3 Embroidery Stitches Every Quilter Should Know


At times, a well placed line of embroidery stitches can highlight the design on a quilt. A line of accent color along a border draws the eye. A subtle outline on an isolated motif highlights the theme. A simple line of stitches can do amazing things!

Here are three line stitches every quilter should have in their arsenal to use when a little magic is needed.

Follow the basic illustrations below to learn these three simple stitches.

Start with a stitch back, then bring the needle up where you want the next stitch to end. Notice the thread will always be in the middle of the of the bite the needle takes in the fabric. This creates a continuous line of stitches. Use a single strand for a subtle hit of a line or use 3 strands with a metallic thread twisted in for some zip!

To make a split stitch, take one stitch back and bring the needle up in the middle of the stitch, splitting the floss or yarn. Take another stitch and come up splitting in the middle of that stitch, splitting it in half. The split stitch ends up creating a braided look so it’s great to use with six strands of floss or an even cluster of threads. Variegated thread makes quite a statement using this technique.


This classic stitch covers a line with a diagonal stitch. Take a diagonal stitch across the line bringing your needle up beside the middle of the stitch. Continue to stack the stitches in a line with them all laying side by side. The stem stitch offers more coverage so it is great to lay into a seam line of a border or accent the seam of a binding.

Grab a needle and some fun yarn or floss and start playing today!


Left handed diagrams are shown below.



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May I ask politely that you also show diagrams for those of use who are LEFT-Handed? These ARE “three line stitches every quilter should have in their arsenal to use when a little magic is needed” – and not all quilters are right-handed. Thank you.

Maureen Lange

As a left handed I understand the frustration of seeing everything “backwards”. Fortunately and unfortunately we will always be a minority. We can do the stitches exactly the same way. Ours will just slant the other way.

Why not print out the diagrams and turn them upside down? That should work.
from another leftie.


That is a great idea from another leftie.

Jan Steinhoff

Judith Baker Montano shows many of her stitches for lefties in her books.such as Elegant Stitches, C &T Publishing, 1995.

Thanks everyone – I did a post last night regarding this issue and addressed the comments left by both Maureen and Cathy – and will edit it to include my response to Jan – below – https://alefthandedquilter.blogspot.com/2017/02/3-embroidery-stitches-for-left-handed.html Jan – I have a book by Judith Baker Monsanto – “Elegant Stitches” – published in 1995 – and out of 176 pages – there are exactly 6 (six) pages in the section called – “Stitches For Left-Handers”. The first page is a lovely Chapter Title/photo page – and the next 5 (five) pages have 9 stitches shown for Left-Handers. Maybe the book… Read more »

Hey, Left-handed quilters! Our designer, Lauren, added some diagrams for you, too. Scroll to the bottom 3 images. Hope these help you out. Let us know. ~ Sylvia Thomas, AQS Social Media Manager

THANKS, Sylvia – I/we REALLY appreciate the additional diagrams! Thank Lauren for me/us – and ask her to do me/us a favor. She provided diagrams “in reverse” – but some of us (me included) need them turned “upside-down”. If you could provide both ways – then we can figure out what works for us. Again – THANK YOU!! – ;))

Maria H Goetz

Turning upside down does not work. Then you would be doing stitching, for example, from top to bottom.

Thanks for the left handed instructions. Greatly appreciated