Feathered Chain Stitch and Long Tail Chain stitch

Feathered Chain Stitch is made up of long tailed chain stitch worked in a zig zag manner. Long tail chain is simply a chain stitch with a long tie stitch.  If you are beginner you need to be able to work chain stitch before doing this variety.

Each long tail chain stitch is worked on a diagonal slant, alternating from left and right. I find it easier to work this stitch from top to bottom between two imaginary lines bit if you want neat zigzag line some people find it useful to mark the fabric with two parallel guide-lines.

How to work Long Tail Chain stitch

Feathered chain stitch step 1Bring the needle up through the fabric on the right hand line. Insert the needle back into where it emerged from and take it through the fabric bringing the point of the needle diagonally across the line as illustrated. The needle should point towards the left.

Feathered chain stitch step 2Wrap under the needle point as you would for chain stitch and pull the needle through. On the same diagonal line tie the chain down with a long straight stitch. The tie stitch should finish on the left hand line.

When this stitch is worked in a single unit it is called a long tailed chain. I think readers can see why. You can arrange long tailed chain stitch is all sorts of ways. Circles are a common pattern as they then look like flower petals. There are also varieties that weave the spokes created by long tail chain when arranged in a circle.

You can find some of these varieties illustrated here

How to work Feathered Chain stitch

hand embroidery Feathered chain stitch step 3To make the second stitch bring the needle up through the fabric on the left hand imaginary line, close to the end of the tie stitch. Have a thread or two between where the tie stitch went into the fabric and where your needle emerges.

Feathered chain stitch step4Work another long tail chain stitch pointing back towards the right hand imaginary line.

Feathered chain stitch step 5Continue in this zig-zag motion downwards.

Feathered chain stitch step 6

This is not a true feather stitch as such but that is what it is referred to in books. I think of it as zig zag chain stitch. Hope you enjoy this stitch.


  1. Hmmm Im not sure Im happy with this stitch. It doesnt feel like a feather stitch. It feels like lazy daisy when you work it. So I change it to what I feel is more feather. Start by making the first feather stitch but catch it with a chain loop. Catch the chain loop with another feather stitch (the straight part of the chain and swing it over to the left like a normal feather catching it again with a chain loop. Continue working left and right with the chain loops and you get a feathered chain. It looks very different because you get the loop chain effect in the centre not on the outside and it has the natural rhythm of the feather stitch, Just a thought. You could still add beads to the straight part of the stitch.


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