Fly stitch is a simple stitch that can be used for many things, such as in the sample above. In this piece of contemporary embroidery, I worked fly stitch in stranded cotton floss, perle #8 cotton, perle #12 cotton over layers of chiffon and net to produce a watery effect.
This is a more traditional example of fly stitch. In the foliage of this floral motif, the stitch is stacked to create leaves. You start small and work to a larger fly stitch. In this sample, I used a dark green wool, one strand of light green cotton floss and a green metallic machine embroidery thread. I threaded a needle with all three threads and proceeded to work fly stitches close together in leaf-like shapes.
Here, fly stitch is used to represent the leaves of a rose bud. I worked the fly stitch in cotton perle #5 and the bud itself, which is made up of 2 bullion knots is worked in a hand-dyed silk that is about the same thickness as cotton perle #8.
On this sample, I have used the same technique to secure a strip of lace on a crazy quilt project. This time, however, the bullion buds are worked in wool and the fly stitch is cotton perle #5.
Not only can you use it in foliage and floral motifs, you can repeat the stitch to create geometric patterns. This is fly stitch worked using wool overlapping herringbone also worked in a wool thread.
This is a very versatile stitch. In this case, the ties of the fly stitch are not straight stitches, but detached chain stitches. Of course, this means it is no longer fly stitch, but a variation, though it is an attractive variation to explore and play with. This sample secures a braid to a piece of crazy quilting and is worked in hand-dyed rayon thread.
How to work Fly Stitch
Bring the thread up through the fabric at the top left of where you want to create the stitch. Hold the thread down with your left thumb and insert the needle to the right and level of where the thread emerged. Make a stitch on a downward angle so that the needle emerges between the two points as illustrated.
With the thread wrapped under the needle, pull it through the fabric. Secure the ‘V’ in position with a small vertical straight stitch.
This is another contemporary interpretation of the stitch. On this sample, I used knitting yarn, novelty yarn (that’s the hairy stuff), stranded cotton floss, perle #5 cotton, and wool.
In this sample, I used fly stitch for the stems to make little floral elements in this floral motif used on a patch in a crazy quilted block.
Fly stitch is also known as ‘Y’ stitch, and open-loop stitch.
Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?
As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery, I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates, you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.
You can find the templates in our shop
Follow Pintangle and have it delivered to your inbox
You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the ‘follow’ feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
If you are on a mobile or tablet you will need to scroll to the bottom to find the follow feature.