Have you seen those embroidered ethnic bags with all-over embroidery? I had wanted to make one for a long time and was looking out for ways to do embroidery on the fabric. I meant to make this kind of bag- which is when I discovered these background stitches.
I decided to do one of these stitches on the fabric as an all-over design, and it just transformed the fabric. No need to go and find any particular design to embroider; work these background hand embroidery stitches, and your previously plain fabric will still turn spectacular with embroidery.
Embroidery is the epitome of fabric texture. The fabric fully covered with these stitches can look very textured and very embroidered. But they are simple and easy to do as well.
Imagine creating your own patterned fabric for your next project -I intend to use this not just for the bag, but for many things like the yoke of a dress, for making patch pockets on plain dresses, to decorating trims etc.
In this article I will cover:
Background embroidery stitches
This is one simple stitch. Make upright cross stitches all over the space. Make one smaller cross stitch or more in the middle in the same color for a unifying effect or in a contrasting color for a vivid look.
A brick stitch is done by making one or more straight stitches in a row and stitching the next row so that it is laid in a bricklaying fashion
This stitch uses the upright cross stitch or simple straight stitches taken horizontally and vertically across the space and then tied down at the intersection with small cross stitches (like a couching stitch).
Double cross stitches
Simple cross stitches make very good background embroidery. When you add one more element (an upright stitch across twice), and make it a double cross stitch it is even more stunning, filling the whole fabric.
This is usually used on gingham fabric. Check out the post on chicken scratch embroidery for these beautiful background stitches.
This stitch consists of vertical straight stitches made inside the space and then they have tied down three straight stitches together with overcasting stitches.
Simple running stitches made all over the fabric are a beautiful way to add texture to the fabric’s surface. In fact, it is a technique that has been practiced in many countries for a long, long time – in India, this is known as Kantha work and in Japan, Sashiko embroidery.
Cross stitch – variation
Two Overcasting stitches are made at the intersection of the cross stitch.
Woven filling stitch
I found this stitch from the beautiful blog needleandthread.com – she does a beautiful job of it. Mine needs a lot more practice. I guess, the difference between the expert and all that.
This stitch involves making straight stitches and then weaving among this thread with another thread. The needle does not penetrate the fabric when you weave with the second thread other than when you first anchor the needle.
You should preferably use tapestry needle with a blunt tip for weaving through the straight stitch threads.
This is a needlepoint embroidery stitch commonly used to fill large areas in a wave-like stitch. When it is done all over the fabric, one stitch nested inside the other, the effect is nothing short of stunning.
You can vary the effect of this stitch by changing the number of stitches, the number of threads, or the color of the thread used.
Surface satin stitches
This embroidery stitch gives the effect of satin stitches on the face of the fabric, but the technique of working with this embroider is different than the usual satin stitches.
This technique is used to make all-over satin embroidery stitches on the fabric without the bulkiness on the backside. Instead of straight stitches, you will make only running stitches along the periphery of the designs. This embroidery work is called phulkari in India and is used to work all over yards of fabrics with colorful patterns.
Check out the post on phulkari embroidery work for more details
Related posts: Needle point embroidery stitches – Needlepoint embroidery is full of such background embroidery stitches; Check out the post on fabric texture for some easy ideas to create texture with simple sewing machine stitches.