LONG & SHORT embroidery STITCH {Tutorial}

Tutorial to do Long and short stitch with instructions. This is best used for filling in large areas of embroidery designs like flower petals and leaves


The long and short stitch is my favorite filling stitch, especially when I have to fill big design areas.

When the design is big, a satin stitch that stretches from one side to the other may not be adequate. You need more stitches in between too. Here the long and short stitch comes in handy.

The stitch is also called brick stitch as it is placed in an alternate pattern as in laying the bricks. It also is known by the name tipping stitch.

This stitch is used for thread painting or silk shading, which uses the needle and thread to create beautiful designs with variegated thread (dual-toned thread) for each row of stitches.

The color variations given by the blending of colors of the thread provide the designs with the look of a painting. This shading effect is absolutely stunning.

Some tips for successfully using long and short stitch as a filling stitch are as follows

  • Divide your design into small manageable sections suitable for a single small straight stitch. The mark will indicate the length of the half stitch. The alternate stitches should be double the length of the short one
  • Using a single thread on your needle to do this work will create a neat and even effect.
  • Use variegated thread for a beautiful painting like look
  • Use embroidery hoop to stretch your fabric before doing this embroidery for the best result. 
  • Ensure that all the stitches are closely packed to avoid empty spaces in the design. 
  • Work from the widest part of the design to the smallest.When working to fill a large leaf you can start making the outline row of titches first and then go on to fill in the inside. 
  • The slant of the stitches should be following the shape of the design
  • Avoid getting holes in your work where you end one stitch and start another one by starting just behind the stitch. 

How to do a Long and short stitch

Long and short stitch is somewhat of a misnomer for this stitch. This stitch only uses a long and a short (half of the long stitch) alternatively to fill up the first row of the design and the last row of the design. The in-between stitches are all of the same lengths. These stitches will give the illusion of a  closely packed long and short filling because of the first row of long and short stitches.

long and short stitch

The sequence of stitches you should make to fill space with long and short stitches

Step 1

Bring up the needle from the bottom left of the design . Stitch the first row with long and short stitches.Stitch the first row of the design with long and short stitches

Please note that this is the only row where you will be making the long and short stitches. From now on, all the stitches will be long till the last row. 

Step 2

fill the rest of the design with long and short stitch

Start stitching the next row with stitches of the same length . These stitches will fit into the gaps in the previously made stitches. Go on stitching in the direction of the design.Make as many rows as needed to fill the design. 

Step 3complete the design with long and short stitches - instructions

When ending the design you can end with only short stitches or long and short stitches depending on the design and area. 

Filling a leaf with long and short stitches

The leaf can be filled by starting from the wider area ( ie the bottom of the leaf) and moving up. Another alternative way is to give an outline with the long and short stitch first and then proceed to fill the inside, creating a vein in the middle (Check out the picture below). You can embroider a single row of long and short stitches along the outline of the design and leave it at that also.

long and short stitches tutorial

Related post

filling stitches

Subscribe to get weekly notifications of posts in your email

Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.
Your opinion is important. Leave a comment