How to Work a Running Stitch

  • 01 of 03

    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, giving it a charming edging.

    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...MORE the first 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.

    Taking one stitch at a time is helpful for making evenly spaced stitches.

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

    Continue to 2 of 3 below.
  • 02 of 03

    Working Running Stitch as a Patterned Fill

    Filling an Area With Running Stitch
    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. 

    One way to work this stitch into your embroidery is to use it as an open fill stitch. By working evenly spaced rows of running stitch, you can quickly create a plane of stitching.

    In the example above, each row is staggered so it has a brick-like layout. You could also keep the rows aligned, which will...MORE form a striped pattern.

    Running stitch is also the basic stitch used for darning stitches. They are worked similarly to the pattern above, and are perfect for using embroidery as a form of visual mending.

     

    Continue to 3 of 3 below.
  • 03 of 03

    Running Stitch Examples and Ideas for Use

    Running Stitch Examples
    Running Stitch Examples. © Mollie Johanson

    Variations of the embroidery version of this stitch include the whipped (or wrapped) running stitch, laced running stitch, and 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 example above.

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

    If you're feeling adventurous, try working all of the outlines with running...MORE stitch on a simple pattern. You'll end up with a project that looks similar to many sashiko designs!

    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