How to make Straight Stitches?

How to make Straight Stitches?

Straight stitches have been used for centur­ies. They can be seen in early samplers and many pieces of 17th century needlework. You have already learned decorative ways of using several straight stitches, but many other effects are also possible, as can be seen in the next project. Try experimenting with the variations shown below and with your own combinations of straight stitches and colours.

Using straight stitches in a fairly uniform way produces a textile that is close and hard-wearing.


Straight stitches that are fairly long are less durable, however, as the long stitches can loosen with wear. Another advantage is that they tend not to pull and distort the canvas as much as diagonal stitches do. With their clean areas of colour, straight stitches are often used for certain areas in pictorial work, particularly as random long stitch. Subtle gradations of colour, as in Florentine work, are also possible. Straight stitches can be worked horizontally or vertically, in small groups or in rows, in patterns or at random.

Straight Stitch Variations

Instead of working straight stitches side by side, which is obviously the more usual way, you could try staggering the groups of stitches, as in the simple step variation shown in the diagram on the left above. In the middle diagram above, alternate blocks have simply been worked horizontally instead of vertically The diagram above illustrates how stitches of differ­ent lengths can be used to make interesting patterns.

Long Stitch

Long stitch is particularly useful for patterned areas. Each stitch is worked over one, then two, three, four, five, four, three and finally two threads. The stitches in the second row are worked over five, then four, three, two, one, two, three and four threads, and share holes with those in the previous row. All rows are worked from left to right. Work ‘over and over’ as shown so stitches lie flat.

Parisian Stitch

In this popular background or filling stitch, short and long stitches alternate. The short stitches of one row share holes with the long stitches of adjacent rows and vice-versa, so that the rows interlock. Parisian stitch may be worked over six and two threads, as here, or four and two. or three and one. The rows are worked alternately from left to right, and from right to left.

Brick Stitch

A useful filling stitch which is good for shading, brick stitch is worked over two, four or sometimes six threads. All the stitches are of the same length, but alternate stitches begin halfway up from the first stitch. Rows are worked right to left, then left to right.

brick stitch


Random Long Stitch

Random long stitch, which is ideal for filling large areas of canvas quickly, is worked in varying lengths along each row. It is worked row by row, alternately from left to right then from right to left, with the rows interlocking.

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