Chain stitch hand embroidery tutorial

Chain Stitch

A Chain stitch is an embroidery stitch in which a series of looped stitches form a chain-like pattern. This stitch is an ancient craft – examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery dates back to the 5th – 3rd century BC. This simple stitch has made its place on the list of the best embroidery stitches because it is so versatile.

This simple hand embroidery stitch is great for outlining, filling, lettering, border designs, and as a part of other composite stitches, like tulip or wheatear stitch. In addition, this stitch is very handy when embroidering flowing, curvy lines.

Also, you can make detached chain stitches and embroider Lazy daisy stitch flowers.

Did you know that this stitch can be made in two different ways? You can make regular and reverse chain stitches. Try them both and choose which one is your favorite, or use them both, as sometimes it’s convenient to switch from one way to another.

Rainbow hand embroidered on white linen fabric
Abstract plant card hand embroidered with chain stitch on pink linen fabric

Other Names Of The Chain Stitch

This stitch is also called Tambour stitch and the Point de chainette.

Applications Of Chain Stitch

This embroidery stitch is versatile and widely used in hand embroidery. In modern surface embroidery, we use it for:

  • Outlines
  • Lettering
  • Border designs
  • Filling
  • As a part of composite stitches

Variations Of The Stitch

Video tutorial

If you are a visual learner, watch a video tutorial below or on the Practical Embroidery YouTube channel. In this video, you’ll find easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions that will have you creating the Chain stitch like a pro in no time.

What’s next?

If you’re in the mood to explore more hand embroidery stitches, check out the Stitches and Techniques page for the list of other fantastic stitches available on my blog. From timeless classics to modern twists, a whole world of stitches is waiting for you to explore and master. So, grab your hoop and needle, and let’s stitch our way to creative bliss!

Need More Guidance?

The top 10 hand embroidery stitches to learn is a free online course created for beginners.

White sashiko stitches on purple fabric