Bean Stitch 11/14/08

The first time I saw a ‘Bean’ stitch, it was from a distance of about 12 feet.  I could see that there was something different about this embroidery, but could not put my finger on it.  I asked the owner of the project and they explained it was done with a bean stitch.  I felt the stitching and found it to be ‘alive,’ if that is an appropriate expression.  It was just so different than the other stitches and I found something that added to my design repertoire.  The design was a preloaded one in a new Brother machine.

There are probably many instances of this stitch in a design but it may not be given the specific notation that the stitch is used.  Perhaps you may look at some of your favorite designs and find this stitch.  For instance, if you have a fill pattern of an apple and there is writing on the apple, it may well be the bean stitch rather than a single or satin stitch.  It would certainly show better that the single and the satin may be just too heavy to be effective. 


I would wager than some of the ‘redwork’ etc., has this stitch within the designs because it would create a nice measure of dimension for a design.


The definition of Bean Stitch: Three stitches placed back and forth between two points. Often used for outlining because it provides a bolder stitch appearance than a run stitch and requires fewer stitches than a satin stitch.  The bean is sometimes referred to as the ‘bean walking’ because it is used as in this first photo, as an outline. 



You can see in the leaves that clearly the outer and main rib are in the bean stitch making it a subtle but interesting difference from the ‘fill’ lines of the leaf. 

In this design, the bean is in the outer petals of the flower.  While these two designs are minimal, the bean can be used in other areas, again being a subtle but defined option for digitizing and embroidery.

Photos courtesy of



In the center of this more filled design, a bean stitch is created with the gold thread.  I did sew out all four of the designs and was able to see the striking look of the stitch which unfortunately does not photograph well.  This is an FSL and you may have been using an FSL that has a more open work.  The one I have used most has a distance of about 1/16” between thread lines.  This is a much closer digitized pattern creating a somewhat different look for FSL. 


Again, the gold thread here is the bean stitch but I also created some of mine with other colors as well.  I made some in red, white and blue.  These will be on the plates at my daughter’s Thanksgiving table.  You may have noticed that she had a little girl on October 24, Addison Joy Fuller, so she will be taking it easy while the rest of us create a Thanksgiving for her and the new baby.

Photos courtesy of  


I used Badgemaster on these, of course, but I also got to try the NEB plastic sided bobbins and was very happy with the results.  The thread is slightly lighter than #40 threads making it a good choice to do FSL as well as other projects.  At just .38 cents each, they really are a good buy. 


I really enjoyed doing this blog because there was a lot to discover about this fun stitch.  If you are like me and love this wonderful craft, and you might be thinking of selling some of your projects; you can check out my spreadsheet for determining your ME costs.  I was getting so many request for the spreadsheet that I worked up a more robust document which allows for you to create scenarios based on multiple factors.  I think you will like the new and added information, making it a 'must have' for the independent business owner.


As we head into the holiday season, may I say thank you to all of you for your generous comments and thoughtful questions.  I want to wish you the happiest and safest holiday season for you and yours, Pat

Comments (24) -

What a great stitch. I never heard of it before. I see the difference between the bean stitch and going around a design 3 times. You do not get the effect of the individual stitches that way.

I will have to try this.

Again thanks Pat for a wonderful fountain of information.

Congratulations on the new granddaughter. Spoil her as grandmas are allowed to do. They grow up so fast.

Have a Great and Save Thanksgiving

cme     8^)

Love it.  I especially like the unusual.  I have been w/my grandchildren for two weeks.  Hopefully, I will get to try this on tree onrnaments.  I think this would be beautiful underneath a clear plate instead of a doily perhaps.  


Thank you also for the spreadsheet.  


barbaracarlson 11/15/2008 12:40:49 PM

These is a great stitch.  Just think of all the applications and how beautiful those designs will look.  Your examples are very nice!

Wish I could download in your format!!!!


bowlinggrama 11/15/2008 3:14:40 PM

I love the Christmas collection. Where is the first ornament found I found the Candy Cane but not the first ornament in the red and white.  Love your article also.


I am enthused with your information.  Being new at this how do I go about using this stitch.  Dont you have to be a designer to use it?  I have a Brother Innovis 1200 I dont think I have this stich?  I love reading what you write and you are very very talented.  Help>>>

Thanks for your input, I love hearing from you all!

After I finished this post, I thought to myself, 'maybe everyone knows what this stitch is, and I am the only one who didnot know it.'  Thanks for telling me it is news to you too!

It really is more interesting and lovely than three trips around an item because it really does make a difference in the outline.  

LDiane - what a great idea, under a see through plate!  I had thought about putting it on a charger plate, just peeking out so it can be seen.  I like the clear plate better.  I did my designs in different colors and will place the photos on the Projects area in Media.  I like the white and red, and use green rather than the metallic.  It just is fun!  

Barbara - What do you mean about the format?  If you don't use what I use, you can convert the design using CatalogExpress or PulseAmbassadore.  Perhaps I am misunderstanding your question.  

Bowlinggrama (love that name!!)  Look around the site, the pieces are part of a set which you can buy individually or any part thereof.  If you cannot find it, send me an email, check my profile for my address.

Jackie1 - I am not familiar with the Innovis 1200, but I would call your dealer or email Brother to find out if you have the stitch.  But, it needs to be digitized into the design you purchase, you cannot just sew it out.  Perhaps if your regular sewing machine has it, you could do a square or rectangle around a design.  Let us know if you are able to do that.


LDiane-Thanks for letting me know about the spreadsheet.  

I look forward to hearing how it works for you.  I think it is versatile for users and helps you to look at all your costs in one place.


Is THAT what it is called?!  OMG I see this all the time and wondered, " did they do that?"

Thank you so much for this -- I must go now and try it out. Laughing

The designs shown are great ones to add to your collection.

I first used the bean stitch a few years ago after purchasing Embroidery Machine Essentials Quilting Techniques by Linda Turner Griepentrog.




ZAINAB 11/16/2008 4:39:51 PM

Where can I find the bean stitch? Do I need to buy it or what??? I know I'm showing my lack of knowledge......but I would like to use the bean stitch in some projects, just don't know how to get it?

Virginia (Jenny)

Well, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, but you just cannot go out to get a bean stitch. . . .  

I had a bit of a time finding the stitch myself.  The two suppliers in the blog might be able to help you find other designs.  Or, you might check with your favorite site.  Right now I could only find two here at ATG and they were simple lines which you could use to frame your favorite design.   I think it is a stitch that bears being brougt front and center.  

If you are digitizing, I don't know if it is available in your software.  Again, you would have to check with the vendor about it.  

The particular design that I saw was a detailed outine of a rose.   By detailed, I mean it had lots of petals in the outline and I loved it!!  It was in a Babylock preloaded design group.  Gee, should I buy a new machine because I love that design???  

LOL, I am sure that won't happen. . .


OK...I've searched and found the patterns, but apparently the site is swamped or broken as it won't let me 'add to cart'! I can't even find out how much $$$ the pattern is! HELP!!! 11/17/2008 1:43:41 PM

Which stitch is it on the Brother machine?

belbe - Which pattern did you have a problem with?  I am having difficulty with the site for the two flowers.  The site names are below the photos for your assistance.

ind - It was on a BabyLock Machine, but I am not sure which one.  I will ask the next meeting on 11/22 about it.  

I have a BabyLock and did find the bean on the sewing side of the machine (it is a duo, sew and embroidery).   I tested it and it was correct.   So I thought that may be they would have a preloaded one.  I have been testing some that appeared to be contenders but no luck yet.  


It's working tonight...I think the webpage was just jammed from too many hits yesterday. I'm looking forward to making these! Thanks!

Congrats on your Embroidery Analysis Kit, Pat! To let everyone else know, Pat's spreadsheet has become a huge sensation. People from all over the world are buying it in bucketfuls! Well done, Pat - you obviously hit a nerve!

Thanks BB, I love sharing information with all the nice people here at ATG.

I will be in Phoenix for the Thanksgiving Holiday but I do have my blog post ready to go and if I say so myself, it is a good one!  Check it out while relaxing and buying your gifts on the Internet on November 28.  ATG is a good place to let your loved ones know what you want under your tree!


ind.mommy, on the sewing part of your Brother machine it would be the triple stitch. I'm not sure in what version of PE-Design the bean stitch was introduced, but it's there now.

Go to"> and you will find the page with all of the designs I've contributed to the site. Designs 3 and 6 in the third row from the bottom and the first design in the second row from the bottom have bean in them, I'm pretty sure. It's been a long time since I digitized them, but it's what I probably would have used with designs of this kind."> is  a redwork design of mine using bean stitch and in my Mother's Memories collection at"> the 5 x 7 siz is in bean stitch. Bean stitch was too heavy for the 4 x 4 size in that collection.


               LYNN PIPKIN.....CORAL SPRINGS, FL

Did you all notice that the Pre-Design Studio has the bean stitch on it.  

You may want to check it out.  It is a blog by Loes.  

Pat, The Avid Emboiderer

jackiepurdy 1/20/2009 9:31:00 AM

sorry for the stupid question, but I have a the pe design ver 6 software & the 4000 & I cant find the stitch in my digitizing software, is there another program I can buy ?

I was looking for this spreadsheet mentioned as well as the site name to buy stuff but I can't find it.


If anyone has trouble finding the Embroidery Costs Sheet, you can find it here:  

It allows you to price your work for a profit.  You may do work for friends and family, they would have one price.  Then you may do work for sale on the Internet, that profit will be different as well.  

The spreadsheet is very flexible and you will be able to be sure you are not giving away your time and efforts.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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