Outline stitch which is also known as Thread up stem stitch is very similar to stem stitch. This is used (obviously) to give outline to embroidery designs; In fact a perfect outlining stitch.( Checkout instructions for other outline stitches like stem stitch, chain stitch, Blanket stitch)
This is a must know stitch if you are doing any kind of embroidery. One of the first stitches you learn as a beginner. This is the best one to use when sewing the outline of tight curves. It also works great for complicated linear designs
The most important thing to note when sewing this stitch is to ALWAYS bring up the needle on the left side of the previous stitch, but always on the stitching line. Keep the thread up, above the needle while making this stitch ALWAYS. The stitches are kept even and small.
This instruction assumes that you are starting the stitch from the left side.Each stitch can be 1/4 inch or smaller stitches. But all of them should be of the same size
How to do the Outline Stitch
Thread your needle with the embroidery floss. I am using two strands.Knot the thread at the end.
Bring up the needle from the back of the cloth with the knot anchored at the back at the start of the stitching line.
Take needle down a stitch ( 1-2). Then bring up the needle almost half way back (2-3 ) ( with thread kept up).
The above picture shows the sequence of stitches. Please note that the stitches are all made strictly on the stitching line.
Repeat for the whole design.
You can make single line or double rows of this stitch depending on your design and effect required.When neatly worked it looks splendid outlining a design.
Extra info : Outline stitch is the first stitch used on top in smocking . Each plait is taken up in one stitch as you work with the gathered fabric with outline stitches. It is also used in Redwork.