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What Is A Chain Stitch

Chain stitching has gained a reputation for being one of the more difficult ways to stitch. Many people find that it requires a lot of floss and can take time to perfect. However, once you master the chain stitch, you’ll have another skill in your toolbox to make designs with lots of texture. 

Our post below included details on what you need to chain stitch, the steps to follow, as well as additional tips to help you avoid making some of the most common mistakes. 

What Is A Chain Stitch

In the world of embroidery, the chain stitch is a highly discussed stitching method that involves a stitch being looped. It can be implemented across straight and curved lines which can make it a staple in future embroidery designs. 

After checking out our post below on the basics of chain stitching, you’ll be able to progress to the more complex forms of chain stitching, such as lazy daisy, heavy chain, detached chains, and more. 

How to Start Chain Stitching

Using the right fabrics is crucial when it comes to chain stitching to ensure that the needle can penetrate easily. Therefore, we recommend using open weave materials, such as linen. Aida fabric is also a great choice as it comes with countable threads and open weaves. 

Once you’ve chosen the fabric, you’ll want to find a frame or hoop. Using a hoop or frame helps to keep the fabric securely in place so that you can stitch with precision. 

As far as thread types go, you can use embroidery floss with several strands that you think is best for your design. The more strands there are in your embroidery floss, the thicker the chain stitch will look. So, if you wanted to achieve more detail in your chain stitches, a floss with fewer strands would be best. It’s also best to use an embroidery needle that has a large eye. 

How to Do Chain Stitch

Begin your chain stitch by piercing the needle through the fabric at the point where you want the design to start. Pull the needle through the fabric again but in a position that’s slightly further away from the starting point. 

Next, pull the thread that you’re working with behind the needle and bring the needle through the loop that has been created. When you’ve one this step, you will have completed your first stitch. 

You can continue this same process to create more stitches. When you want to finish, make a small straight stitch that anchors at the end of the last loop you make to keep it securely in place. 

How to Change The Thread

If you want to make changes to the thread in the middle of working it, be sure not to end it with the anchoring stitch method mentioned above. You should put your last loop on the fabric and weave the end of the thread underneath the stitching on the opposite side of the material. 

The loop that you have remaining should be either larger or very close to the same size as the other loops that you’ve made. When you have the new thread that you want to use, weave it through the underside of the stitch on the opposite side of the fabric and pull the needle up to the area where you want the new stitch to begin. 

If you find that the new loop size is too big, you can make it smaller by tugging the tail of the thread that you used first on the front-facing side of the fabric. When you see that the size of the new loop is the same as the rest, you can continue stitching. 

How To Reverse Chain Stitch

Reverse chain stitching doesn’t lead to the final design looking any different to a design that has been chain-stitched normally. The technique of reverse chain stitching has some differences that some people find easier to grasp compared to the standard method. 

It works by beginning your stitch at the other end of the chain stitch design. One of the biggest benefits to reverse chain stitching is that you won’t be prone to accidentally pulling stitches out. 

The first step in reverse chain stitching is to create a straight stitch on the main stitching line. Be sure to keep the stitch straight and pull the needle through the fabric that’s a distance of one stitch away from the line that you’ve made. 

Next, pull the needle underneath the straight stitch line and bring it back through the point where the initial point where the needle came upwards. 

Finally, locate the area at the end of the last stitch you made. Bring the needle through while making sure that it’s one stitch length away from the endpoint of the final stitch that was made.

Bring the needle through one more time underneath where the last stitch was made and bring it up through the area that you just slid it out from. You can repeat this process over and over until you’ve completed the row of stitching that you wanted to achieve. 

How To Chain Stitch For Borders

A great benefit to using chain stitching is that it lets you make borders and implement a wider range of textures in your designs. This is because you have more control over how long you want your links to be. 

Shorter stitches can be used in combination with thinner ones which can look fantastic. Furthermore, people like to use shorter chain stitches for creating letters too. This can be awesome for enabling you to create customized designs for people. 

Tips For Chain Stitching

While using the methods mentioned above for chain stitching, there are some additional tips that you may find useful. 

One great tip when it comes to reverse stitching is to use two different colors in the same line. You can use two needles that have separate floss for color variation in your designs.

Another great way to implement more elements to your chain stitch is to use a running or backstitch in the design. When the chain stitch is finished, you can use a running or backstitch over the top to create an additional dimension that can add a lot to your design. 

Paying attention to the direction of your thread while chain stitching is important to make sure that you can avoid mistakes with twisted parts.  

While you’re chain stitching, be sure to stay mindful of how tightly you’re pulling. This is because pulling too much can lead to the links puckering up too much. You should also keep careful watch over the gaps in between each stitch so that you can achieve your desired stitch size with accuracy. 

It’s common to get partway through design and not be happy with the direction that it’s going in. You’ll be glad to hear that you can simply unravel the stitches and begin again. 

A useful tip to have better precision while chain stitching is to hold the stitch with your thumb on the top. This provides you with more control and will help you become more intuitive with creating stitching with different sizes and shapes.  

Related Questions

Can You Use Chain Stitching for Filling?

Chain stitching can be used as an excellent method when it comes to creating filling. This is because using a chain stitch design helps you to fill up your work quickly, especially if you’re using thicker floss. 

If you want to make a filling when chain stitching, stitch together various rows that are close to one another so that the fabric underneath isn’t visible. To make fillings with more texture, you can change the direction of the stitching rows. 

Where Does The Chain Stitch Originate From?

Chain stitching originated from Egypt as it was discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb among the various garments that were found. However, chain stitching has been used all across the world since then.


Hello, I am Jessica Flores, and you are welcome to my website. I am a professional fashion designer and a seamstress. I always carried a passion for craftwork. My love for craft grew along with time. I have spent years researching and practicing in this field to gather colossal experience.

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