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Straight stitch icon
Straight stitch

  • Single satin stitch
  • Stroke stitch
Straight stitch main image

​Straight stitch is literally a stitch which is straight. 

It can be worked in any thread and can add areas of interest and texture through small and delicate stitches or larger and heavier ones. Straight stitch is a particularly useful stitch when working with fine silk ribbons. Groups of single straight stitches, worked using thread, ribbon or a combination of both, can be used to create clumps of grasses, legs of insects, leaf veins and so on.

This stitch is generously sponsored by Gwendolyn, Nelva and Una in dedication to their mother Vird Ella Williams of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, USA. Her love for sewing and needlework will live on through her daughters.


Hold the needle on top with your left hand and keep your right hand underneath the fabric all the time (reverse this if you are left-handed). This will speed up your sewing.

Avoid working with lengths of ribbon greater than 20cm because ribbon can start to look worn very quickly. Start off and finish as you would a couched thread or cord, but if there is no suitable space for casting off invisibly, thread through the existing stitches on the back.


Work groups of single straight stitches with a thread to create a clump of grass. Always pull the thread through completely at the start and end of each stitch.


To make a straight stitch with ribbon, pass the ribbon through to the front of the fabric. Hold it taut in your left hand and take the needle down through the centre of the ribbon.


Pull the fabric through to the back of the fabric.


Use the ribbon to make some more stitches of varying length.

Straight stitch

Structure of stitch

Identifying Straight stitch

​Straight stitch can be identified as a single straight stitch in any thread including ribbon, and often worked in groups to create the look of grass, leaves etc.


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.194
  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.269
  • Anchor Embroidery, 100 Embroidery Stitches
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004) , p.91
  • Sarah Whittle, The Needlecraft Stitch Directory (2012) , p.146

Examples of Straight stitch

Antependium – Sandalphon, RSN Collection No. 101