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How to Chainstitch – embroidery video

how to chain stitch - video tutorial for hand embroidery

This is the last of the outline stitches we’ll be doing for a little while – and it’s definitely the fanciest so far.

Chain stitch is one of my favorite hand embroidery outline stitches, but it’s not the first one I teach.

I generally start with running stitch because that’s the easiest stitch there is. (This video shows how to do running stitch.)

Then I move on to back stitch. That’s the most versatile outline stitch and also really easy. Here’s the video showing how to back stitch.

Then I usually teach split stitch. It’s almost as easy as back stitch, and has a nice texture – almost as nice as chain stitch. Here’s the video showing how to split stitch.

Then I finally teach how to chain stitch. So here’s the video!

I just adore this stitch!

I especially like to use chain stitch for cursive letters – you can see that in this alphabet embroidery pattern.

Three pendants showing the letters JOY - showing how to chain stitch for letters. Uses the Joy ABC embroidery pattern

I also like to use it for really lovely decorative lines, like on this felt Easter Egg coaster found in this pattern.

felt Easter egg coasters embroidered with stripes - used as an example of how to chain stitch

Here’s a super close up showing how I used chain stitch to outline a satin stitched heart from this pattern.

hand embroidered heart showing purple sating stitched heart outlined with chain stitch

Want to fancy it up even more?

Here’s a stitch called backstitched chain stitch. So very fancy!

sample of backstitched chain stitch - hand embroidery

There’s a video here showing how to do it.

Here are all my lessons for outline embroidery stitches.

Return to the Learn to Embroider main Table of Contents.

Move on to the lessons teaching fill stitches.


  1. I love this tutorial. You demonstrate not only what to do but what not to do as well–plus how to fix it. Excellent!! Thanks for these videos.

  2. I’m glad you found it helpful!

  3. Hi, just found your blog and have started to embroider this week while my baby has been ill ( needed something that I could easily pick up and down and can do on the sofa!) love it already and will be using your videos again and again. Thank you so much for inspiring me and making such detailed directions! Another craft added to my list!

  4. P.s love the tying a knot tutorial, I can’t stop doing it!

  5. Mrs. Green – Glad to know you’ve picked up a new craft. 🙂 I love embroidery for all the reasons you mentioned – you can do it anywhere and it’s easy to pick up and put down at any time. And I’m glad you liked the knot-tying – it’s pretty magical, isn’t it?

  6. Anonymous SAYS...

    Hi! I’m an art student who just started embroidering. These tutorials are amazing! I’m pretty much going through all your videos. Thank you so much!

    • Anonymous SAYS...

      I have been looking all over for the pattern The Ladies. Links don’t work. I’m sure this is user error. Can you help???


  7. Laura SAYS...

    Thanks so much for the great video. I wanted to let you know that I found on Pinterest a tutorial that was labeled “The Easiest Chainstitch.” So I went to the link and tried out the suggested way of doing it (it’s a photo tutorial). It is soooo easy to do. Much easier for my little brain to wrap around. The blogger said a student told her it was the way she did it. Here is the link if you want to try it out:
    Hope you don’t mind me posting this.

    • I’ve tried that method too and it’s really easy – but I find my needle catches on the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy a lot when I try to slide it under the loops. I usually like to use a blunt tapestry needle for whipped and wrapped stitches, but that doesn’t work for this because you’re also stabbing. I use it more often when I’m stitching on plain fabric without the Sulky.

  8. Pingback: Stitch of the Week: Best Chain Stitch Tutorials – Geeknots

  9. Mona Merz SAYS...

    I took your quilting as you go tutorials, and just now found your embroidery stitch tutorials. You are so clear and easy to follow! I embroidered as a young girl and am wanting to teach my little nieces how to embroider. Following along with your tutorials not only brings back wonderful memories learned from my Mother, but I feel confident to review these almost forgotten methods and go on to teach my family. Thanks so much!

  10. Pingback: How to Stitch a Lazy Daisy – video - Shiny Happy World

  11. Zaka SAYS...

    Nice Post