Brick stitch (aka "long and short" stitch)

Brick stitch is a fun hand embroidery stitch you can use to fill in large areas, and it's super beginner-friendly; if you can back stitch and satin stitch, you can do the brick stitch!


A photo of two pink rectangles stitched onto bright green fabric.
Brick stitch is a fun way to fill a shape!

There are two main ways you can go about executing the brick stitch. In today's post, I'll be demonstrating how I do brick stitch when I'm using just one color of floss.


I've provided written and photo instructions here, but if a video tutorial is easier for you to follow you can always jump straight to that!


Step 1: Draw your shape and guidelines.


I used a heat-erasable transfer pen to draw my shape onto my fabric, using a piece of card stock as a template. You can use whatever transfer method you like.


I've also drawn three guidelines onto my shape; these will help me to know where my stitches should begin and end, and it'll make more sense once we start stitching! If you'd like to have shorter stitches, you can draw more than just the three guidelines I've drawn here.



Step 2: Using your guidelines as a reference, stitch one line of back stitch down the center of your shape.


I like to start in the center of my shape because I find that it helps me to keep the rest of my lines straight; that said, you can make this first line of stitching wherever you like.



Step 3: Back stitch a second line just next to your first line, staggering where your stitches are placed.


For this second line of stitching, you'll be stitching in between your guidelines, versus on your guidelines. This is what creates the brick-like pattern as you continue stitching.



Step 4: Continue filling in your shape using these two alternating patterns of back stitch.


You'll be alternating between back stitches that follow the guidelines you've drawn (as in step 2) and back stitches that are stitched in between those guidelines (as in step 3).



Here's what my shape looks like after I've completed several lines of stitching:



And here's my completed shape!



Video tutorial for brick stitch


In the video tutorial below, I stitch a second rectangle using brick stitch. I hope this is helpful to anybody who might find video tutorials easier to follow!



When to use brick stitch


I've primarily used brick stitch when filling in a space that I would like to look woven in appearance (for example, we used brick stitch for a portion of the April 2021 Hopebroidery Box project, which features a woven-like basket).


Brick stitch can be used to fill in any space you like. Although I've seen many books and blogs that recommend this as an alternative to satin stitch, I don't think that's quite right, as the texture looks much different! That said, you can certainly use this stitch to fill in large areas as an alternative to satin stitch, assuming the texture works for your goals.



I hope this tutorial was helpful, and happy stitching!