Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Fly Stitch Video Tutorial: Vertical Fly Stitch


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The fly stitch is a basic embroidery stitch that can be worked both vertically and horizontally. In this particular video tutorial, I’ll show you how to work the fly stitch vertically, with several variations that you can achieve by changing your spacing or the length of your anchoring stitch.

Fly Stitch in Hand Embroidery worked Vertically

In the photo above, you can see an example of the fly stitch worked vertically down the line. The anchor stitches are longer than normally seen with the fly stitch, but it’s still the fly stitch, nonetheless! You can see that working the stitch in this way, you can create a very twiggy line that’s suitable for twigs, branches, greenery, and so forth in floral embroidery, as well as for decorative seam treatments in crazy quilting and the like. You can also create decorative borders with the fly stitch worked in this manner.

Fly Stitch in Hand Embroidery worked vertically

The fly stitch can also be used as a filling in various shapes. It’s particular useful for filling leaf shapes, because the anchor stitch forms a nice vein down the center of the leaf.

Here’s the video for the fly stitch, worked vertically:

If you’d like to practice more hand embroidery stitches, feel free to visit my collection of embroidery how-to videos here on Needle ‘n Thread!

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(18) Comments

  1. Hello Mary! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your site and how much I have learned. I have two friends that are quilters and I started getting interested. Well as I learned a little I caught myself gravitating towards the patterns that included stitchery. Now that is what I really love! I have to ask about the pattern above with the caterpillar – any ideas of where I can get that adorable pattern? But first and foremost, thank you for your generosity in sharing your talent! In friendship, Carolyn

  2. Hi Mary,

    Your website is awesome. Actually i am from India working in a consulting firm. I like to do embroidery in my leisure time.But i don’t have any patterns.I know a few stitches -back,stem,laisy daisy,satin,fly,chain.Can you provide me some projects.I am not asking for any financial income,just for fun.It will be great!!

    Awaiting your response!!


  3. Greetings from Whitehorse Yukon Terrirory Canada
    Happy 2014! I can hardly believe my good fortune. I found your website by sheer chance, and it is the absolute best. A place where I can watch you create the stitches I have longed to learn. I have purchased books in the past to try and learn the techniques, without success. Your videos are just what I need, and they are free as well. I am so looking forward to pulling out long forgotten embroidery projects and using your videos to help me learn new stitches. Thank you Mary Corbett. Thank you Needle ‘N Thread. You are my shining star of 2014.

    Wishing peace and happiness to you, Carol in the great white north

  4. Hi Mary…i am very thankful to you for this amazing n beautiful site….i really fond of hand embroidery..n ur site helps me alot…i really enjoy videos in my free time…they are very good…best of luck mary…

  5. I am excited to find your web site. I want to learn all the stitches. Thank you for all your help.

  6. Thank you Mary for sharing your vast knowledge of Embroidery. I have not long taken up this pastime and have found your tutorials easy to learn from. You have given me the confidence to make my 2nd project a Zenbroidery pre printed Tree of Life. Having great fun with this. It gives free reign as to how you stitch and what colours to use.
    Just watched your fly stitch video and going to give that a go on the larger leaves.
    Your splashy colours look wonderful. I think you should keep as they are.
    Hope all your friends and relatives were ok after the hurricane.
    My thoughts were with you.

  7. Fly stitch is currently the bane of my existence! I’m working on a piece with quite a bit of connected fly stitches and I have stitched and cut out multiple times. Frustrating!!

  8. I absolutely adore you and your willingness to help those of us who are trying to remember this gentle art of embroidery.I too learned as a kid from my grandmother when she would be busy and I needed to be entertained. I loved it and did it for a few years and then life came along. At any rate I now have time and in trying to remember some of the basics it is so nice to watch your tutorials. You are so clear and precise and so very willing to share. Thank you so much. Thank you for sharing all of your patterns also. Planning to be busy with my hands for some time!

  9. Thank you so much for these videos. I recently had a wool appliqué class that used the fly stitch and the practice stitches just didn’t work out well. Now, I will be able to watch this video until I get it “just right”.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing all of your information and talent with everyone. My prayers are with you and this eye will heal and hopefully, all will be back to normal soon.

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