How to hand embroider Satin Stitch

How to hand embroider Satin Stitch

Satin Stitch sample 1Satin stitch which is also known as damask stitch is one of the oldest embroidery stitches found and it is worked on traditional embroideries in practically every country of the globe. Traditional embroiderers of China and Japan excelled in the use of this stitch yet it is quite a simple stitch as it is created by working straight stitches close together. When done well this stitch is just sumptuous.

Satin Stitch sample 4To use satin stitch to advantage stitches should lie evenly and closely together. You need to have them covering the fabric but not work on top of each other. They do take a little practice to achieve the best effect but they are worth it. As you can see Satin stitch will  play well together with other stitches. This sample is worked on 26 cnt linen in a mix of threads which include #5 cotton perle, wool, 3 strands of stranded floss and silk.

How to embroider Satin Stitch

step by step how to work satin stitch1To work the stitch bring the thread up through the fabric and make a single straight stitch.

step by step how to work satin stitch 2Bring the needle out very close to the stitch just made and continue to fill the shape.

step by step how to work satin stitch 3Tension can be an issue for some people. If the stitches too slack that they sag or too tight that they pucker the fabric use an embroiderers hoop. This stitch is really only suitable to cover small areas as long satin stitches can become loose, can snag and become untidy. If holding a curved edge neatly is difficult using outlined satin stitch is often the solution.

If you need to cover a larger area, divide the shape into smaller section working rows of Satin stitch to fill each area. The other alternative is to use long and short stitch or depending upon the design you can always think in terms of a patterned filling stitch.

Satin Stitch sample 9

You can easily learn and practice Satin stitch on even weave fabrics. You can build up patterns using simple stitches. This is an example of satin stitch worked in a hand space dyed cotton perle #5 thread. I worked them in a simple zig zag pattern and then defined diamond shaped boxes in back stitch before adding a bead.

Satin Stitch sample 10 You can also work Satin stitches in freeform manner. In this case I have worked the embroidery on a hand painted cotton background using mainly cotton threads.

Satin Stitch sample 5

In this next sample I used patches of stain stitches worked in wool and mixed with French knots in order to create an interesting texture.

Satin Stitch sample 7

Pulled Satin Stitch

Pulled Satin stitch is exactly the same stitch as regular satin except after each stitch you give the thread a little tug and pull it tight so that the stitch ‘pulls’ the fabric and condenses the warp and/or weft of the thread. This technique will only work if you use a fabric such a linen. I usually use a even weave linen of about 26 count. Other counts regularly used are 28 to 36 count. Regular fabrics with tight weave and fabrics such as Aida that are woven to prevent puckering will not work.

Pulled Satin Stitch sample 3An example of Pulled satin can be seen in the top right hand corner of this piece. The horizontal lines are created using hand space dyed threads of silk, wool and perle cotton #8 and #5. In this case I just pulled each stitch as I worked it.

Pulled satin stitch sample1In the case of this design the vertical lines are also pulled satin stitches. Below is a close up, as you can see I pulled some stitches tighter than others in order to create a pattern.

Pulled satin stitch sample 2

Other forms and varieties of of Satin stitch are
Padded Satin Stitch
Raised Satin stitch is also known as outlined Satin stitch
Diagonal Satin stitch


  1. Shami Immanuel
  2. This week’s satin stitch coincided with this week’s lesson on satin stitch in beading in the the class I have been taking by Nancy Eha. So I am showing my example of beading satin stitch in my wisteria example

    Karrin Hurd
  3. My very first try at doing satin stitching. Done on a CQ block for a RR. I love this stitch, but had never tried it before because it looked so intimidating. Definitely enjoyed this week’s challenge!

    Love your new website too.

  4. I’ve caught up! YAY! The samples (and they are just bare samples) for weeks 11 and 12 I worked afresh as they were new to me, but I confess to having show-cased some older things for satin stitch. Here they are:

    Congrats on the successful blog move, Sharon! I’m glad I’m content with the Blogger service, I don’t fancy moving mine. Still, who knows how I’ll feel later on??=)

  5. I finished a more complex piece this week and incorporated my TAST stitches into it. I wanted to complete week 14 and catch up by adding week 2 as well, and this piece has both buttonhole stitch (berwick) and satin stitch.

    Ahem. It also has backstitch, french knots, barred chains, wheat-ear, feather, cast-on and a couple others, but I digress.

    I’m going to try and use the TAST stitches in pieces like this from now on, so I can learn to incorporate them into more complex work.


  6. I have avoided this stitch over the years as I find difficulty keeping it even and smooth.
    However I still have a sample, from the 1950’s, on a worn small tablecloth – it was bought with the design of scattered flowers already printed on:
    I may not keep up with the challenge for a while as I’m booked to have my long awaited spine op next Tuesday – will it work and how long before I’m ‘back in action’ I ask myself?
    Whatever, I’ll keep admiring the wonderful creative work of all here. Connie. UK

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *