In this easy tutorial, I will show you the basics of how to do blanket stitch. Blanket stitch is a versatile embroidery stitch that can be used for functional or decorative purposes. Use it as a blanket edging stitch, for quilts, tea-towels, or for sewing felt toys and accessories.
Blanket Stitch Tutorial
What Is Blanket Stitch?
Blanket stitch is a type of hand stitch used on the edge of thicker materials such as felt and wool. It can be decorative, such as the pretty edges of blankets, or it can be used to join edges together in felt toys and sewing projects. Blanket embroidery stitch is often used to applique fabric as it gives a nice edge while preventing fraying.
Read my article on basic embroidery stitches.
Blanket Stitch Supplies
For sewing blanket stitch, you will need a hand sewing needle and some thread.
For Decorative Blanket Stitch:
- Embroidery thread
- Embroidery needle
An embroidery thread can be a little hard to thread through the eye of a needle, so make sure you read my article on how to use a needle threader. For items such as blankets, a thick wool yard can even be used. Read embroidery tools
For Joining Blanket Stitch:
- You can use an all-purpose thread or for a thicker look, use an embroidery thread. Embroidery thread comes in several strands intertwined so you can choose as many threads as you like.
- Hand sewing needle to suit the thread.
How to do Blanket Stitch, Video Tutorial
Please enjoy this video I made of how to blanket stitch. The video also shows you how to do blanket stitch and sew corners, and change threads.
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How to Do Blanket Stitch Instructions, Step by Step
In this tutorial, I will show you
- How to do blanket stitch - joining stitch
- How to do blanket stitch corners
- Changing threads on the blanket stitch
- Blanket stitch applique
- Embroidery with blanket stitch
1. Joining Pieces with Basic Blanket Stitch
Blanket stitch is great for joining felt pieces to make softies, Christmas decorations, and home decor.
Step 1 - How to Start a Blanket Stitch
When starting blanket stitch, the first stitch needs to be done slightly differently so an anchor is created for the first stitch.
Knot the end of your thread. It can be double or single, depending on the look you would like to achieve and the thickness of your thread.
Further Reading: How to thread a needle
To start, bring the needle through the middle of the 2 layers up to the top. This way, the knot will be concealed between the layers of fabric.
Trim the thread close to the knot and push the loose end to the inside so it is completely hidden.
Step 2 - Starting Stitch
Bring the needle down to the bottom layer and then push it up through the same hole the thread first came through.
Pull gently but stop before you have almost pulled the thread through. See how there is a loose loop formed.
Put the needle back through the loop. Now you can pull the thread tight, and this will form your starting stitch.
Step 3 - First Stitch
Put the needle through your fabric layers from the top down a short distance from your first stitch.
Where the needle comes out at the bottom, wrap the thread underneath the needle as pictured.
This is the part that gets most people confused. Just remember to always have the thread wrapping around underneath the tip of the needle, and you will be fine. Also, remember that you are sewing with the needle pointing out to the edge of the fabric.
The direction of sewing: I find it easiest to stitch from left to right, but you might prefer sewing in the opposite direction.
Pull tight, and you have your first blanket stitch. See how the thread forms an attractive border along the edge.
Step 4 - Second Stitch & Repeat
Continue this same step – needle down from top to bottom with the thread caught underneath.
What will you be sewing now you know how to do blanket stitch?
Want perfectly even stitches? Use your ruler to mark the stitch length. Try ¼-1/2 inch (6-12mm). Alternatively, put marks on your finger and hold it next to your stitching.
2. Sewing Blanket Stitch Corners
Sewing sharp corners with a blanket stitch is easy.
Step 1 - First Side
Just sew normally until one stitch before the corner. You may need to plan ahead and adjust the spacing slightly as you get close to the corner.
Step 2 - The Corner
Then go into the bottom of the last stitch and come out diagonally into the corner at a 45-degree angle.
To complete the corner, go back into the bottom of the same stitch and pull the thread at a 90-degree angle. See below how there are 3 stitches all going into the same hole at the corner.
Now you can keep stitching the next side as per normal.
3. Changing Threads with Blanket stitch
Blanket stitch uses a lot of thread, so you will be changing quite often. It is important that you do so by hiding the knots.
I have changed color here so you can easily identify the new thread, but this technique works even if you are sticking to the same color thread.
Step 1 - Finish First Thread
First knot off the last stitch. You can do this by putting the needle through the fabric close to the edge, and then before you pull the thread tight, put the needle through the loop. Pull tight.
After knotting off, pull the thread ends down so it will be hidden by the second piece of fabric.
Step 2 - New Thread
With your new thread already knotted at the end, take a small stitch through the underneath fabric.
Put the two pieces of fabric back together and there is the new thread ready to keep sewing as you were previously.
Here is my finished sample complete with straight stitches, a corner, and a change of color!
4. Blanket Stitch Applique
A blanket stitch can be used to create beautiful edges on applique. The thread lined along the edge of your cut-out piece additionally helps prevent fraying.
If you will be appliqueing woven fabric that is thin or that easily frays, try adding some interfacing to add body. I like using double-sided interfacing to not only give stability but to hold your shape in place so it doesn't move while you are sewing.
The technique is almost identical to sewing two pieces of fabric together.
Step 1 - Hide the Knot
Start by hiding the thread knot in between the 2 layers. Insert the needle underneath the top fabric to the top.
Step 2 - First Stitch
Next, we need to create the first stitch in a similar fashion to sew the 2 pieces of fabric together.
Bring the needle up between the 2 layers to the top. Gently pull until there is a loop. Put the needle through the loop and pull it out toward the edge of the applique.
This is the first starter stitch that anchors the stitching. See how the thread is pulled to the outside of the applique. Don't pull the thread toward the inside of the applique.
Step 3 - Blanket Stitch
Now we start sewing the actual blanket stitch.
Pass the needle from point 1 and come out at point 2. Notice that point 2 is on the edge of the applique. Pass the thread underneath the point of the needle.
Pull the needle and thread towards the outside of the applique to tighten the stitch.
Now repeat to get a row of beautifully formed blanket stitches.
The most important thing is to remember the direction the needle is moving. It always inserts on the applique and the tip exits on the edge of the applique with the thread around the tip.
Refer back to the above photo if you need to 1-2-thread under-1-2-tread under.
Here is our finished blanket stitch applique. The same techniques can be used to change threads and turn corners.
5. Blanket Stitch for Hems
The blanket stitch can be used as an attractive hem finish. In the photo below, you can see that it looks great on both the front and back of the finished hem. This is why it is popular for blanket edgings.
- Press or fold the hem, either double or single. Items such as blankets made from polar fleece may have just a single fold since the edge does not fray.
- On the wrong side, take the needle down through the hem to the bottom fold.
- Make sure the thread is under the tip of the needle.
- Pull through.
- Move along and repeat for the next stitch.
- Read more hemming stitches.
Blanket Stitch Projects
Now you know how to do a blanket stitch, try it on my free felt pincushion pattern. Blanket stitch makes an attractive border around the top and bottom of the pincushion. Use a thicker contrasting stitch for a trendy handmade look.
If you are looking to make a baby blanket, you could do a blanket stitch around the edges for a pretty contrasting look. This tutorial will show you how to make the baby blanket in 4 different sizes.
Blanket stitch can also be used for crochet blankets. Make baby blankets with double crochet or single crochet and decorate the edges with blanket stithc.
Blanket Stitch on the Sewing Machine
Your sewing machine most likely has a decorative stitch that looks like a hand blanket stitch. You can use it for applique or decorative sewing on quilts and sewing projects.
More Embroidery Stitch Tutorials
- 6 Basic Hand Stitches
- How to Sew a Seam by Hand – Running Stitch and Backstitch
- How to Sew Whip Stitch
- Running Stitch
- How to Backstitch
- How to Do Blanket Stitch
- Satin Stitch
- How to Sew a Ladder Stitch for an Invisible Closure
- How to thread a needle
- Needle threader
- Hand Sewing Needle
- Bring the needle up between the 2 layers to the top. Gently pull until there is a loop. Put the needle through the loop and pull out towards the edge of the applique.
- Pass the needle from point 1 and come out at point 2. Notice that point 2 is on the edge of the applique. Pass the thread underneath the point of the needle.
- Pull the needle and thread towards the outside of the applique to tighten the stitch.
- Repeat for a row of blanket stitches