The Running Stitch is the simplest and quickest of all embroidery stitches and creates simple lines and outlines. So many stitches use the running stitch as the basis, like the Whipped Stitch and Laced Stitch. As it name implies, the needle runs in and out of the material at regular intervals.
This stitch can be an outline or become a filling with rows of parallel or staggered stitches to create texture for almost any kind of embroidery stitching — crazy quilting, art quilts, sewing garments, crafts, or as a reinforcement for cutwork. Right-handers work the stitch from right to left, making small even stitches, while working the needle above and below the fabric. It is considered a stitch in the flat stitch family.
You can’t beat this stitch for fast and easy embroidery outlines! It’s a great way to define your spaces so that you can fill in with other stitches. Or – stitch a line design completely in this stitch! Vary the appearance of your stitched lines by changing thread and stitch spacing. This stitch is probably the first one to learn, and the one you’ll use the most!
This post may contain links to Amazon or other partners. Your purchases via these links may benefit Create Whimsy. Read more about our affiliate linking policy.
There are two methods to embroider this stitch – you can do a “stab stitch” or you can load a few stitches onto your needle. Each method has its proponents – I use both, depending on my choice of line, fabric and thread. For straight lines, I like to load several stitches on my needle at a time, but going around curves, I stitch one at at time using the “stab stitch”.
There are several variations of this stitch. Each one has a slightly different look, but each is just as easy to stitch!
More embroidery inspiration
This is random stitching across a 4″ sampler area uses Sulky 12 wt. thread doubled. I like the background fill that is made with the variegated threads.
Another small sampler
Check out all of the embroidery tutorials on Create Whimsy! Find inspiration with our spotlight embroidery artists.
See my favorite 10 Easy Embroidery Stitches to Embellish Your Projects.