Straight stitch embroidery - red thread on white fabric

Straight stitch embroidery

Straight stitch, often considered the backbone of hand embroidery, is as simple as it sounds. It involves pulling the needle up through the fabric and then back down a short distance away. Despite its simplicity, it’s incredibly versatile and forms the foundation of many complex stitches and designs.

Other names of the stitch

You can find a Straight stitch named a Single Satin stitch or a Stroke stitch. If the Straight stitches are grouped in a linear manner, they will become a Running stitch. Instead, if you sprinkle Straight stitches to fill in the shape, this filling technique will be called a Seed stitch.

Straight stitch with red thread
Straight stitch with red thread back side

Applications of the Straight stitch

  • Groups of single Straight stitches, worked using thread, ribbon, yarn, or any combination of fibers, can create various textures, mimicking anything from animal fur to grass.
  • Single Straight stitches can work as a part of other stitches. For example, you must make one Straight stitch to start a Reverse chain stitch.
  • Straight stitches are often used to add small decorative details to the pattern. Tiny stitches can depict a smile, whiskers, or eyelashes. Any small detail will look great with this stitch.
Detail of hand embroidered sun image - bright yellow threads on white linen
Small straight stitches form eyelashes of the Sun.

More stitches from the Straight stitch family

Learn how to embroider Straight stitch

Follow the step-by-step tutorial with detailed photos below, and you will learn the Straight stitch in no time. If you are a visual learner, watch a video lesson in the tutorial or Practical Embroidery YouTube channel to learn this hand embroidery stitch faster.

Straight stitch with red thread

How to embroider Straight stitch

Yield: 1 sampler
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Difficulty: Beginner

Step-by-step tutorial


  • Piece of fabric. Opt for linen or cotton blends.
  • Embroidery floss. In this example, I used a single thread of dark red pearl cotton.


  • Hoop
  • Embroidery needle
  • Scissors or snips


  1. Make the knot and take the needle up to the fabric's surface. Straight stitch Step 1
  2. Make a stitch of the desired length.
  3. Pull all the thread down to the back of the fabric. Straight stitch with red thread
  4. Tie the knot on the back to secure the stitch. Two knots on the back red thread

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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