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Running stitch - hand embroidery stitches for beginners

Running stitch

The running stitch is the basic stitch of hand embroidery, on which all other forms of sewing are based. Running stitch is worked by passing the needle in and out of the fabric. The needle is continuously pushed through the cloth, starting on one side and ending on the other side. This stitch can be embroidered by using both sewing and stabbing methods.

Other names of the running stitch

Besides running stitch, this basic stitch is also called a straight stitch, basting stitch (in sewing), a long stitch, or a run stitch.

Applications of running stitch:

  • In sewing, running stitch is used for basting, hems, and gathering.
  • In quilting – to hold the fabric layers and batting.
  • In patchwork – to assemble pieces together.
  • Darning and mending. Running stitch is widely used in traditional Sashiko, Boro, and Kantha embroidery styles. It is perfect for mending clothes or attaching multiple layers of fabric to each other. 
  • Surface embroidery. The running stitch works excellent for outlining, lettering, and even filling. Also, the running stitch is a base for some composite whipped, threaded, and parallel stitches.

Variations of the running stitch

  • Threaded running stitch
  • Double threaded running stitch
  • Whipped running stitch
  • Looped running stitch
  • Stepped running stitch
  • Meandering stitch (parallel running stitch)
  • Fairy lights stitch (parallel running stitch)
  • Eskimo lace ending
  • Japanese darning stitch
  • Holbein stitch
  • Darning stitch

Video tutorial

Watch a video tutorial below and learn this essential stitch.

What's next?

In case you need more guidance, sign up for my hand embroidery online course – “The top 10 hand embroidery stitches to learn”. This course is totally free and teaches all the stitches from the list of the best embroidery stitches. Besides that, a free pdf embroidery pattern download is included in the course.

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!

Related projects

Would you like to learn Running stitch stitch while practicing? Then, check out the projects below and create something beautiful today!

Solar system design for hand embroidery is a great embroidery project for beginners.

This pdf pattern in bright sunny colors would perfectly suit the jeans or trousers’ back pocket. Also, you can embroider this design on a t-shirt, tote bag, or a string backpack, make a banner, or frame it in a hoop and decorate your children’s room.

This simple motive would perfectly suit the bed linen of your child or even a tea towel.

Are you looking for a minimalist flower embroidery design to decorate your home or clothes?

A combination of bright blue colors of the design will make it stand out on dark and light-colored fabrics.

Simple design and basic embroidery stitches involved make this flower embroidery design approachable even for hand embroidery beginners. Besides, this pattern comes with fully guided instructions.

Running stitch PIN

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