Outline Stitch Tutorial

This post is part of my Tutorial Tuesday series.

The outline stitch, as implied by its name, is most often used for outlines. It’s a great stitch to use on curves. This stitch is very similar to the stem stitch, but the key difference is in the placement of the thread.

Start with a straight stitch in your fabric, and pull the thread through until you are left with a small loop.

Take your needle and push it through the fabric halfway between the entry and exit points of the first stitch. Pull the thread all the way through until the first stitch lies flat.

Begin another straight stitch, making it the same length as your first stitch. Again, leave a loop of thread.

This time, bring your needle back up through the entry hole made by your last stitch. Pull the thread all the way through so your stitches lie flat.

Continue stitching, always making sure to bring your needle up through the hole left by the last stitch before pulling everything flat. Try to keep your stitches the same length.

You can see as you progress that these stitches wrap around each other and create a nice seamless line. When you are finished, secure the end of your thread and snip off the extra, leaving a short tail. See two ways to tie off your thread here and here.

Congratulations, you’ve learned the outline stitch!

Here are some recent projects I’ve made primarily using the outline stitch:

Find more embroidery tutorials.


3 thoughts on “Outline Stitch Tutorial

    1. Good question! I personally stitch up to the corner, stop when I reach it, and begin a new line of outline stitches at a 90 degree angle (or at whichever angle the corner is) from the first line. That’s what I did on the sharp angles in the Mark Twain and LOLcat embroideries above. I hope that helps!


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