Running Stitch / Straight stitch is usually the very first stitch that is taught to a person who is new to embroidery.
Beginners and even little children can be taught this stitch.
Uses of running stitch
Though the running stitch is very simple and easy, it has multiple uses and finds itself in a majority of embroidery projects.
1. Outlines: Outline stitches like running stitches, stem stitches and back stitches are usually worked in straight lines or curves depending upon the design and are usually used to stitch fine lines and details. So they can be used to ‘draw’ just like we use a pencil to draw.
2. Borders:They are also used as borders.
3. Embroidery lettering: Decorative letters with hand embroidery
4. Darning: To mend cloths that have ripped.
5. Quilting – To sew and hold layers of fabric together when they are being worked on.
6. Cutwork embroidery – as border for the cut area to provide additional strength
7. Base for complicated stitches – Running stitches are also often used as a base for other complicated stitches. A base is made with running stitches and thread (usually of another color) is interlaced or woven on them. Holbein stitch also known as Kasuti stitch is made with running stitches running in opposite directions.
8. Gathering fabric – Running stitches are used when dresses that require gathering / pleating are sewn. A row of running stitch is made and then the thread is pulled while the fabric is gently gathered / pleated.
9. New sewists or seamstresses – Running stitches are very helpful to those who are learning to use a sewing machine. A row of running stitches can first be stitched to hold fabric together while they are being sewn. Then the stitch can be easily removed by pulling it out.
10. Filling stitch – Running stitch can also be used as a filling stitch. Parallel rows of running stitches can be stitched to fill an area in the pattern
Hand embroidery can be stitched with pretty much anything that is flexible. Embroidery stitches can be made using cotton threads, silk threads and even thin metal wires etc. If something can be passed through a needle’s eye and it is flexible, you can use it to stitch embroidery.
The most common hand embroidery thread is the cotton embroidery floss . The embroidery floss has 6 strands. For intricate and fine embroidery, use fewer strands. Number of strands chosen also depend on the fabric chosen. For example, in Aida fabric, we use more strands when the aida fabric’s number is smaller. (Aida fabric number and what it means).
The length of the stitch on the top of the fabric need not be the same as the length of the stitch on the back of the fabric. Some designs might require that the stitches above the fabric be longer than the stitches below. However, try to keep all the stitches above the fabric the same length and equidistant from each other unless specifically mentioned otherwise in the embroidery pattern. This uniformity will matter a lot if you want your finished design to look neat.
This simple stitch can also be used to create patterns like these.
The black and white pattern is called damask darning and orange pattern is a type of Kasuti stitch.