The stem stitch is one of the most common embroidery stitches and is used frequently in surface embroidery, freeform embroidery, whitework, redwork and more.
This stitch is worked as a thin line and can be used to outline embroidered shapes, as flower and plant stems, and in tendrils. Stem stitch is easy to work along a straight or curved line.
There are several variations of this stitch, which you can learn to work on the following pages.
To work the basic stem stitch, insert your needle to the upper left along one of the marked lines on your fabric. Insert the needle back into the fabric to the lower right of the line, inserting the tip of the needle into the next upper left area as you stitch.
A thinner line can be achieved by working the stitch directly on the line, rather than slightly above or below it.
Stem stitch can be worked tightly or loosely, depending on your preference or project requirements. To work along a tight curve, or to work a smooth line, take smaller stitches. For a rustic or open look, take longer stitches.