How to sew running stitch

Discover a wealth of new hand embroidery stitches with our stitch library series. We’re starting you off with the easiest stitch ever – get to grips with running stitch with our beginners' guide.


This versatile stitch can be used for lettering as well as outlining shapes in your embroidery. Read on for our free stitch workshop and to download this free Material Girl embroidery pattern to try out your new stitch skills. Template design by Louise Day, Stitching and instructions by Zoe Patching.

Want to sew your own Material Girl hoop art?

Download our Free backstitch embroidery pattern


Step 1

Thread your needle (a size 9 is ideal) and knot the opposite end of the thread. Take needle down through the fabric with the knot on the surface, close to your start point. Make two tiny backstitches through the fabric, less than 1mm in length. Check the stitches are secure then snip off the knot.

How to running stitch step 1

Step 2

Working over your securing backstitches, bring your needle up to the fabric’s surface and make your first stitch, about 5mm in length (pic A).


Pass your thread through the fabric from front to back so it sits on the fabric’s surface, without distorting it (pic B).


Step 3

Bring the needle to the front again, about 3-4mm from the end of your first stitch. Pull the thread through fully. Make more running stitches in the same way following your design line, making sure each stitch is even in length and the spaces between each stitch are even, too.


Step 4

To finish off your line of running stitch, turn your fabric over and pass the needle through the reverse of your stitches until it’s securely fastened. Avoid carrying the thread across unstitched areas of fabric as this can create shadows on the front of your work.


Now use your free embroidery pattern to stitch your own hoop art and show off your new skills!

How to sew running stitch