Detached chain stitch

Detached chain stitch is used in loads of available patterns, and is a great stitch for you to consider adding to your own designs. My favorite thing about this stitch (other than how much fun it is to do!) is how easily it can be modified to get different effects.

Detached chain stitch is a great option for adding petals to flowers, leaves to vines, and decorative "fillers" to the parts of your designs that have gaps.

I've written out steps below, and provided a video at the end of this post for my fellow visual learners.


  • Bring your needle up, and then back down into the same hole you just made. If you've started with a knot, make sure you gently move that to the side as you're bringing your needle back down so as to avoid piercing the knot with your needle.

  • You'll be leaving a loop before securing your stitch, so don't pull your floss all the way down just yet.

  • This is where you'll make your decision in terms of how tight or loose you want your stitch to look - bring your needle up through the inside of your loop (either a long distance, a short distance, or somewhere in between, depending on how long you want the finished stitch to be) and then secure by coming down just to the outside of your loop. Depending on how long your stitch is and how tightly you pull your loop, you can end up with different effects:

  • Once secured, check to make sure your stitch looks the way you want it to look - you can sometimes use your needle to gently pull up some of the loop's floss to give it a looser look; that said, don't be afraid to pull it out and start over if you accidentally pulled too tightly or too loosely.

In the video below, I demonstrate detached chain stitch using slightly different variations. If you're a more visual learner and are interested in learning with a kit, most of my available kits come with full-length, stitch-by-stitch tutorials!