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Stitches for paper embroidery cards

When you are sewing the design on your paper embroidery greetings card the instructions may call for backstitch and stem stitch. The following diagrams show how these stitches are worked.

Back stitch

Where the design calls for back stitch this works as follows:

BackstitchOut at 2 in at 1
Out at 3 in at 2
Out at 4 in at 3

Stem stitch

Where the design calls for stem stitch this works as follows:
Stem stitchOut at 1 in at 3
Out at 2 in at 4
Out at 3 in at 5

Continue sequence

Some instructions will start a sewing sequence and then leave you to continue with it. For example the following instructions are from the free butterfly prick & stitch pattern:

Wing 1
Out at A in at B
Out at C in at D
Out at E in at F
Continue this sequence until the wing is complete.

These instructions have set up the direction of stitching and the number of holes between 'out' and 'in'. Each new stitch emerges from the next hole along on the 'out' side and enters the next hole along on the 'in' side. There are the same number of pricked holes between the 'out' and 'in' on each stitch.

The following diagram illustrates this.

Animated diagram

Keep adding stitches until the shape is complete.

Crossing fill

The following diagram shows a petal shape from the flowering vine greeting card prick 'n stitch pattern. The stitch comes out on one side of the shape and into a hole on the other side, exactly half way around the shape. The holes are only used once with the cross fill. These shapes are easy to understand and easy to work.

Petal

Some of the stitches in the above diagram have been drawn in colour to make it easier to see where they are going.

Some shapes use holes more than once

On some designs the holes are used more than once so that the design may look more complicated than it really is. This technique can be used to create circles, curves and many other shapes. If you get stuck on these the best thing is to study the finished diagram. Sometimes it is easier to sew it than to think about how it works.

Generally, if you keep moving forward one hole at a time, keeping the same number of holes between the out and in holes, you will complete the shape as it is intended.

Circle

The following diagram shows a circle. The stitches span six holes including the out and in holes. The first few numbers indicate the way the stitches are going. When you get to unnumbered holes keep the sequence going by moving forward by one hole at a time. Keep the stitch length to six holes. All the holes are used twice in this example. Some lines are drawn in different colours for clarity.

Circle

'S' curve

The following diagram is from the lily greeting card sewing pattern. Although at a glance it may look difficult a methodical approach will work. Move forward one set of holes at a time. Keep the same number of holes between the hole you come out of and the hole you go in at. In this example all the stitches are 10 holes long. Many of the holes are used twice. Continue the stitching until the shape is completed.

Once the above method is understood, numbering the first few stitches should be enough to establish the sequence. However, some customers have said they would like extra guidance so we have added more numbers than usual.

s curveOut at 1 in at 2    
Out at 3 in at 4
Out at 5 in at 6
Out at 7 in at 8
Out at 9 in at 10
Out at 11 in at 12
Out at 13 in at 14
Out at 15 in at 16
Out at 17 in at 18
Out at 19 in at 2
Out at 3 in at 20
Out at 21 in at 6
Out at 7 in at 22
Out at 23 in at 10
Out at 11 in at 24
Out at 25 in at 14
Out at 15 in at 26
Out at 27 in at 18
Out at 19 in at 28
Out at 29 in at 20
Out at 21 in at 30
Out at 31 in at 22
Out at 23 in at 32
Out at 33 in at 24
Out at 25 in at 34
Out at 35 in at 26
Continue this sequence until the shape is complete.

Some of the stitches in the above diagram have been drawn in colour to make it easier to see where they are going.

Mirror stitching

Sometimes the instructions say that a section is a mirror image of the previous one. This means that the image is reversed left to right. For example when you look in the mirror the image is reversed. To test this hold up a printed sheet to your mirror. The stitching sequence is similar to the one it is being compared with but the stitches go in the opposite direction. Study the finished diagram to see how they go.