How to Work Satin Stitch

  • 01 of 04

    Working the Basic Satin Stitch

    Working the Basic Satin Stitch. © Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to

    Basic satin stitch is an easy filling stitch that can be used to fill smaller areas that are not to be raised, and has also been called the flat satin stitch due to its lack of padding.

    Other variations of the satin stitch include the long & short satin stitch, padded satin stitch (the inside area of the shape is padded with seed stitch, multiple layers of satin stitch or an outline stitch filling), outlined satin stitch and shaded satin stitch.

    To work the basic satin stitch, bring the needle...MORE up through the fabric at your starting point.

    Insert the needle again across from your original entry point, on the opposite side of the shape your are filling.

    Bring the needle up on the side of the shape where you started and go back down on the opposite side.

    Repeat the process to make additional stitches, always coming up and going back down on the opposite side from where your needle came up or went down.

    Take care that you don't pull the stitches too tight or it will pull the fabric in and cause puckering. Stabilizing your fabric first can help.

    Updated by Mollie Johanson

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  • 02 of 04

    Satin Stitch Tips & Tricks

    Satin Stitch Example
    Satin Stitch Example. © Mollie Johanson


    Traditionally satin stitch fills in an area without an outline around it. This means that the stitching should form smooth shapes and even lines. Evenweave fabric can make this tricky at times, as the spaces designed for stitches create a "stepped" effect with your satin stitch.

    When working this stitch to create curves, adjust the placement of the stitches incrementally, but also be prepared that some shapes require that you take a stitch differently than you might expect. For...MORE example, when stitching the end of the oval above, the ends are essentially straight, but that's what gives the right look.

    The more you work this stitch, the better you'll get at eyeing how to get the shapes you want. Until then, take a few stitches and see if it looks right, then pull them out and adjust them.


    If your satin stitch isn't giving you the straight edges you want, you can outline the area with back stitch or stem stitch. For a subtle outline, use the same color embroidery floss. For a slight shadowed outline you can use a similar color to the fill or for a bold look that pops, outline with black embroidery floss.

    With satin stitch within an outline, it's easier to do the fill stitching first so that you aren't trying to avoid catching the outline stitches with your needle. This also ensures that the outline will be snug around your satin stitch.


    Finished satin stitch should have a smooth appearance to it, although you can work some other texture into it if you desire. Jessica Pambianco and Hannah Farabaugh of LadyJaneLongStitches often add a bit of couching in the midst of satin stitch to do this. 

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  • 03 of 04

    Working the Padded Satin Stitch

    Working the Filled or Raised Satin Stitch. © Cheryl C. Fall

    Padded satin stitch can be used to fill smaller areas that are raised, giving added depth and dimension to the design area and is sometimes referred to as raised satin stitch. Small seed stitches (shown), running stitchstem stitch or other embroidery stitches under the satin stitch are used as the padding.

    To work the this stitch, fill the inside of the design area with your chosen stitch for padding.

    Next, work the satin stitch over the padding stitches: bring the needle up through the fabric...MORE at your starting point. Then, insert the needle again across from your original entry point, on the opposite side of the shape your are filling, as if you are working the basic satin stitch.

    Repeat the process to make additional stitches.

    (TIP: Instead of stitches, the shapes can be padded with fusible interfacing, fusible fleece or felt cut to shape and tacked in place.)

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  • 04 of 04

    Working the Long & Short Stitch

    Working the Shaded Long & Short Stitch. © Cheryl C. Fall

    Long & short stitch is a type of satin stitch used to fill large areas of a design, and is commonly used in flower petals or other shaped where greater detail is desired.

    It can be worked in a single color or subtle shading can be achieved using multiple shades or a single color. Multiple colors may also be used for a rainbow effect.

    To work the stitch, work a row of stitch along the top of the outline, alternating long and short stitches.

    Next, work long stitches in the gaps created when...MORE working the short stitches, working in rows until the area is filled.