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Raised herringbone stitch

Raised herringbone stitch is a beautiful, easy, super satisfying way to fill in a shape - and it's especially useful for stitching leaves!

An embroidery hoop with three leaves stitched in different shades of pink onto mustard fabric sits on a white background, surrounded by a purple pin and different colors of embroidery floss.
raised herringbone stitched leaves

In this post, I'll provide you with step-by-step instructions for executing the raised herringbone stitch; if a video tutorial is more useful to you, that's available at the very end of this post.

Step 1: Draw your shape(s).

For my leaf shapes, I cut out a template from paper and traced the shapes onto my fabric using a heat-erasable fabric pen, but you can use any transfer method you like best. If you're just practicing and aren't worried about removing the marks after you're done, a pencil will do just fine!

Step 2: Make a small straight stitch at the base of your shape.

You can make this longer or shorter than what I've done in this example, depending on the effect you want in the end.

Step 3: Bring your needle back up through your fabric at the tip of your leaf shape.

Step 4: Weave your needle underneath your initial straight stitch, and pull.

Make sure you don't pierce the fabric or your floss at this step.

Step 5: Bring your needle back down through the last hole you created.

Step 6: Repeat this process, following your leaf shape all the way down.

Bring your needle up through your fabric, just next to your last stitch, and following the line of the leaf shape.

Again, weave your needle underneath your straight stitch, and bring it back down just next to your last stitch.

You'll continue this process all the way down your leaf shape. Here's what your leaf will look like once you're about halfway finished filling in your shape.

Once you get close to filling in your full shape, you'll have to be extra cautious not to accidentally pierce your floss as you weave through.

When I get to the end of my shape (as in the photo below), I use my left hand to gently push up my fabric, just underneath my straight stitch. This helps me to make sure I'm weaving my needle without piercing the floss or fabric.

Keep weaving until you've finished filling in your entire shape!

Would a video tutorial be more helpful?

Here's a step-by-step video tutorial for you, in case it might be easier to follow.

I hope this was helpful to you! As a reminder, many of my embroidery kits come with full-length, stitch-by-stitch tutorials! They're a bit less formal than what you see here (more "I'm in the house with you, virtually, teaching you how to stitch," if that makes sense), and a lot of fun! You can browse through available kits here.


Your new favorite hobby awaits with these beginner-friendly embroidery kits!

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