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Holbein stitch hand embroidery tutorial

Holbein stitch

Holbein stitch is a variation of a Running stitch. Visually it resembles a Back stitch. But, unlike the back stitch, it appears the same on both sides of the fabric. 

The method of embroidering a Holbein stitch is simple. First, embroider the line of the running stitch. Then, embroider one more line of the running stitch above, closing the gaps of the stitches from the first row.

Applications of Holbein stitch

  • Holbein stitch can replace a backstitch, especially when both sides of the embroidery have to look like a back stitch. 
  • It is widely used for border designs as a simple but decorative border. You can make a single-color Holbein stitch or mix two colors to make it more fun. The stitch works well in a straight line and also on curves.
  • Holbein stitch can be used as an outline stitch.
  • This stitch will be great for simple lettering (just as a back stitch)
  • Holbein stitch is excellent for mending projects.

Video tutorial

Watch this video tutorial and learn how to embroider a Holbein stitch in a single color or two colors, straight lines, curved lines, or stepped lines.

More variations of the Running stitch:

  • Threaded running stitch
  • Darning stitch
  • Japanese darning stitch

What's next?

Looking for some other stitch? Head to the Stitches and Techniques part of this blog and choose the stitch you want to learn!

N.B. Some of the links may take you to the EasyToMake designs blog. This is my older hand embroidery blog. While I’m dedicating all of my energy to the Practical Embroidery blog, the previous version still has a lot of great content!

Learn with Practical Embroidery Online School!

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Learn with Practical Embroidery online school!

Free online embroidery course - The top 10 hand embroidery stitches to learn
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