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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Video Tutorial: Basket Stitch


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It’s been a long, long time since I’ve successfully produced video tutorials for different hand embroidery stitches. The collection of how-to embroidery videos here on Needle ‘n Thread includes over 50 videos of embroidery stitches, but they are all woefully outdated. I’m working on updating the collection, but golly, I’m slow! And on top of that, I think all the planets have to be aligned a certain way for each video to come together as it should!

But – today – finally – I’ve got one to share. It isn’t utterly perfect, but I hope you find it useful!

This video is for the Basket Stitch. I love this stitch! I’ve not used it much, but every time I have, I’ve been really satisfied with it! My most recent encounter with Basket Stitch was on the spot sampler:

Basket Stitch in Hand Embroidery

The first time I showed Basket Stitch here on Needle ‘n Thread was on this tiny whitework fish, when I was testing a transfer pencil. Some layers of the tail are stitched with basket stitch, as you can see here:

Basket Stitch in Hand Embroidery

When I worked that little whitework fish guy, I received a heap of requests for instructions on the Basket Stitch – so all I can say is, It’s About Time!

Basket Stitch Tips:

Basket Stitch can be worked on plain weave or even weave fabric.

It looks best when stitched with a twisted non-divisible thread, like pearl cotton, coton a broder, floche, buttonhole silk, or any similar thread. It comes out “ok” when worked with floss, but the finish is a lot smoother, and you can’t see the “weave” of the stitch as clearly. The excerpt above from the spot sampler (stitched in red) is worked in three strands of regular embroidery floss. See how smooth the finished look is, when compared to the white basket stitching on the fish tail above? The white basket stitches are worked with coton a broder. In the video, I’m using perle cotton (#5), which produces a very visible stitch pattern.

Here’s the video – it’s rather ancient, but someday, I will update it!

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(21) Comments

  1. What neglected fingernails? I was too busy listening and watching what you were doing to notice 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing and taking the time to do the video.

    As for re-doing all your other videos….. that’s a serious amount of work so take it easy there!


  2. Hi,

    Loved this stitch.. Especially the white and purple samples looked very nice.

    What all can we use this stitch for? Can this be used for thick stems of a flower?


    1. G’morning, All! Thank you for your comments!

      Hi, Elaine – it is a lot of work, but it’s pretty fun, once all the frustrations of setting up are over! Editing is the best part. I record the voice after the stitch, so I end up doing about umpteen million voice-overs before I can get through it without saying something inane or sneezing or squeaking my chair… or – the worst! – without a train going by!

      Hi, Preethy – yes, thick flower stems, loose scrolls (doesn’t take tight curves well), borders, wavy lines, etc… I made a few suggestions at the beginning of the video. It works well in wool embroidery, too – so, think crewel work, with various stems and curved lines.

      Thanks, Joan!


  3. It looks like a lot of fun once you get it going. My question: how do you finish off the starting point so it’s even? Just go back and fill in some how?

    1. Glad you like it, Cynthia – the stitch is actually very easy, and it makes a great wide line stitch.

      Hi, Irene – you can start the first stitch with less of a slant, and take the second stitch up a bit higher, to even out the beginning, but your overlap will end up closer to the edge, and the “weave” won’t be as apparent, because it will move towards the sides – but it’ll still look ok, just spaced a bit differently.


  4. Thanks for the new video. I’m looking forward to trying this stitch. I have always found your videos so helpful.

  5. I am afraid I am having trouble with this stitch and I am making a pillowcase for my niece Emery
    for her 1st birthday in august. In some need of help thanks

    Natalie in FL

  6. Hi Mary
    Again let me thank you for this wonderful site. How I wish I could find the time to stitch every day! Next I would like to ask you if you have a collection of paisley patterns along the lines of the “Church patterns for embroidery”. I am itching to make a small item in a paisley design. Finally, if one were monogramming fine percale pillowcases, which thread would you use for a white on white design?

    1. Hi, Maggie – for whitework, I usually use either coton a broder or floche. You can find both available through Hedgehog Handworks in the States. In Canada, you might try Traditional Stitches to see if they carry them. Hope that helps! ~MC

  7. Hi,

    I am Tripti from India. I was going through your video on basket stitch and found that this stitich is very common in India, particularly, Gujarat, the state that I hail from. But we do it differently and I think that our method is much smarter, since it leaves the fabric’s backside very neat. I would like to share this with you.


    1. I enjoy using the Basket Stitch along patch edges that are put on blue jean knees. If ypu have an easier method that looks neater on the backside I would love to see, hear, learn of your known Basket Stitch technique! Many thanks for sharing! Beulah

  8. Me gusta mucho lo que haces y te sigo para aprender lo que veo.
    Me gustaría hacer un curso o taller pero no sé dónde, si puedes darme información te estaría muy agradecida siempre.
    Saludos cordiales

  9. I ‘ve just started embroidery and I wanted to let you know how helpful your videos have been I love them all I replay and replay till I get it right thanks so much

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