Simple Stitches that Surprise: Chain Stitch

Now here’s a simple embroidery stitch you can’t live without. The Chain Stitch builds bulky lines on your fabric. Lines that lift off the fabric and say “Look at me!” Using a size 5 embroidery needle, I’ve added curved lines of the Chain Stitch using a size 12 pearl cotton thread called Oranges. (Notice how the True Blues French Knots in between the rows really set off the orange thread.)

In another field on my silk design, I’m making small arcs of Chain Stitches. When you stack offset rows of the arcs, it makes an ogee pattern. This size 12 thread is a lovely green named for your favorite beverage, Pickle Juice. The blue straight stitches in each ogee are also stitched with a size 12 thread. It’s called Ocean. Each time I pick up a size 12 thread to make a Chain Stitch, I use a size 5 or size 7 hand embroidery needle.

A Note about Needles

hand embroidery needle has a long eye and sharp point. Choose a needle that is too small and you can’t thread the needle. Or even if you can squeeze the thread through the eye of that small needle, it will not make a hole large enough to pull the thread through easily. Choose a needle that is too large and you make a giant hole in the fabric that the thread doesn’t fill.

Above is a basic chart to help you choose your needle size for pearl cotton threads. Please note that needle brands vary. A size 3 embroidery needle in one brand may be slightly longer or have a larger girth than a size 3 in another brand. It seems that even the needle industry can’t cooperate.