Chain stitch embroidery how-to and inspiration, a Stitched Stories blog post.

The chain embroidery stitch creates a line of small loops or “links.”

Here’s a diagram and the instructions for creating it that we include in all of our embroidery pattern and kit guides.

embroidery stitching guide for the chain stitch
  1. Bring needle and thread up at 1.
  2. Insert at the same spot and up at 2. As you do this, loop working thread under the needle at 2.
  3. Pull thread all the way through to create a snug loop under the thread.
  4. Repeat by inserting needle at 2 and coming up a stitch ahead–again with the working thread looping under the needle.

WATCH ME STITCH IT

In this short video, see the chain stitch being added to our Bessie’s Blossom’s embroidery kit. Here I am stitching several short chains clustered side-by-side to create a bush in the pasture.

THE CHAIN STITCH IS HANDY FOR A VARIETY OF USES

Use the chain stitch to create thick lines.

The garlands on the trees in Joy are stitched with chains of yellow and pink.

closeup of embroidery project with chain stitch garlands on Christmas trees

Use the chain stitch to fill with texture

The periwinkle drapes in Sit a While are created with long lines of chain stitching.

closeup of home-inspired embroidery project with chain stitch drapes

Use the chain stitch for scripty text

The important words “grateful heart” on Start with Coffee are created with a flowing and looping chain stitch.

closeup of coffee-inspired embroidery project where chain stitch is used for lettering

Use the chain stitch for border accents

In Moths, notice the garnet wing tips on the top moth and the orange border on the lower moth. Both of these are rendered with a high-contrast chain stitch.

closeup of embroidery project where chain stitches are uses as high-contrast borders to define patters on moths

MORE CHAIN STITCH INSPIRATION

The nested circles at the center of our turkey in Harvest Table are created with chain stitches in tan, garnet, gold and teal.

closeup of thanksgiving themed embroidery project where chain stiches are used to create rich borders

The chain stitch adds texture, curves and color in several spots on Create. See the stripes on the woman’s shirt, the vines on the dressmaker’s dummy, and the rendering of the word “create.”

Creativity-themed embroidery pattern that uses the chain stitch for swirls, borders and lettering.

The chain stitch is used to fill the birds and reindeer antlers on Holiday Folk.

Holiday-themed embroidery project uses chain stitch to fill in sections of folk-art birds and reindeer

Are you ready to embrace the chain stitch in your embroidery projects now?

Whether it’s used to render scripty text or to fill a shape with texture and color, the chain stitch is a fabulous one to have in your repertoire. Click here to choose a kit packed with classic hand embroidery stitches–like the chain stitch–today.


Embrace the beauty and charm of the season with one of our summer-themed embroidery projects.

We've got bold colors, trendy motifs and engaging designs all perfect for your summer stitching.