How to do stem stitch

Here's a stem stitch embroidery tutorial complete with illustrated embroidery stitch instructions and an embroidery stitch video.  

Stem stitch is used to outline shapes when a thicker, more rope-like effect is needed, for example on flower stems or branches. It's similar to back stitch but instead of the stitches being end-to-end they overlap, which gives a thicker line.

Stem stitch is used to outline two of the circles in my sampler stitch design. You can see the rope-like effect most clearly on the top of the circle in the photo below:

Download my free stitch guide covering 10 simple embroidery stitches, including stem stitch.

Stem stitch embroidery tutorial

Bring the needle up at 1 and down at 2 but don't pull the thread tight.  This allows you to easily see where to bring the needle up at 3, about half-way along the first stitch.  Pull the thread through and then put the needle down at 4, again leaving the thread loose.  Bring the needle up at the end of your last stitch (2).  Put the needle down at 5 and repeat.  

Stem stitch video