Blanket Stitch Embroidery Tutorial

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Blanket stitch is an easy embroidery stitch that’s often used as an edging, but can be used for decorative purposes throughout a project.

It’s also a great way to add an edge to a piece of fabric so you can pick up stitches and knit or crochet from that base, like when I crocheted an edging on a tea towel.

What is Blanket Stitch?

Blanket stitch looks like backwards L shapes when you stitch it. It’s made by wrapping the thread around the needle as you make the stitch so that it doesn’t just make a straight stitch.

It can be used on the edges of blankets, thus the name, but there are lots of other uses. Stitch some blanket stitch on the edge of a cross stitched bookmark to keep the edges from fraying. Add it to the sides of a fabric or fleece scarf to add a little more color.

Use it as a decorative finish on a skirt or shirt, or just throw some in the middle of a project to evoke grass, make a grid, weave some ribbon through. The possibilities are endless!

Blanket Stitch on an Edge

Whether you work it on the edge or on the surface of a project, blanket stitch is basically the same procedure.

For an edge, you’ll want to thread your needle, tie a knot in your thread and bring the needle through the fabric from the back to the front pretty close to the edge.

Decide how wide you want the bottom of your stitch to be and bring your needle over that far. Decide how tall you want the straight part to be and put the needle in the fabric there from front to back.

As you pull the needle through, make sure the needle goes through the thread loop as shown so that, as you pull the thread through, it catches on itself.

This makes the backward L shape we’re going for.

Repeat that move across.

When you’re ready to stop you can take a little stitch into the bottom of the last stitch you made, or just take the thread around the back at the bottom of the fabric. Tie a knot to secure and trim any excess thread.

Variations and Embellishments

If you’re working blanket stitch away from the edge on a project, bring your needle up where you want the first stitch to begin and proceed as before.

You can draw a line with fabric pen if you want your stitches to be straight, or you can go with a more organic look like I have.

You can also vary the width of the base and the length of the leg, work them in a circle, square or other shape, or use them as edging around another shape or motif in the projects.

It’s also fun to embellish the stitches themselves, as I did here by adding French knots in every other space of the stitches.

Or try using basket stitch as a way to sew fabric, yarn or other items to your project. There are so many fun ways to use it beyond the edge!

If you’ve used blanket stitch in a fun way in a project, I’d love to hear about it!

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