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How To Satin Stitch (Padded)

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Satin Stitch is one of my favourite stitches. I love the smoothness of the finished satin stitched shape. There is something very satisfying about it.

how to satin stitch

It takes a little bit of practice to get a smooth result. But the effort is worth it, so don’t give up. You’ll get there with practice.

I always outline satin stitched shapes with split stitch first to get a smoother edge.

To raise the satin stitched shape you can add one or more layers of stitches in the middle of your shape. Due to the padding this is also called padded satin stitch.

Work each layer at 90 degree angle to the previous layer, as this provides support for the next layer. 

Good For

– Filling small shapes such as flower petals or leaves

Stitch Length

Satin stitch does not work well on larger areas in the classic sense. Threads will separate when taken out of the hoop and as the fabric is no longer tight. If you have larger areas divide the design into smaller areas. For example, if you embroider a large leaf use the leaf veins to divide the leave in smaller sections. If you want to use satin stitch for larger areas hold the stitches down with another stitch such as a back stitch. 

As a guideline keep the stitch length below 1 cm.

Having said that. Some contemporary embroidery designers use very long stitches and use them to their advantage to create some stunning designs. Have a go with different stitch length if you like and see how you get on.

What Embroidery Threads And Needles To Use

You can you use any type of embroidery thread for Satin stitch. But the finer the thread the smoother the satin stitched shape. I tend to work satin stitch with two strands of stranded cotton. You can use one or more. The thinner the thread the longer it takes you to complete the shape. But fewer strands result in smoother shapes and edges.

I use crewel needle size 8 or 9 for the two strands.

Stitch Sequence

In the following example, I am using two layers of padding as I like my shape a little more raised. You can use only one layer or more, depending on how raised you’d like your shape to be. Just in case you wonder, I am using a waste knot to secure my thread, so you’ll see a little knot on the side of the design.

padded satin stitch

Step 1 – To begin outline the shape with a split stitch. If you are unsure of how to split stitch click on the link above for a step-by-step split stitch tutorial.

step by step on how to hand stitch padded satin stitch

Step 2 –  Once you have outlined the shape and you wish to add padding bring the needle up at the inner edge of your outline. As I am adding two layers of padding I’m starting the first layer slightly in from the edge to give enough space to stitch the second layer. After that bring the needle down at the opposite, inner edge of your outline.

step by step tutorial on how to stitch padded satin stitch by hand

Step 3 – Come up with your needle right next to your second stitch rather than looping the thread around the back to come up next to the first stitch. The stitch I am using here is called a laid stitch. I am using the laid stitch to avoid bulking at the back and to save thread.

Continue until you have finished your first half of the layer and move on to complete the second half.

I stitch in two halves to get a more even result.

step by step tutorial on how to stitch padded satin stitch by hand

Step 4 – Next start stitching the second layer. The stitches of the second layer should cover the first layer completely. As already mentioned, make sure you stitch each layer at a 90-degree angle to the previous layer.

These stitches don’t have to be perfect, as you will not see them once you stitch over the padding with your satin stitch.

step by step tutorial on how to stitch padded satin stitch by hand

Step 5 – When you have completed the padding take your needle up at the outside of the outline edge. Start in the middle of your shape. After that take the needle down opposite your first stitch.

TIP: Slightly angle the needle underneath the outside edge of the outline, as this will assist in keeping a smooth outline.

step by step tutorial on how to stitch padded satin stitch by hand

Step 6 – Then take the needle up at the opposite side, right next to the first stitch. Angle the needle slightly when you come up. You want to make sure that the stitch sits tight to the previous stitch but you do not want to overlap your stitches.

Bring you needle down at the opposite side, again slightly angling the needle towards the previous stitch.

Work the rest of this half of the shape.

(Please note, I turned my work around in the bottom image to better show where the needle goes down.)

how to stitch padded satin stitch

Step 7 – When you stitch a curved shape such as a circle and come to the end of your shape your last stitch should just cover the outline split stitch underneath. Don’t be tempted to keep on stitching, as it will distort your shape.

Step 8 – Once you have finished one half of your shape bring your needle up to the right of your first stitch. Work the other half of your shape in exactly the same way as the first half.

I hope you found these steps helpful.

If you have a question or comment, leave a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

Happy Stitching!

Below are links to other stitches that you may find useful.

How To Stem Stitch By Hand

How To Split Stitch By Hand

Colonial Knot Tutorial

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