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Chain stitch is a sewing and embroidery technique in which a series of looped stitches form a chain-like pattern. 

Chain stitch is an ancient craft. Handmade chain stitch embroidery does not require that the needle pass through more than one layer of fabric. For this reason the stitch is an effective surface embellishment near seams on finished fabric. Because chain stitches can form flowing, curved lines, they are used in many surface embroidery styles that mimic “drawing” in thread.

The earliest archaeological evidence of chain stitch embroidery dates from 1100 BC in China. Excavated from royal tombs, the embroidery was made using threads of silk. Chain stitch embroidery has also been found dating to the Warring States period. Chain stitch designs spread to Iran through the Silk Road.

It is one of the most appealing stitches in embroidery. It is the method to arrange many loop stitches in a chain like manner to form the final. It can be linear, as well as curved.


  • An embroidery hoop
  • Sewing needles of different sizes (as per need)
  • Pencil 
  • Small scissors 
  • Small pieces of cotton fabric
  • Normal cotton thread
  • Ruler 

Here is the step by step guide for you to get you started with chain stitch right away.

  1. If you are a beginner, it is advised to first mark a straight line with pencil on the fabric you will practice. Tie the fabric to the embroidery hoop properly.
  1. First, put the needle through the fabric from below, and pull up the entire needle.
  1. Now put the tip of the needle through the same point, and bring it up through the fabric from a stitch away from the previous hole.
  1. Now make a loop of the thread at the back of the needle, around the tip of the needle and pull the entire needle through. 
  1. Now again put the needle through the previous hole and repeat the sequence to get a continuous chain like pattern with tiny loops.

Chain stitch is one of the oldest embroidery stitching methods. It has seen applications in a lot of different styles of embroidery in various parts of the World.  It can be used to make outlines of any shape, and can even be used as fills.


  • Be careful with the twist and direction of the thread. It can be a big mess if you are not careful enough with it.
  • You can work this stitch with two colors.
  • Add another color over an already finished chain stitch by working a back stitch or running stitch along its borders.
  • You can also fill any design or pattern with this stitch by working along the border of the design to it’s inner part.

The important point to be noted is that the Chain stitch can be done with thinner threads too, but for that you will need to make a strand of multiple floss and then stitch.

In the end, it is only creativity and different thoughts that limits. 

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