Magic Chain Stitch

Magic Chain Stitch

Magic Chain Stitch is a fun light-hearted stitch that both children and adults love. It is called Checkered or Magic Chain — because it changes colour. It is useful to use on small gifts, like Christmas tree decorations, purses and bags etc. This stitch can hold a curve well. I have seen magic chain stitch used to embroider text, which it handled well since it is a variety of chain stitch.  It is a reasonably hard-wearing stitch, so if you wanted to teach it to a child, they can use what they make without fear of it becoming too tatty in minutes.  I discovered magic Chain Stitch in Jacqueline Enthoven’s The Stitches of Creative Embroidery (p 132) so … this is a real stitch — I am not pulling your leg!

The sample is worked in two threads of perle #5. I used a tapestry needle so I could thread both colours in the needle with ease.

Note: Know how to work Chain stitch before embarking on this variety. (You will find the tutorial for Chain stitch here)

How to work magic Chain Stitch

Thread your needle with two contrasting colours. Make sure both threads are the same length. Start the line as you would ordinary chain stitch but loop only one of the threads under the needle. see in the illustration how the blue thread is under the needle and the yellow is not.

tutorial of magic chain or checkered chain stitch step 1

Pull the thread through the fabric. While you do this make sure the tension is the same on both threads as you pull.

Make the next chain stitch but use the contrasting thread. See how this time, the yellow thread is under the needle.

tutorial of magic chain or checkered chain stitch step 2

Pull the thread through to make the second chain stitch. Continue in this manner alternating the two colours.

tutorial of magic chain or checkered chain stitch

As you can see you end up with a line of stitches made of two colours! This is a fun stitch. I hope you enjoy it and share it with your friends.

Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?


Create your own designs with Sharon’s easy-to-use stitchers templates. Combine shapes to create hundreds of patterns and designs to embroider. It is the ultimate mix-and-match fun for stitchers of all skill levels. I created them to be as versatile as possible. I include four multi-patterned templates in each set. You will find them easy to use, totally clear to help you position them on your work, and they are nice and compact to fit in your sewing box. Each set comes with an e-book filled with patterns and designs that you can create and use as a jumping-off spot for your own designs. They are available now in our shop here!

Happy stitching!


  1. I’m not a TAST participant, but I do stop by and see what’s up. I’m always amazed to see the different directions a single stitch can take with all the stitchers.

    I’ve seen (OK, I bought) a double eye needle. The catalogs showed it next to something similar to this stitch. Is that needle’s purpose to make this stitch easier somehow? I’ve never tried the needle yet, so I’m just wondering if it’s a solution in search of a problem or if it does magical things.

    1. I cant see how a double eye needle would make this any easier. You can use a double eye needle to mix two threads together (and you can do the same thing by threading the two together in the eye) but with this stitch one thread stays at the back of the fabric. I have never tried using one for this stitch I will have to try but I cant really see an advantage- I could be wrong however.

  2. Here is mine, forming a stem for my open-based needle-woven picot stitch flower. I used GAST “Harvest Basket” and Forest Glade” as my alternating colors…


    I did try to be creative and use three colors but I had tension issues, with the threads not wanting to cooperate, resulting in a hot mess on both the front and the back of the fabric,  so I ripped that out and settled for just two…

  3. Dear,
    I am sorry very sorry.
    I missed some of the challenges.
    Due my ill health and eye problem, i was not able to make it attempt.
    I who never fail to try your stitches for the all weeks and never miss to enter other sites to woun der what they had done.
    This is the wounderful site to enjoy hoe stitches are being used inan very imaginatery forms.
    I really used to enjoy.
    But……….. sorry i missed some weeks. But sure will catch soon.
    ai will post this stitch soon because i love todo it.

  4. Hi! I have no time for stitching your wonderfull suggestions, but I follow with pleasure your posts, I learn your tecniques, and I wonder watching the great ideas of your followers!
    Thank for your work!

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