How to work the Chain Stitch in Embroidery

learn how to embroider the chain stitch!

Embroidery is such a relaxing and calming needlework activity that can be taken on the go.  Just keep the thread, needle, hoop and fabric in a bag and the project is ready to take along on long car rides, to informal meetings, and simply do while binge watching favorite shows.

On this page is a tutorial showing how to do a chain stitch when doing embroidery. There are many embroidery stitches, like the embroidery chain stitch, that can be done to create elegant and beautiful designs; just take a look at our page devoted to embroidery stitches to learn more.

Embroidery Chain Stitch Tutorial - fb

What does an embroidery chain stitch look like?

This embroidery stitch is aptly named.  An embroidery chain stitch looks like a series of loops joined together to make a chain. It is a very pretty stitch and is quite simple to learn.

What is the use of chain stitch embroidery?

The chain that is created by doing an embroidery chain stitch is most often used to outline designs. It is a very decorative embroidery stitch and adds such lovely details to an embroidery project.

The loops of this stitch are delicate and decorative.  The back stitch is also used to outline designs, but it is used to form what looks like a line when completed.

What is the difference between chain stitch and lazy daisy?

Many people think the embroidery chain stitch and the lazy daisy stitch are the same. 

The lazy daisy stitch is indeed a type of chain stitching; however, the lazy daisy stitches are detached and are most often used to make petals for delightful embroidered flowers. 

Take a look at the article by Sew Guide showing eight beautiful ways to make flowers using the lazy daisy stitch.

The lazy daisy stitch is sometimes referred to as the detached chain stitch.

On the other hand, the embroidery chain stitch is continuous and is used as a decorative outline stitch.

To learn how to chain stitch, watch our video below or keep reading this post for written directions.

COMPLETE VIDEO TUTORIAL AVAILABLE! The video below is a preview with no audio, to watch the whole video tutorial, click the link How to work the Chain Stitch in Embroidery to watch in Youtube.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

Chain Stitch Samples 2

WHAT YOU NEED to make a chain stitch:

  • Fabric to stitch on
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needle
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Scissors

INSTRUCTIONS FOR How to embroidery the chain stitch:

Chain Stitch Finished

STEP 1: Bring the needle up from the back

With a threaded embroidery needle, push the needle from the back of the fabric 
Embroidery Chain Stitch 1 Bring up needle

up through to the fabric top. Embroidery Chain Stitch 2 Pull thread through

Bring the thread all of the way through the fabric until it is taut.

STEP 2: Form a "U" shape

Once the thread is pulled to the top, form a U-shaped loop with the thread.  To do this, pull the thread about two inches from the hole where the thread came up from the back.
Embroidery Chain Stitch 3 Hold thread to right

Hold the thread in place with your thumb and push the embroidery needle down into the original hole where the thread first emerged.

Embroidery Chain Stitch 4 Needle down beside thread

STEP 3: bring the point of the needle back up

While continuing to hold the loop with the thumb of the hand that is not sewing, bring the needle point back up a stitch length away from the spot that the thread emerged.

The stitch will be shorter if the needle is brought up closer to the emerging thread, and it will be longer if there is more distance before the needle is brought up.
Embroidery Chain Stitch 5 bring up to the right

STEP 4: form the first link

Once the needle is coming from the back of the fabric to the front one stitch in length, gently pull the needle and thread through the hole.

Keep holding the loop with your finger as the thread is being pulled up.
Embroidery Chain Stitch 6 pull thread through

Slowly release the loop of thread that had been held in place and pull the needle and thread all of the way through the fabric.  Once the loop of thread has been released, the first link will be formed.
Embroidery Chain Stitch 7 thread almost pulled

Flatten the stitch to form the link.
Embroidery Chain Stitch 8 first stitch finished

STEP 5: Make the next link in the chain stitch

To continue the chain, put the point of the needle back down from the top of the fabric into the hole that the thread had emerged from.  Make a U-shape with the thread once again and hold it with the thumb. 

Embroidery Chain Stitch 9 needle down just past first stitch

Emerge to the top one stitch away as was done with the first link, keeping the working thread under the needle point. 
Embroidery Chain Stitch 10 bring up

Gently pull the thread up through to the front and slowly release the U shape.  The loop will be caught by the working thread.

Embroidery Chain Stitch 11 pull thread until loop tight

Continue making stitches in the same way, joining links with each stitch.Embroidery Chain Stitch 12 second stitch finished

Now you are on your way to making a decorative outline using the chain stitch! Chain Stitch In Hoop

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more embroidery stitch tutorials

Feather Stitch

Herringbone Stitch

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Chain Stitch Embroidery Tutorial - pin

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