If you’re launching into any embroidery projects this weekend, you might consider incorporating the chain stitch – or some variation thereof – into your current project.
Why? Lots of reasons! The basic chain stitch is easy, it’s versatile, it’s attractive, it works up quickly – and it has oh-so-many variations to it that you could never get bored with it!
The amazing thing about this list of 26 chain stitch variations is this: they just scratch the surface. There are heaps more ways to incorporate chain stitch into your embroidery projects, but this list is a good place to start.
26 Tutorials for Chain Stitch, Variations of Chain Stitch, and Chain Stitch Composites
- Chain stitch: the basic stitch that started it all! It serves well on its own, as a line stitch or a filling stitch, and it also forms the foundation for many composite stitches that involve chain stitch.
- Alternating or checkered chain stitch: when you want a little alternating color in your chain stitch line, just use this version, which requires stitching with two threads in the needle at once.
- Basque stitch: another combination of chain stitch (twisted, in this case) and buttonhole stitch.
- Braid stitch: think of it as a series of sideways-worked twisted chain stitches. Makes a beautiful braided line!
- Cable chain stitch: the chain stitch that really looks like a chain. It can also form the base of composite stitches, like the buttonholed cable chain stitch.
- Chain stitch lines with opposing lines of buttonhole stitch: another composite, this requires four chain stitched lines, over which the buttonhole stitch is worked. Great for wide filled lines with a little texture to them.
- Chain stitch spider daisy: this combines detached chain stitch and ribbed spider web, to create an interesting, textured, raised, flower or geometric element.
- Crested chain stitch: a variation of chain stitch that incorporates a coral knot on top. It can be worked open, closed, small, large, for different looks.
- Detached chain stitch: the ubiquitous daisy stitch – the easiest petal-shaped stitch, it consists of one chain all by itself.
- Detached chain stitch in two colors, take one: a nice way to dress up your daisies!
- Detached chain stitch in two colors, take two: and another nice way (and easier) to dress up your daisies!
- Double chain stitch: creates an open double line with a zig-zag pattern inside.
- Heavy chain stitch: an easy way to create a tight, smooth, braid-like line.
- Hungarian braided chain stitch: a favorite! This is a wonderful stitch for a textured braided line that works up quickly.
- Interlaced chain stitch band: another composite chain stitch that creates a chunky, textured line.
- Knotted chain stitch: a chain stitch with a knot involved.
- Open chain stitch: This one is interesting – it can create a boxy line, or, when worked close together, it almost looks like two opposing lines of buttonhole stitch.
- Oyster stitch: a combination of a twisted chain stitch inside a larger chain stitch, these stand on their own and make nice, plump ovals, great for leaves, flower petals, and oyster stitch rose buds.
- Raised chain stitch band: a great way to create a nice, chunky composite stitch. It makes great edgings when finishing ornaments and the like, too!
- Rope stitch: this is more of a “hidden” chain stitch. It’s chain stitch that ends up looking almost like padded satin stitch. (The video is old, but it still works – it’s on my “replacement” list…!)
- Rosette chain stitch: a great stitch for flowers and for decorative lines, this is a combination twisted chain, chain, and upside-down buttonhole. (Another one of the old videos – still works, but needs replacing!)
- Scalloped buttonholed chain stitch: the star here is more the buttonhole than the chain stitch, but you couldn’t have one without the other in this composite. You can also buttonhole the cable chain stitch, for a round eyelet look.
- Spanish knotted feather stitch: this one is a combination of twisted chain stitch and feather stitch. It can be worked open or closed.
- Twisted chain stitch: Another stitch that’s used as a foundation for composite stitches, too – it can be worked in a line or individually.
- Wheatear stitch: yes, it looks like wheat.
- Whipped chain stitch: whether whipping a whole chain stitch line, or just one side of the other of the chain stitch, or whipping two rows of chain stitch together, chain stitch works well whipped.
And there’s your list! 26 ways you can use chain stitch – and actually a few more, with some additional links in the descriptions.
Finally, don’t forget chain stitch as a filling, especially in tambour embroidery! Great way to fill a space, by hand, relatively quickly!
Like I said, it’s not an exhaustive list, but it’s a beginning.
What’s your favorite way to use chain stitch? Any inspiring ideas you want to share? Any variations or composites that are chain-stitch based that you’d like to add to the list? Feel free to add to the conversation below!
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