Stamped Embroidery Basics

Stamped embroidery projects come in a multitude of types and designs, which can be stitched on table linens, pillowcases, towels, and more. Designs are stamped as lines on the fabric and stitched over. Once stitching is completed, you wash the fabric to remove the stamped lines. The general instructions and basic stitches below will get you started on your next stamped embroidery project.
 

Getting Started

Before beginning your project, carefully read the instructions before starting. (Note: Do not wash the piece until it has been completely stitched; washing will remove the stamped design needed to embroider.) Place the fabric tautly on a frame or in a hoop before stitching. Referring to the design chart and stitch diagrams, begin stitching using the colors indicated. Designs typically use cotton embroidery floss or pearl cotton, so refer to the instructions for the type and number of strands to use.
 
To ensure a smooth finish to your work, always divide cotton embroidery floss into separate strands before stitching, even if you are using all six strands. Then recombine the required number of strands. (Designs stitched in pearl cotton typically use one undivided strand.) Cut the floss into 15" lengths and separate all six strands. Firmly grasp the top of the floss length in one hand. Then use the other hand to pull out one strand of floss. Before you pull the next strand, smooth out the remaining bunched strands and repeat the first step. To recombine the number of strands needed, begin with two strands, holding the floss tops even. Smooth the strands along the length without twisting them. Add more strands one by one.
 
Begin your embroidery with an area of color close to the center of the design. Work from the center outward, being careful to not pull your floss too tightly. Always fasten off the floss after completing an area. Do not drag a length of floss between two stitched areas on the wrong side; it will show through to the front. To anchor the floss at the start of stitching, allow 1" of the floss to hang from the back side of the fabric. Hold the floss under the first few stitches. To secure the floss at the end, make two backstitches under the preceding stitches on the back of your work. Cut the end as close as possible to the backstitch.
 

Basic Stitches

Cross-Stitch: Make a row of diagonal stitches, then work back over these stitches as shown; the important thing is that the stitches all cross in the same direction. Cross-stitches should touch, unless instructions indicate otherwise.

 
Backstitch: Working from right to left, bring the needle up from the back side of the fabric, one stitch length from your starting point. Begin the next stitch by inserting the needle at your starting point and back up two stitch lengths away. Continue, keeping all the stitches the same length.
 
Straight Stitch: This stitch is used to cover short, straight lines, as an occasional single stitch, or grouped in a ring to form a flower. To work a straight stitch, bring the needle up from the back side of the fabric. Bring the needle down through the fabric in the desired spot to make a stitch of the desired length.
 
Running Stitch: Working from right to left, bring the needle up from the back side of the fabric, one stitch length from your starting point. Begin the next stitch, leaving a space from the previous stitch. Continue, keeping all stitches the same length.
 
French Knot: Bring the needle up where a single dot or flower center is to be made. Wind the thread one or two times around the point of the needle and insert into the fabric as close as possible to the spot where the thread emerges, but not in the exact spot.
 
Stem Stitch: Bring the needle up at the left end of the line. Working from left to right, insert the needle a short distance to the right and bring it out a little way to the left at a very slight angle. Continue, keeping all the stitches the same length.
 
Chain Stitch: Working stitches from the top down, bring the needle to the right side of the fabric. Holding the thread down with your other hand, insert the needle back where the thread emerged and bring it out a short distance away. Draw out the needle over the loop.
 
Satin Stitch: Make a series of straight stitches side by side, carrying the thread under the fabric so each stitch starts at the same edge.
 

Long and Short Stitch: This stitch is worked the same as the satin stitch, except you stagger long and short stitches over the area to be covered.

 
Lazy Daisy: Working stitches from the top down, bring the needle to the right side of the fabric. Hold the thread down with your other hand, insert the needle close to or in the same spot where the thread emerged, and bring it out at the end of the petal. Draw through over the working thread and fasten with a tiny stitch over the loop.