Running Stitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches

Running Stitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches

A straight and wavy running stitches
A straight and wavy running stitches.️



Running Stitch aka: Basting Stitch






blackwork basic crewelwork hardanger ribbonwork surface whitework


Construction Outline

Watch this video on YouTube.

The Running Stitch involves passing the needle and thread through the fabric in a regular up-and-down motion, maintaining a consistent distance between stitches for an aesthetically pleasing result.

The length of the stitch may differ between the front and underside of the fabric, typically with more thread visible on the front. However, for optimal visual appeal, strive to keep the length of stitches as uniform as possible.

Step 1
Decide on the length of your first stitch then bring your needle up estimating the same stitch length for the gap.
Step 2
Continue along your line producing stitches of the same length.
Step 3
Ensure the under stitches are also of equal length so that stitches are equally spaced.

Running stitch, composed of evenly spaced straight surface stitches, serves various purposes including outlining, gathering, quilting, and reinforcing cutwork. Additionally, basting stitch, a temporary form of running stitch, temporarily joins fabric pieces or marks outlines. Its longer stitches ease removal, as seen in early references from the late 17th century.

This versatile stitch has adorned textiles worldwide for centuries, appearing in diverse traditions such as 5th century Egypt, 16th century European Buratto embroidery, Kantha in Bangladesh and eastern India, Sashiko in Japan, 17th century European Huckaback embroidery, and Kashmir embroidery in 19th century northern India. Traditions like Sashiko and Kantha often intertwine embroidery and quilting, utilizing multiple fabric layers where the running stitch not only binds layers but also embellishes.

N.B. some older embroidery books refer to ‘running a thread’ - this normally means to work a line of running stitch.


Here are some projects you can complete that include this stitch!

more coming soon…

Reference: RSN Stitchbank

Straight Stitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches
Backstitch // Hand Embroidery Stitches

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Hi, I'm Kate 👋

About the author

In a previous life (AKA: pre-kids), I was a web des/dev & photographer who loved to dabble in numerous arts and crafts. Now, I'm a cross-stitch & embroidery pattern designer and full-time mum to Charlie & Alex, with adult-diagnosed ADHD. Closet nerd, self-proclaimed hermit and professional procrastinator. I have a secret crush on modern architecture, brush calligraphy, sweets, pretty nails and pastel colours.

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