How to Embroider Perfect Lines with Stem Stitch
At first, I was a little intimidated by the Stem Stitch. How could a series of straight hand embroidery stitches follow a curve so nicely? It had to be hard! But it’s not! As long as you follow your line and take small, consistent stitches, even tight curves appear smooth. And if your line turns sharp corners, the Stem Stitch can handle that, too! The video below shows you how!
The Stem Stitch has a rope-like appearance that’s easy so see in this drawing. It’s the rope-like quality that makes this stitch so effective on curves, resulting in a smooth, gap-free outline. Some embroiderers work the stitch from the top of the work, as shown here. Others use a “stab” method that provides more control, especially when you are learning.
This version of Stem Stitch from AOK Corral is a little different in that it works from right to left – most tutorials will have you stitch from left to right. But this may be just right for you and how you stitch. If it works for you, go for it! The Stem Stitch looks just like it would if stitched from the other direction.
Made to Sew shows you how to embroider with Stem Stitch “from the top” – keeping your needle and thread visible at all times. You can also see how easy this stitch can be made without an embroidery hoop.
The Stem Stitch has so many applications! Stitch Piece N Purl offers instruction through diagrams, photographs and video. When you are ready to “graduate”, there are some variations on the stitch here, too.
Straight lines, curves, corners – they are all at your fingertips in this video tutorial by Jack Dempsey Needle Art. Lots of other cool stitches on the site, too!
- See my favorite 10 Easy Embroidery Stitches to Embellish Your Projects.
- If you like the Stem Stitch, check out Chain, Chain, Chain Stitch for another fun outline stitch.
- Create Whimsy has an embroidery page with lots more project ideas!