The Avid Embroiderer Presents – What do you call that stitch? And, a Thanksgiving Freebie

The Avid Embroiderer Presents – What do you call that stitch? And, a Thanksgiving Freebie

We all know most of the ‘generalized’ stitches. Those are the work-horses of the embroidery designs. However, we could use just a little information about the stitch and especially what not to do/expect/attempt with that stitch. The more you understand digitizing/thread/designs/anatomy/perspective and so many other things, the more you will be able to see in your projects.

I have been learning about digitizing and I can honestly say that this work is not for the faint of heart. It could be right up there with learning brain surgery in complexity and intricacy.

Here are some basics:

The “Satin Stitch” is a simple zigzag stitch generally done in lettering and outlining. They can be as small as 1.5 mm (about 1/32”) to as long as 8mm (1/3”). The wider stitch can be a problem in that catching on items like jewelry or embellishments could destroy the design.


The information below gives a representation of the number of stitches that will occur at various sizes. Stitch width and stitch density are very important in giving quality lettering. Corners should be sharp and crisp and not bulging. “Short” corner stitches can be digitized to minimize bulging corners.


·         6 – 8 mm in width = 175 stitches per running inch. 200 stitches with underlay.

·         4 – 6 mm in width = 150 stitches per running inch. 180 stitches with underlay.

·         3 – 4 mm in width = 138 stitches per running inch. 165 stitches with underlay.

·         2 – 3 mm in width = 125 stitches per running inch. 150 stitches with underlay.

·         1 mm in width = 100 stitches per running inch. 115 stitches with underlay.


The “Running” (or) “Walking” stitch consist of a single line of stitching primarily used for outlining and detail work. They are also used as the foundation of most “underlays” and “Fill” stitches. Fill areas that are under 1mm in width are usually done with a running stitch. This is especially needed because a very small area, like an eye or button could sink into the fabric and disappear without underlay.

·         4 ply running line = 48 per inch. Would be alternative to a thin satin stitch. 

·         Single running line = 12 per inches

·         Double running line = 25 per inches (Normal Outlining Stitching)

·         Triple running line (Bean Stitch) = 37 per inch


“Bean” stitches - consists of forming three stitches between two points and are a great deal more pronounced than Running Stitches. Primarily they are used for outlining work. However, the Bean stitch is gaining more interest for use in designs. In fact, there is a Facebook Group just for fans of the Bean stitch.
- say hello to Angie, the Administrator, and tell her I sent you. –


Since the Bean stitch is not normally listed with a design’s name (none of the stitches are listed except for ‘redwork’ or ‘whitework’, etc.,) it is difficult to find those designs specifically. This does appear to be a special stitch, and it is possibly a Bean stitch. See it here:

Fill” or “Tatami” (Japanese word for mats, floor covering, bed coverings, large space blanketing) stitches - are used to cover large areas. There are many different “Fill” stitch patterns and they can differ in direction, angle, and pattern. “Fill” stitches are used to cover large areas. Newer digitizing programs have many more options and directional settings.




 Many fills have generic names, however, there are some with names, bricks, radial or cross stitches. But if you are looking for a design that you particularly like, you have to do some major hunting

Information Courtesy: (commercial thread manufacturer) 

Your Thanksgiving Freebie. (194.7KB)  
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