pink flower embroidered with blanket stitch as part of embroidery stitch sampler

Stitching a motif with blanket stitch

Blanket stitch is often used for edge stitching, either in hemming or appliqué, but it can also be used to stitch shapes.

It is not straight line, like back stitch or stem stitch, so it adds a lot more colour and texture. If you want to outline a shape, but also draw attention to it with a bit of filler and colour, blanket stitch is a good choice.

HERE is a tutorial for details on stitching blanket stitch.


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hand embroidery in a flower design

To stitch a motif, just follow along the line of the shape, taking stitches from the inside of the shape to the outside.

For the flower, I used three strands of DMC#600. You can get the flower motif HERE.

unfinished embroidery of a pink flower

I worked all the petals before stitching the flower centre. The points on the tips of the petals were a bit awkward to stitch.

pink flower embroidered with blanket stitch

After the petals were done, I stitched the centre.

Tension is very important with blanket stitch. This stitch is sometimes used in drawn thread work, where it is pulled tightly to create holes in the fabric.

To use the stitch as a surface embellishment, you need a gentle hand. It should be pulled just so that it lays flat, but no more. You can see in the pink flower example, that some of my stitches were pulled a bit too tightly and it resulted in stitches not laying flat or the outline edge being pulled in so it does not have a smooth outline.

Because it is pretty consistent within the entire piece, I can call it a “design choice” even if it wasn’t my original idea.

purple flower embroidered with blanket stitch

You can see the difference in this purple flower. The outer edge is much smoother, and all the stitches lie flat on the fabric.

However you stitch it, the key is consistency. If it all looks the same, it will look fine.

If you decide to stitch without a hoop, it is extra important to watch your tension, since it is easy to pull stitches tightly and make lumps in the fabric.

With practice, all your stitches will be beautiful and blanket stitch can add interest to your motifs.


Elizabeth DeCroos

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. For more information or to have her speak to your group click HERE.

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