Basket filling stitch

Basket filling stitch (also known as the "basket satin stitch") is a fun and easy way to fill a space in hand embroidery. Basket filling stitch is a fun alternative to satin stitch, and produces an interesting, woven-like texture.


A photo of an embroidery hoop with two blue rectangles stitched onto bright green fabric and surrounded by embroidery floss and scissors.
This super simple stitch provides a unique texture to your hand embroidered pieces!

When I used this stitch to fill in a portion of the basket for the April 2021 Hopebroidery Box project, so many people (incorrectly) guessed I used a weaving technique - and what can I say, I love a stitch that looks like something other than what it is!


This post has both written and photo instructions; if a video tutorial is easier for you to follow, I've also provided that!


Step 1: Draw guidelines.


Drawing a gridded guideline on your shape will help organize which spaces require horizontal (side to side) stitches, and which require vertical (up to down) stitches. I've drawn my guidelines using a heat-erasable transfer pen so I can reuse this fabric later, but you could always use a pencil for this as you'll be covering all your marks with stitches.



Step 2: Satin stitch your first square.


The direction you choose to stitch your first square will determine the direction you'll stitch the rest of your squares. In these photo examples, I've chosen to start with a vertical satin stitch; in the video demonstration, I start with a horizontal satin stitch. There is no right or wrong way to start!



This is not meant to be a thorough tutorial for satin stitch itself, but I do have one elsewhere on the blog if you need it!


Step 3: Fill in the adjacent squares with an alternating pattern of horizontal and vertical satin stitches.


Again, there is no right or wrong order - if you'd prefer to stitch all of your vertical stitches before moving on to the horizontal stitches, that's perfectly fine! Do whatever works best for you. What works best for me is to stitch row-by-row; otherwise, I tend to mix up which stitches go where.



When stitching a horizontal square next to an already-stitched vertical square, I like to bring my needle just under the stitches I've already made (vs. just next to the stitches). This helps me to achieve a more woven look by the time I'm finished stitching.



Once you've stitched two squares next to each other, it's super easy to clean up any mistakes you might have made. Here, I've finished my second (horizontal) square, and will clean up any mistakes by adding one stitch to my first (vertical) square.



Here's what my first row looks like once I've filled in the last square.



Once I've finished my first row, I can move onto my second.



And here's what my finished sample shape looks like, once I've finished stitching all of my squares.



Video tutorial for basket filling stitch


In the video tutorial below, I fill in a second shape with the basket filling stitch using a darker shade of blue and a slightly different pattern of filling in my shapes (I start from the outside vs. the middle).



I hope this was helpful! If you're brand new to embroidery, check out my kits (they come with all the supplies you'll need + instructions on how to complete your projects).