Cast On Stitch Step by Step Tutorial

Cast on Stitch sample 8Cast on stitch forms little loops that sit proud against the background fabric and one of those stitches that once you master it and establish the rhythm it is fun and relaxing to work. It also impresses people easily, as it looks outrageously difficult to do. To be honest it’s not that hard. Cast on stitch is a bit tricky, I admit but not so difficult that an intermediate stitcher can’t master.

Most people are introduced to this stitch via Brazilian embroidery but you can use it in other highly textured forms of contemporary embroidery too.

Cast on Stitch is a little time consuming but worth the effort. It really produces a 3D element to a piece embroidery and people invariably want to reach out and touch it.

A tip for working Cast On stitch!

For the best results with this stitch use a milliner’s needle on a foundation fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop or frame.

Most of the problems associated with working cast-on stitch is that people use the wrong needle and dont use a hoop. I suggest you try milliners or in some places people call them straw needles. Why these particular needles? Most embroidery needles have an eye that is wider than the shaft of the needle which means any stitch that wraps the thread around the needle often runs the risk of getting too tight as you pull the thread through.

Milliners or straw needles have an eye and shaft that are the same width which makes sliding the stitch along the needle easy. Try it as it does make a difference!

Where do you get Milliners needles? Specialist needlework shops will or should stock them. If you are not near a needlework store you can buy Milliners Needles online (this is an affiliate link which means if you shop here I get a small commission at no extra cost to you, but that is not why I recommend them!)

Cast on Stitch sample 1

How to work Cast on Stitch

Bring your thread to the front of the fabric and take a tiny bite of the fabric by making a small back stitch, as illustrated and have the needle emerge from the fabric close to where the thread emerged initially.

Cast on Stitch step by step 1Leave the needle in the fabric. In other words do not complete the back stitch. You need both hands for this next step hence the need to have your work mounted in an embroidery hoop.

Cast on Stitch step by step 2Place the thread over your left index finger, rotate your finger keeping the thread still over your finger but under tension.

Cast on Stitch step by step3This movement of twisting your finger creates a loop around your finger.

Cast on Stitch step by step 4Transfer the loop from your finger to the needle by sliding the needle through the loop and moving the loop to the needle.

Cast on Stitch step by step 5Slide the loop down the needle. This is the first cast on stitch.

Cast on Stitch step by step 6This looping action and transferring the loop, is similar to casting on a row of stitches on a knitting needle hence the name.

Cast on Stitch step by step 7Work a number of cast on stitches, gently sliding them down the needle as you go. They look like a line of buttonhole stitches sitting snug but not too tight on your needle.

Cast on Stitch step by step 8Keep them evenly spaced for best results.

Cast on Stitch step by step 9When you have the required number of stitches cast on to the needle hold the cast on stitches with the fingers on your left hand and pull the thread with your right hand, through the cast on stitches. Hold the stitches firmly but not so tight you can not pull the needle through.

Cast on Stitch step by step 10Take the needle to the back of the fabric and pull your working thread firmly but not tight to create the loop.

Cast on Stitch step by step 11The curve of the loop depends upon the number of cast on stitches you use and size of your first back stitch. In other words the distance between the point where the thread emerged from the back of the fabric and the point where the thread entered the fabric. The higher the number of cast on stitches the bigger the loop.

Cast on Stitch sample 7If you add a bead to the middle they make lovely little flower motifs. These Cast on stitches are worked in Cotton perle #5 .

Cast on Stitch sample 2These Cast on stitches are worked in hand dyed silk on stems of feather stitch

Cast on Stitch sample 4In this case they the cast on stitches are worked in hand dyed wool on stems of knotted feather stitch worked in cotton perle #5.

Cast on Stitch sample 3

These are also worked in a red hand dyed wool. The little organic shapes are worked on line of Alternating Up and Down Buttonhole stitches worked in a green cotton perle #5 thread.

Cast on Stitch sample 5

The last sample is a line pansies that are made from 5 Cast on Stitches.

Cast on Stitch sample 6

Anyway enjoy the stitch, experiment with it and I am sure you will discover more that can be done with it!

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45 Responses to Cast On Stitch Step by Step Tutorial

  1. Hi Sharon,
    I attempted a few variations of this stitch . the details are here-
    Thank you,

  2. Lucy Landry says:

    This is indeed and interesting stitch. I too combined the stitches with a piece of needle felting.

  3. Mariainez L. Ribeiro dos Santos says:

    Here is my work for this week.
    Thank you

  4. Isabelle says:

    thanks to propose this stitch. it seems to be difficult but in fact, it is rather pleasant to embroider

  5. Gayle Schipper says:

    I have my sample finished and the picture is at


  6. Jennifer says:

    This was lovely to work – new to me – thank you Sharon!
    and thank you everyone 🙂

  7. Luiz Vaz says:

    Hi Sharon & Friends,
    My post for the week. Thank you all.

  8. Annet says:

    I found the tutorial for your pansy and gave it a try. Well, I need to try again! Then I made 2 more small samples, I wrote about it on my blog:

  9. Carol Harper says:

    Here is my cast on stitch — since I know how to cast on with knitting, this wasn’t so awfully hard but I think I’m making a mistake in finishing the stitch because there is this long thread showing that doesn’t belong. Anyway, here is my stitch experiment:

    I don’t know how much longer I can do this as the owners of the blog service are shutting us down December 1 and we have not yet received a way to transfer our blogs to anyplace…

  10. I love this stitch! My sampler combines needlefelting with cast on stitch.

  11. jacqui boyd says:

    Here is a link to my efforts for Cast on Stitch. Interesting stitch and I plan to explore it more later on.

  12. Claudia says:

    Hi Sharon and all, since the pebble adventure on stitchin fingers I know and like the cast on stitch. Here is my sample:

  13. Ritva Peltola says:

    I cannot add my pics into the Group Pool.

    • sharonb says:

      Are you talking about the flickr group? If so have you joined that group? You need to join it to send photos to it.

  14. Debbie says:

    Here’s my TAST sample for this week and last week’s together, including a photo of a piece I did with the cast-on stitch ten years ago.

  15. kathy says:

    Hello Sharon, I had emergency surgery three months ago and have not been able to participate in the challenge as I had agreed. I have not been on the computer before to be able to apologize. I like to quit once I make a commitment.
    Saying this I am going to try to sew along now, but do not know if I will be able to finish the year. Thank you for all you hard work. I have enjoyed all you have done to further the love of embroidery. Sincerely Kathy

  16. I’ve done a cast on stitch for knitting but not in embroidery before.

  17. Sharon, What have you done to me! Despite decorating the hall and sorting out the garden I have become obsessed with this stitch!! More time consuming than I thought but, SO worth it 🙂

  18. crazypatch says:

    Voici le lien vers mon petit travail de la semaine: cast on stitch..un très joli point en relief

  19. crazypatch says:

    Voci le lien vers mon petit travail de la semaine: cast on stitch..un très joli point en relief

  20. Laurel says:

    Sharon – Here is my cast-on stitch project. I haven’t done this stitch before, so thank you for introducing it to me.

  21. Hi Sharon, A lovely stitch to play with……..You can see my sample here………………..
    Chris Richards

  22. christine says:

    You can see my cast on stitch rose on my blog!

  23. KathrynK in Blacklilck says:

    I did the regular form, the up & down and the double. The hardest part was that the milliner’s needle has a point, so I kept sticking myself as I tried to cast on the stitches. I don’t like this stitch !

  24. Maureen Bond says:

    I caught up . Feels good.
    I have some old work and current at WordPress.

  25. iHanna says:

    I’ve not yet stitched this week up, but finally at least, posted a update on my sampler for TAST 2012! Take a look:

    Very much inspired by you Sharon, and your posts about “samplers” – and with each week’s stitch it grows!

  26. Angela says:

    I love this stitch! Thank you so much for bringing it to my attention!

  27. Annet says:

    I like the pansies! They are still on my to-do-list (you showed how to make them in one of your classes), so maybe this week I try them. Here’s my weekly post with old cast on stitches:

  28. Diane says:

    Fun to stitch while watching the twisting summersaults off the pommel horse last night.

  29. Hi Sharron,
    Just happened to be working on that same stitch.
    I have put a photo up on Flickr
    And on my blog
    Have a good week

  30. An old fragment where I’ve used cast-on stitch before…posted here for what it’s worth, because I have been very bad about keeping up and making new samples for TAST. 🙁

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