5 Hand Embroidery Stitches to Add to Your Repertoire

There are hundreds of types of hand embroidery stitches out there and I have no doubt it would take many years to master them all.

Lucky for you, after learning the basic hand embroidery stitches, you have the skills to create almost any other stitch! I tried my hand at 5 unfamiliar techniques to show you how easy it can be to learn something new.

Here is a beginner’s guide to 5 more types of hand embroidery stitches to add to your repertoire!


Tools required:

  • Fabric – a woven cotton or an Aida
  • Thread – cotton floss or crewel wool
  • Needle – suitable for your style of fabric and chosen thread
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Disappearing fabric pen

Ceylon stitch

This chain-style stitch looks similar to a braid or knitted stitch when completed. I have seen many variations on how to create this stitch, but the technique described below seems to be the simplest.

Step by Step guide to Ceylon Stitch

1. Anchor your thread (A) and create a simple large straight stitch (B).

2. Bring your needle up through your fabric directly under A (C).

3. Pass your needle beneath your large straight stitch and over the top of your thread, as pictured in the second photograph.

Ceylon stitch

4. Repeat step 3 until you have three loops. Push your needle into your fabric (D) directly below B.

5. Bring your needle up through your fabric directly under stitch C (E).

6. Pass your needle under your first loop. Repeat for all loops then create a stitch beneath D.
Repeat steps 5-6 until your chain is complete.

Ceylon Stitch

Woven wheel

Also known as a woven spider web/wheel, this is a very simple stitch that looks impressive and adds great texture to any embroidery!

Woven Stitch

1. Start with a star shape made of simple straight stitches. Ensure your star has an odd amount of points.

2. Bring your thread up through the center of your star. I have chosen a contrasting thread, but the same color may be used throughout.

Woven Stitch

3. Bring your needle underneath your first stitch, then over the top of the next. I worked in an anti-clockwise rotation but any direction will work as long as you follow it consistently.

4. Continue weaving your needle through your stitches working around your star, altering between under and over stitches.

Woven Stitch

5. Keep weaving until you have filled your star and can no longer see it. Bring your thread through your fabric once complete and secure from behind. Congratulations, you have a woven wheel!

Rice stitch

This stitch would work best on an open weave fabric such as Aida or Hessian.

Rice stitch

1. Begin with a series of simple cross stitches.

2. Bring your thread up in the center between points A and C.

3. Create a diagonal stitch that ends in the center between points A and D.

Rice stitch

4. Repeat stages 2 and 3 between points CB and DB.

5. Bring your thread up through your AC stitch and back into CB. Repeat through stitches AD and DB.

Rice Stitch

6. The final result is a diamond shape on top of a cross. Repeat the pattern on top of all crosses.

Scroll stitch

This was the simplest stitch of the 5. Although the example was stitched in a straight line, this can also work for swirls, zigzags or waves — any outline or shape imaginable.

Scroll stitch

1. Draw a guideline in erasable pen on your fabric. Anchor your stitch at one end.

2. Stitch into your fabric at point B and come up again at point C as show in the images. Note that point B sits just above the line and point C sits just below it at a diagonal angle.

3. Before pulling your thread through, wrap it behind the needle across points B and C to create a loop. Gentle pull your thread to create your knot.

Scroll Stitch

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 across your guideline. Voilà! You have a Scroll stitch!

Scroll Stitch

Knotted diamond stitch

This is probably the trickiest of the five stitches, but it also has one of the best results!

Diamond Stitch

1. Draw two straight guidelines parallel to each other on your fabric in erasable fabric pen.

2. Anchor your thread on the first line (A) and create a stitch across to point B on the opposing line.

3. Bring your thread back through to the front of your fabric below point B (C).

4. Bring your needle under the AB stitch and wrap your thread around your needle as shown in the picture above. This will create a knot that should be situated at to the right at BC.

5. Repeat step 4, situating the knot to the left at the A point.

Diamond Stitch

6. Push your needle into the fabric just below A to create point D and to secure your second knot.

7. Bring your needle back through to the front of your fabric at point E. Loop through the second stitch as shown in the picture above.

8. Stitch through your fabric at F and G.

9. Repeat step 4 to create a knot at the FG point.

Diamond Stitch

10. Pass your needle beneath the thread at the E point. Loop your thread around your needle.

11. Stitch into your fabric at H.

Steps 9-11 are a repeat of the earlier steps, but working down the guidelines.

Diamond Stitch

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