Chain Stitch

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illustration of chain stitch used in crazy quilting in combination with beads

Chain stitch is also known as tambour stitch and point de chainette. Chain stitch is one of the oldest of the decorative stitches and is the basis of a large group of stitches.

Its use has a long history and is widespread, throughout the world. It is believed to have originated in Persia and India, where it is worked with the aid of a fine hook known as an 'ari'. In the west this tool which looks like a crochet hook, is known as a 'tambour' hook. The needlework produced using this method is known as tambour embroidery. To distinguish between chain stitch sewn by hand from that worked with a hook you need to examine the back of the embroidery. Needlework that is done with a hook has a continuous thread without any joins where as, chain stitch done with a needle, will display separate stitches.

a step by step illustration of how to work chain stitch

Chain stitch is simple to work. Bring the needle up through the fabric and hold the thread with the left thumb. Insert the needle back into where it first came out. Take the needle through the fabric bringing the point of the needle out a short space along the line to be stitched. With the thread wrapped under the needle point pull the needle through the fabric.

A large variety of threads can be used from the finest silk to ribbon, the size of the stitch will depend on the weight of the thread used. it is an ideal beginners stitch and suitable to teach children as it is easy to sew.



illustration of chain stitch

Chain stitch Family:

There are many other stitches in this group. The stitches that I have listed here in the chain stitch family are: