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Long and Short Stitch

| This stitch is best for: Filling out a design

The Long and Short stitch is a versatile and beautiful stitch that can be used for shading and creating realistic textures in embroidery. It is commonly used for creating floral designs, but can also be used for other types of designs that require a smooth and natural gradient effect.

How to do the Long and Short Stitch

  1. Start the stitch: Bring the needle up from the back of the fabric where you want the stitch to start.
  2. Stitch a long stitch: Make a straight stitch and insert the needle a length away from the original position. The length of the stitch depends on how long you want the color to appear.
  3. Stitch a short stitch: Bring the needle back up from the back of the fabric just beside the start of the previous stitch and make another straight stitch in the same direction as where the previous stitch ended. The length of this stitch should be about half of the length of the previous stitch.
  4. Repeat: Continue alternating long and short stitches in this way, gradually filling in the area you want to shade.
  5. End the stitch: When you reach the end of the area you want to shade, make a small stitch to anchor the thread, and then knot the thread at the back of your work.


  • Use a pencil to sketch out the shape and direction of your stitches before beginning to stitch.
  • Divide your area into rows and work row by row, starting at the bottom and working your way up to avoid tangling your threads.
  • Use a single color for a subtle shading effect, or mix different colors for a more dramatic gradient effect.
  • Experiment with different lengths and angles of stitches to create different textures and effects.
  • Keep your stitches neat and even to achieve a professional-looking finish.
  • With these simple steps and tips, you can easily learn and master the Long and Short Stitch, and create beautiful embroidery designs.