Combining Stitches to Create Borders and More

  • 01 of 06

    Using Basic Stitches to Make Border Designs

    Stitch Combinations
    Stitch Combinations. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    Borders are an excellent way to frame a stitched phrase or finish off a smaller motif. And beautiful embroidered borders don't always require complicated patterns.

    All you need to do is look to some of your favorite stitches (or perhaps a few new ones you'd like to learn!) and put them together! It only takes two or three different stitches and a whole new border is born.

    They can be used as a frame on all four sides of a square or rectangle, as a line above and below a design, or along...MORE the hem of table linens any other items. You can even embroider many designs on a curve.

    What follows is a collection of five stitch combinations for you to try. But that's just the beginning! Try making your own borders with the stitches you love!

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Xs and Faux

    Cross and Sheaf Stitches
    Cross and Sheaf Stitches. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    This thin border is made using cross stitches and sheaf stitches

    It's helpful to start with guide lines drawn on your fabric for the top and bottom of the sheaf stitches. After some practice, you should be able to stitch them consistently and probably won't need the lines.

    Stitch the sheaf stitches with about 1/4" between each stitch. Stitch a cross stitch between each. 

    Alter the size and spacing of your stitches to create a different look. You can also add another color to this by...MORE making the horizontal line on the sheaf stitches another shade.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Fly Stitch Brackets

    Fly Stitch and French Knots
    Fly Stitch and French Knots. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    Use fly stitches and french knots to embroider this more angular border. 

    Alternate stitching the fly stitches in different directions. You can space them so they are touching or so there is some room between them. 

    Add a french knot in the "brackets" made with the fly stitches.

    Continue to 4 of 6 below.
  • 04 of 06

    Argyle Lines

    Herringbone and Running Stitches
    Herringbone and Running Stitches. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    This wider border reminds me of argyle sweaters and is stitched with herringbone and running stitch.

    Stitch a line of herringbone stitch, then add lines of running stitch in the gaps. Two stitches should fit nicely between each section of the herringbone. 

    Try working this with tied herringbone or adding other stitches for a more detailed design.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Dotted Chain

    French Knots, Chain and Cross Stitches
    French Knots, Chain and Cross Stitches. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    This simple border combines chain stitch, french knots and cross stitches

    Start with a line of chain stitching. Alternating on each side of the chain, embroider a french knot centered above or below each "link" of the chain. 

    Add a cross stitch between each french knot. 

    You can also stitch this with the french knots and cross stitches only on one side of the chain stitching. This is especially good for embroidering the border on a curve.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    Filled Zig Zag

    Open Cretan and Ermine Stitches
    Open Cretan and Ermine Stitches. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    For a fuller border, combine open cretan stitch and ermine stitch.

    Embroider a line of open cretan stitch. In each space, add an ermine stitch, with the top of the stitch extending past the edges of the open cretan stitch.

    Try making the stitches different sizes and proportions. Leaving more space around the ermine stitches will give it a airier look, while keeping things tight will look more dense.