceful detail to your embroidery. Think of wings and the way you drew them in your childhood pictures as birds flew across the page. Little Y shapes joined together. Fly stitch embroidery is simple to make and can be joined or just stitched separately. Big or small, broad or narrow, fly embroidery is a stitch to try out and enjoy.
Fly Stitch Tutorial
Fly stitches are filling stitches that can be used for leaves, flowers, or to decorative effects. The fly stitch can be horizontal or vertical and can also act as a filler stitch.
The fly stitch is also called the open loop stitch.
Look at all the effects you can do with just the one versatile stitch. If you do the stem really small, you can turn the Y shape into a V! My favorite is the curved fly stitch leaf.
If you are just beginning to sew embroidery, have a read of my article on how to embroider. This will show you the basic tools and stitches you can use to build your skills.
Fly Stitch - Supplies
Here is what you need for fly embroidery:
- FABRIC –You can use any fabric with an open weave such as linen, Aida or calico. I used an unbleached calico for these samples.
- NEEDLE – Hand or embroidery needle that has a large eye designed for thicker threads.
- THREAD – Embroidery floss is best for this stitch. You can use all 6 strands or separate them for finer work.
- HOOP – Embroidery hoops keep the fabric flat and prevent you from pulling too hard and puckering the fabric.
How to Do a Fly Stitch, Step-by-Step Instructions
Here I have used unbleached calico fabric. You can use Aida cloth or linen as well. Mark your design with a removable fabric pen or tailor's chalk. For practicing, you can do your sample with lines marked in lead pencil. If you stitch carefully over the pencil, you won't see the lines.
Step 1 - Bring Needle from Underneath
Prepare your hoop and design. Thread your needle and bring your needle out from underneath for the first part of the stitch. Your thread can be secured with a knot or by placing some tape on the ends underneath.
Step 2 - Insert Needle Down and Up
- Insert your needle in at point (2), directly opposite point (1).
- Bring the needle up at point (3) which lies between point (1) and point (2) and is slightly forward. This will form the V shape.
It is important that the thread is positioned under the tip of the needle as it exits at (3).
Step 3 - The Fly Stitch Tail
Finish the V shape and make a small stitch at the point (4). The distance you place (4) is up to you. If it is really close to (3), it will look like a V shape and the further it is away the more it will look like a Y shape.
This makes one stand-alone fly stitch that now looks like a Y on the fabric.
You can leave your fly stitches as singles or add extras in strings to form leaves or coral.
Fly Stitch Variations
Variations in your fly stitch can be achieved by altering the stitch sizing, position, orientation and density.
Sizing of Fly Stitch
Variety can be added by changing the length or width of the stitch and lengthening or shortening the tail.
Fly stitch makes an interesting filler if they are alternated in rows. One row of fly stitch the right way up and another underneath upside down. This can give quite a geometric look to your design.
Make a stitch line for your design and ensure the tail of the fly stitch is running along this line. Each new stitch is joined to the next as you stitch along the line and join the tails together vertically.
Once again there needs to be a line to follow as you join each fly stitch together following a horizontal line. This is achieved by connecting the stitch at the top of the V by bringing the needle out at the top point of the V and continuing in a horizontal line.
Fly Stitch Leaf
Use joined fly stitch as a beautiful leaf filler. The center straight stitch resembles the vein of the leaf. The size of the outside of the Y shape is varied from small to big to small again to look like a nice crescent-shaped leaf. You can alter the density of the stitches to look like different leaves.
Fly Stitch - In Conclusion
Fly stitch is really a simple, but effective stitch guaranteed to help you fly through a design and beautify your embroidery with the simple basic stitch or take it further with variations to a theme.
- Embroidery Floss
- Bring your needle out from underneath at (1) . Insert your needle in at point (2), directly opposite point (1). Bring the needle up at point (3) which lies between point (1) and point (2) and is slightly forward. It is important that the thread is positioned under the tip of the needle as it exits at (3).
- Make a small stitch at the point (4). The distance you place (4) is up to you.
- Pull the thread through to form a Y shape.
- Join the fly stitches for a leaf shape.
More Embroidery Stitches
Embroidery is a wonderful, relaxing hobby. Here are more embroidery stitches to try.
- Blanket Stitch
- Buttonhole Stitch
- Chain Stitch
- Chevron Stitch
- Couching Embroidery Tutorial
- Cross Stitch
- Double Herringbone Stitch
- How to Embroider
- Faggoting Embroidery
- Feather Stitch
- Fern Stitch
- Fishbone Stitch
- Fly Stitch
- French Knots
- Hand Embroidery Stitches
- Herringbone Stitch
- Lazy Daisy
- Running Stitch
- Sashiko Embroidery
- Satin Stitch
- Seed Stitch Embroidery (Rice Stitch)
- Stem Stitch
- Straight Stitch
- Web Stitch | Embroidery Tutorial
- Whip Stitch