Barred Chain Stitch

Barred Chain Stitch

barred chain stitch sample 4

Barred chain is an extreme form of Twisted chain stitch. As experienced stitchers know, the chain stitch family has numerous varieties, of which Barred chain stitch is an interesting example.

Just like chain stitch, Barred chain stitch is a linear stitch that will follow curves well and can be easily worked on all types of fabrics. It is easy and quick to work and suitable for a large variety of threads.

This stitch is very suitable for freeform stitching and combines easily with beads.

The size and appearance of the stitch will be influenced by the size and spacing of the prongs. Since the appeal of this stitch is based on the textured nature of the line produced, you can be very creative and experimental with the thread you use. And it is easily combined with other textured stitches to produce interesting results. You can overlap lines of the stitch or use it to couch down another thread.

barred chain stitch sample 4

Barred Chain stitch can be used as thorny outbursts in floral motifs if you are a traditional stitcher. (Yes a ‘thorny outburst’ sounds like a teenage mood swing but I am sure readers will understand what I mean 🙂 ).

This factor, in combination with explorations varying the:

  • length of the spines,
  • size of the chain,
  • spacing of the spines,
  • width of the line,
  • weight and texture of the thread,

should keep most contemporary embroiderers intrigued. Explore the scale you work in and I am sure you will have interesting results.

How to work Barred Chain stitch

To work Barred chain stitch you need to be familiar with chain stitch.

step by step barred chain stitch 1Working down the line start with a basic chain stitch.

step by step barred chain stitch 2Insert the needle to the left of the first chain stitch with the point of the needle out a short space along the line to be stitched. This can vary depending upon how wide you want the ‘spike’ of the chain. The wider the gap the larger the spike.

step by step barred chain stitch 3Wrap the thread under the needle’s point towards the right and pull the needle through the fabric. The thread should cross as you do this, producing a crossed stitch as illustrated.

step by step barred chain stitch 4Next, make a basic chain stitch. Repeat this pattern of one basic chain and one barred chain stitch as you work down the line.

step by step barred chain stitch 5

Barred chain stitch can look effective if you add a seed bead to the end of each spine.

barred chain stitch sample 3

You can also create an interesting textured surface if you use bulky threads and work it row upon row together.

barred chain stitch sample 2

Return to the stitch dictionary index


Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

marking a seam using my stitchers Templates

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery, I designed these templates with fellow stitchers in mind. You can use them to 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. And we laser cut them in our own studio to ensure the highest quality.

To see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns that come with them visit the information pages. You can find out more about set 1 on this page . To find out more about set 2 visit this page
Or go directly to the Pintangle shop to purchase them.



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  5. Barred chain and the previous 4 stitches are found here.
    My project challenge is stitching onto paper.

    This was really hard til I got nearly 3/4 round the circle. I had to have the page open on the computer to remind myself where the thread went. then I realised it is laid the same way I do the chain anyway!
    So, I hope to try the alternating chain and get totally confused!
    Sandy in the UK

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  7. Pingback: Week 12 TAST Barred and Alternating Chain Stitches « eclecticlamb

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