Running Stitch

Running stitch is the most basic sewing stitch. If you’ve ever learned to sew by hand, this is most likely what you did. It is used in garment making, crafts and quilting. Because it’s a utility stitch, it is often overlooked as an embroidery stitch. Don’t make that mistake! It is kind of like a good support bra — not much on its own, but makes everything else look better.

When to use it:

  • Outlining shapes
  • Fillers with light colour density
  • Shadows
  • Secret Morse code messages
  • Fake perforations
  • With birds and insects to show movement
  • With eyes to indicate staring
  • Anywhere else you want a dotted line …

How to do it:

Knot the thread and bring the needle up from the back.

Put the needle partly through to the back, and then bend it down toward the fabric without pushing it all the way through.  Gently rock the needle up and down as you are pushing it, so it comes up to the top side of the fabric and then goes back down.

The number of stitches on the needle will be determined by how long the needle is and how long you want the stitches to be.

Some people do running stitch pulling the needle all the way through every time it goes into the fabric, taking it down to the back and then up to the front.  This is fine, but it is much slower.  If you have the dexterity, it is worthwhile to practice loading stitches onto the needle and then pulling the thread through all of them at once.

If you are having trouble getting the stitches to go exactly where you want, pick up fewer stitches or try doing one at a time.


Check out more embroidery stitches in the directory.

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