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Embroidery Tutorial: Long & Short Stitch

Art & Illustration Embroidery Tutorials

Long-and-Short Stitch Embroidery Tutorial

I have been trying to incorporate some new-to-me stitches in my latest embroideries, and I thought it would be fun to share what I'm learning, so I'm starting with a tutorial for the long-and-short stitch.

I used this stitch in my Ouroboros embroidery, and you can find the pattern for it in my shop.

Step 1 The first step is to choose your colors. If you want to have a shading effect, you should choose three colors that are similar in hue but vary in value and go from light to dark.

Step 2 Using an outline stitch, go around the edge of the shape you are going to fill in. Here I have used the split stitch. This will give a good definition to the edge of the shape once you are finished. At this point, you will also draw directional lines to show the direction that your long-and-short stitches will take.

Step 3 Following your directional lines, start with your lightest color. You are making a stitch very similar to a satin stitch, but, instead of going from one edge of the shape to another, you go from the bottom edge of the shape to approximately one third up the shape. Stagger your stitches as you go, as pictured.

Step 4 Continue making staggered stitches until the bottom third of your shape is filled.

Step 5 Next, start stitching with your middle color. This time, rather than starting from the edge of the shape, you start each stitch at the end of a light-colored stitch and end each stitch approximately two thirds up the shape. Each of these stitches should be staggered as well.

Although you can't see my directional lines anymore, my stitches are still following them. The disappearing ink had disappeared by this point, as far as the camera is concerned.

Step 6 Continue stitching with your middle color until the middle section of your shape is filled. If there are any bare spots after continuing all the light-colored stitches, add in a few extra stitches to fill in the area.

Step 7 Now we're up to the last color. (As you can see, I started the rest of the stitching for my pattern, too. I wanted to take a little break from long-and-short to spend some time with my bestie, stem stitch.) This time, you start each stitch at the end of the middle-colored stitches and go until the end of the shape.

Step 8 Here you can see that I have stitched until all of my middle-colored stitches have been continued with the dark floss, but I still have some bare patches. Keep stitching until those are all full.

Step 9 And now you're done! Sit back and admire your hard work.

Have you tried any new stitches lately? Or are there any that you have been interested in trying? Maybe we could learn them together!

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