Satin 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.
To 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
To work the stitch bring the thread up through the fabric and make a single straight stitch.
Bring the needle out very close to the stitch just made and continue to fill the shape.
Tension 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
An 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.
In 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.
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