Chain Stitch

purple chain stitch on white fabric with title.

Chain stitch is like a nice pair of boots. It adds texture, colour and interest to a piece without drawing all the attention to itself.  It is basically a bunch of lazy daisy stitches together in a row.  Putting a bunch together makes it more of a background stitch compared to lazy daisies that yell for attention.

Once you learn how to do the basic chain stitch, the variations will be easy. You will discover lots of uses for it in your embroidery projects.

When to use chain stitch

  • outlining
  • borders
  • stripes
  • fillers
  • vines
  • branches
  • snakes, caterpillars or any other long creepy animals
tree embroidered with chain stitch.
stitching chain stitch on placemats.
flower embroidered with chain stitch

Types of chain stitch

Basic chain stitch

Bring the needle up to the surface.


Put the needle in the same hole (or very close to it) that the thread came up and take a small stitch.  Catch the thread under the needle.  Pull thread through.  This should look like the start of a lazy daisy.


Instead tacking the loop down, put the needle in the hole you just came out of of, and repeat.


Continue for as long as you want the line to be.  Tack down the final stitch when you get to the end.


Lines can be straight, curved, long or short.  Chain stitch is very versatile.

Lazy Daisy

aka: detatched chain stitch

Lazy daisy is a single link on its own. These can be used individually, but they are commonly used in groups to make flowers.

Wrapped chain stitch

Wrapping a chain stitch with another thread gives a different look to it.

Open chain

aka: square chain, Roman chain

This stitch doesn’t look like the basic chain stitch, but it is done in a similar manner.

Chain stitch in embroidery projects

Be sure to #epidastudio when you share your projects on social media!


Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos is the designer and teacher at Epida Studio. She loves to work in quilting, pojagi and embroidery and teach these techniques to others.
Learn more and get her to speak to your group.

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