Friday, 14 October 2011

Basic Embroidery Stitches: Chain Stitch

Chain stitch is the one of the oldest stitch known.  It was an important factor in ecclesiastical embroidery (of or relating to a church) of the fourteenth century and is still in use for this class of work. Today, it is more commonly used by embroiderers for outlining purposes.

Chain stitch and its variations are fundamental to embroidery traditions of many cultures, including,
Kashmiri numdahs, 
Iranian Resht work, 
Central Asian suzani,
Hungarian Kalotaszeg "written embroidery", 
Jacobean embroidery, and 
(source: Wikipedia)

Out of the above forms of embroidery most are well aware of Kashmiri ( Kashida or Aari) work,  Jacobean Embroidery and Crewel work.

Chain Stitch Vs Tambour stitch
Chain stitch and Tambour stitch are visibly the same. The difference between them is that chain stitch is worked using ordinary needle, whereas, Tambour stitch is worked using a sharp hook and large frame.

Click on the image to go to the website that gives a detailed description of tambour work.

 Tambour Hooks

Here is a you tube video that shows Tambour beading in progress . You can see the stitches being worked that are similar to chain stitch , or rather, are chain stitch.

General applications

Chain stitch can be worked as a single line for outlines, lettering, for borders. It can be used to fill shapes
This is basically useful stitch in embroidering lines and curves.

Peacock in Redwork Embroidery with Chain Stitch

The peacock that I have worked in Redwork embroidery below shows how beautifully chain stitch follows the curvatures and can be used very well for outlining.

Find all the Basic Embroidery Stitches  here

Happy stitching . 


  1. hi royce, that red peacock looks nice.. btw you asked me about the fabric used for cushion covers, they are 100% cotton and I bought that from commercial street bangalore. i would suggest you to change from no-reply mode while commenting.

  2. LOVE the redwork peacock~!
    i've read that tambour work is similar to the chain stitch but didn't really understand how the tambour work was done. thank you for the info.


  3. Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quiet interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.
    suzani embroidery

  4. First of all let me tell you, you have got a great blog .I am interested in looking for more of such topics and would like to have further information. Hope to see the next blog soon.
    suzani embroidery


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