Fern stitch embroidery

To learn how to do fern stitch embroidery, why not check out my fern stitch tutorial. It includes:
  • illustrated embroidery stitch instructions
  • a video showing how to do fern stitch embroidery
  • tips for success
  • variations on fern stitch, including fan shapes
  • Royal School of Needlework stitch bank.

Fern stitch uses

Fern stitch is often used for leaves, branches, stems and flower shapes. It’s easy to do, as it's just three stitches fanned out from a central point. These three stitches all share the same base hole. Fern stitch is easy to use on curves too.

You can see fern stitch on several of the beach huts in my beach embroidery kit:

Fern stitch on beach embroidery kit

Fern stitch tutorial

Fern stitch tutorial

  • Bring the needle up through fabric at 1 and back down at 2.
  • Bring the needle up at 3 and back down through the same hole at 2.
  • Then bring the needle up at 4 and back down through the same hole at 2.
  • Do the next set of stitches. Bring the needle up at 5, back down at 6, up through 2, down through 6, up at 7 and back down at 6.
  • Continue in the same way working downwards to form a line.

Fern stitch video

Tips for success

  • It's hard to go wrong with fern stitch. In my kits I mark the stitch lines so you can easily see how to make the V shapes and stitch them in the right place.
  • If you're working on a blank piece of fabric, mark 3 parallel lines. The outer two lines are the outer arms of the V shapes. The middle line is the centre of the stitch.  

Download my free stitch guide covering 10 simple embroidery stitches.

Fern stitch variations

Firstly, fern stitch can be varied by adding French knots or lazy daisy stitches on the ends of the stitches. These variations are often used for flowers.
Secondly, you can add extra lines and vary their length, for example to form a fan shape. You can see the fan shape above the door of the beach hut in the photo above.
Here's how to stitch a fan shape:
Fan stitch on beach huts embroidery
  • Bring the needle up through the fabric at 1 and back down at 2.
  • Then up at 3, back down at 2, up at 4, back down at 2, up at 5, back down at 2, up at 6 and back down at 2.

More on fern stitch embroidery

The Royal School of Needlework has a stitch bank which aims to preserve every known stitch. It will become a world-wide directory of embroidery stitches. You can read their stitch bank entry for fern stitch embroidery here.