How to Work a Running Stitch

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    How to Work the Running Stitch

    Running Stitch Diagram
    Running Stitch Diagram. © Mollie Johanson

    Running Stitch is one of the most basic stitches, and is usually the first stitch learned by the beginner embroidery or sewing enthusiast.

    This stitch can be worked in straight or curved lines, or for assembly when finishing an embroidery project. It even works well for top stitching something by hand with a sweet edge.

    To work the running stitch, bring your needle through from the back side of the fabric to the front at your starting point (point 1). Go back down a short distance from the first...MORE point to complete a single stitch (point 2).

    Come up again a short distance from point 2 and continue, repeating to the end of the stitching area.

    If you prefer, you can also weave the needle in and out of the fabric, loading several several evenly-spaced stitches onto the needle at once. Pull the needle through the fabric and repeat.

    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Running Stitch Examples & Ideas for Use

    Running Stitch Examples
    Running Stitch Examples. © Mollie Johanson

    Because it's so easy, you might think that running stitch is not suitable for many embroidery projects, but you'd be surprised. Especially because there are so many ways that you can change it up. 

    Variations of the embroidery version of this stitch include the whipped (or wrapped) running stitch, laced running stitch, as well as a few dozen others. Another way to add variety to your running stitches is to alter the length of the stitches and spaces, forming a pattern similar to the second...MORE example above.

    A similar version of this stitch is used for sashiko embroidery. See the diagram of the sashiko stitch for more information.

    Running stitch is also the basic stitch used for darning stitches, with the straight stitches arranged in patterned rows.

    One way to work running stitch in a way that doesn't even look like running stitch is to work it as double running stitch. This method allows you to use different colors or weights of thread for a whole new look.

    And any time you want to take a simple stitch and dress it up, just try working it in combination with other stitches

    Learn to work this stitch with ease and then look for all the ways you can use it in your embroidery for a sweet and simple finish!

    Updated by Mollie Johanson