Stitching or sewing has a history dating back to the prehistoric times. It is believed, with archaeological pieces of evidence, that sewing must have come into being since the stone ages when people had begun to sew to attach pieces of animal skin using needles made of bones, antlers and ivory. They probably must have used threads made of animal parts like veins.

As the times progressed and sewing started to become an integral part of life, not only newer methods of sewing styles developed, but many other materials were tried as needles and threads. For many thousands of years, sewing or stitching was done exclusively by hands. Later, machines which helped to assist sewing and weaving were developed. The invention of sewing machines in the 19th century and computerization in the 20th century led to a revolution in the textile industry with mass production of sewn objects.

Although sewing or stitching is commonly associated with clothing and fabrics, it must not be forgotten that this skill is used in many other craft areas like making shoes, bags, sporting goods and all those things associated with attaching pieces of fabric. Sewing also comprises a wider range of art in the textile industry like embroidery, tapestry, quilting, applique, weaving etc…

Our tutorials deal with one of such arts: hand embroidery, which is very much practiced even today in spite of all the invasion of machine-made,
‘perfect’ sewn objects. It should be admitted, though, that it is a dying art with hobbyists finding lesser time and patience. On the flip side, hand embroidery is an important means of livelihood to many people in different countries.

There are more than 400 types of different stitches from around the globe and even more types of hand embroideries. When certain stitches are combined in certain ways to create a certain style of stitching, it is known as hand embroidery. The stitches and associated hand embroideries can speak volumes of the history of its people, culture and times.

This section of the tutorial will teach you the various hand embroidery stitches. These stitches are categorized based on certain families they belong to. These families are distinguished based on the nature of the technique used to create a particular stitch. It is possible that some stitches belong to more than one family, but an effort has been made to minimize the confusion.

Hand sewing is an art to be perfected with patience and perseverance. It helps us in creative expression and ultimately gives us a satisfaction that most other hobbies can give. Happy learning…happy stitching. 🙂

You can go directly to the pages of each family from here:

Stitch Families


Straight Stitch Family


Running Stitch Family


Back Stitch Family


Stem Stitch Family


Chain Stitch Family


Chevron Stitch Family


Knots Family


Palestrina Family


Satin Stitch Family


Fishbone Stitch Family


Fly Stitch Family


Feather Stitch Family


Blanket Stitch Family


Cretan Stitch Family


Cross Stitch Family


Herringbone Family


Couching Family


Weaving Stitch Family
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89 Responses

  1. Tania Spain Google Chrome  SAMSUNG SM-T810 Build/NRD90M) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) SamsungBrowser/7.4 Chrome/59.0.3071.125 Safari/537.36 says:

    Your tutorial is the best!
    I love it, thank you

  2. Casey United States Google Chrome Mac OS says:

    Thank you for creating the most helpful site for embroidery. I reference your page ALWAYS when crafting!

    • sarah United States Google Chrome Windows says:

      Hey Casey! I am almost a year late. Ask about how busy you can get. Thank you very much for your comment. It is always a pleasure to know that you are enjoying learning from our pages.

  3. meggan Mozilla Firefox Windows says:

    i just wanted to take a moment to thank you for this incredible database of stitch tutorials — wowza! i’m just starting to learn hand embroidery, literally 75 minutes ago i started my first sampler, and i already can see how much this site will help. amazing. thanks so much!

  4. Lola jones Australia Safari iPad says:

    Cool site

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