Working Feather Stitches and Variations

  • 01 of 06

    What Is the Feather Stitch?

    Feather Stitch Example
    Mollie Johanson

    The feather stitch and its variations are used in surface embroidery to create airy lines of stitching along curves or straight lines. It's one of the most basic and popular embroidery stitches and can be used to create an edge finish or a surface embroidery stitch. It's also handy for stitching elements in place on an embroidery project and for attaching appliques. A feather stitch can be marked on the fabric or worked as a counted stitch. It is worked using open half-loops of stitching in single or multiple rows. There are several popular variations on the basic feather stitch. 

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  • 02 of 06

    How to Work the Basic Feather Stitch

    Working the Feather Stitch
    © Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to
    1. Bring the needle up through the fabric at the top left side (1) and down at the right (2), creating a loop on top of the embroidery fabric.
    2. Bring the needle up again near the center of the loop you just created, a short distance lower than the first loop (3) and down again to the right (4).
    3. Continue working interlocking loops to the desired length.
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  • 03 of 06

    Straight Feather Stitch

    Working the Straight Feather Stitch. © Cheryl C. Fall

    The straight feather stitch is worked in the same manner as the basic feather stitch with the exception of the loops lining up. When working the straight feather stitch, the loops are spaced one under the other along one side (in this case, aligned to the left), giving a straight appearance on the right or left side.

    This stitch looks really pretty when used as an edging for a redwork embroidery design. You can also work it in two rows, with the stitch facing opposite directions and the rows spaced 1 or 2 inches apart. Between the two rows, you can fill in with additional stitches of various types to create a custom band of stitches. Another good application of the straight feather stitch is to secure the sides of a ribbon or decorative fabric.

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  • 04 of 06

    Closed Feather Stitch

    Working the Closed Feather Stitch
    © Cheryl C. Fall

    The ​closed feather stitch is worked in the same manner as the basic feather stitch with the exception of the loops lining up along the side edges, forming a closed edge. When working the closed feather stitch, the entry point of the successive loops is placed in the same spot on the fabric as the exit point of the preceding loops. The close feather stitch can be used as a couching stitch for tacking down lengths of ribbon.

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  • 05 of 06

    Two Variations on the Straight Feather Stitch

    Variations of the Straight Feather Stitch
    © Cheryl C. Fall

    The​ straight feather stitch also can be worked with a straight edge along the both sides or along the center of a stitched band. 

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  • 06 of 06

    Double Feather Variation

    Working the Triple Feather Stitch
    © Cheryl C. Fall

    In the double feather version of the​ feather stitch, stitches are worked in left and right groups of three staggered stitches, forming a more intricate band of stitching. This decorative variation is useful for wide borders and bands. It looks particularly beautiful when used as a banded strip of embroidery on clothing, table linens, and bed skirts. For maximum decorative impact, apply the double feature stitch a few inches from the hemmed edge.