Fly stitch

Fly stitch is a simple hand embroidery technique that can be used as an isolated stitch, to follow a straight line, or even to follow a curve. Fly stitch is often used to stitch vines, wreaths, and other foliage, and can be thought of as a "cousin" to fern stitch and feather stitch.


Photo of an embroidery hoop with yellow and blue vines stitched onto a dark orange fabric.
Fly stitches can be used to stitch simple vines and wreaths.

In this post, I've provided step-by-step instructions in written, photo, and video format (if video tutorials are easier for you to follow, feel free to jump ahead!).


Step 1: Create a guideline for yourself.


Using whatever transfer method you prefer, create guideline for yourself. For today's example, I've drawn two curved lines with V-shaped "branches."



Step 2: Begin with a straight stitch.


If your "pattern" includes a single line in the middle of your first V-shape branches (as mine does), you'll want to start by creating a single straight stitch.



Step 3: Bring your needle up through your fabric at the top of one of your "branches."



Step 4: Bring your needle back down through your fabric, at the top of the opposite "branch."


Don't pull your floss all the way through just yet; rather, make sure that you leave a loop for our next step.



Step 5: Bring your needle up through the hole you created with your initial straight stitch, and through the middle of your loop.


If you didn't start with a straight stitch, you'll use your V-shape as a guide, bringing your needle up through where the two "branches" meet.



Step 6: Pull your floss.



Step 7: Secure your stitch by creating one more straight stitch.


If you're using fly stitch to follow a line or curve, like I'm doing here, you'll place your needle down where your next set of V-shaped branches meet.



To continue your line of fly stitches, follow steps 3 through 7.



Here's what my line of stitching looks like once I've completed two fly stitches:



And here's my final curved line of fly stitches:



The back should look something like this:



This is such a fun stitch for vines, wreaths, foliage, and even small isolated stitches meant as embellishments.


Video tutorial for fly stitch



I hope this was useful, and I can't wait to see what you make! If you'd like to share your work with me, you can always tag me on your social media accounts (@hopebroidery on Instagram and Twitter, @hope.broidery on TikTok). If you don't have public social accounts, but still want to share, consider emailing me a few pictures (hope@hopebroidery.com), I would love the chance to tell you how much I love your work!


Happy stitching!