How to Hand-Stitch an Outline Stitch

comments (0) June 20th, 2008     

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JenniferStern Jennifer Stern, contributor
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Here is the cabbage rose that I embroidered using the outline stitch!
Insert needle 1/4 inch to the right of where the thread emerged from from the fabric. Bring needle back up through the same hole the thread originally came up in.
To form the second stitch, repeat this process, inserting the needle 1/4 inch from the first stitch, bring the needle up in the hole that forms the right side of the previous stitch. Notice that the thread is above the needle.
Keep repeating this process to create your outline stitches.
Here is the flower that I drew onto the fabric with a wash-away maker.
Here is the cabbage rose that I embroidered using the outline stitch!

Here is the cabbage rose that I embroidered using the outline stitch!

Photo: jennifer Stern

The outline stitch is a staple in every hand-embroiderer's toolbox. If you're new to handwork, it helps to understand what it is about this stitch that creates a nice, smooth edge to your designs. This stitch is similar to the stem stitch, which is also used for outlining, with one subtle difference—the thread is kept above the needle as you inch along (at about 1/4 inch at a time). It's easy to let the thread slip where it may as you're stitching along...I know, because that's where I had trouble when I first learned this stitch! Actually, keeping the thread consistently above the needle is what gives this stitch its graceful look as it travels around tight curves and curlie cues! This stitch is perfect for doing redwork. If you missed my blog on redwork, check it out! I spend a lot of time with my embroidery machine, but I have to admit that I am enjoying a special kind of satisfaction when I spend the time stitching by hand...especially when it's a design that I doodled myself. Here's how to do it...We're going to practice making a straight line. When you've got that down, stitch some curly cues so you can see how nicely the outline stitch hugs the curves!

I'm going to use three strands of DMC cotton embroidery floss, but you can use crewel thread if you like. Start with the thread pull up to the top, starting at the left end of your line.

 

Insert the needle about 1/4 inch to the right of where the thread emerged from the fabric. Bring the point of the needle back up through the same hole as the thead first came up through. Note how the thread is above the needle at this point.

 

As you pull the needle out of the fabric, keep the thread above the stitch you are creating. Pull the thread firmly through. Then repeat the process to make the next stitch. The thread will be coming out under and approximately in the middle of the stitch you just created. Insert the needle 1/4 inch to the right of this last stitch. Bring the point of the needle back up through the same hole as the right side of the last stitch. (Note how this new stitch overlaps the right half of the previous stitch.)

I like to draw a design on my fabric, but you can go out and get a kit with a printed design already on the fabric.

 

 

 

 

 

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posted in: embroidery, how-to, outline stitch

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