Seed stitch

Seed stitch (also known as rice stitch, confetti stitch, isolated back stitch, seed filling stitch, and speckling stitch, among many other names!) is an open fill technique in hand embroidery that is super easy and very easy to modify to fit your particular needs or aesthetic preferences.


A photo of an embroidery hoop with small pink and yellow stitches filling in two rectangles on white fabric, surrounded by embroidery supplies on a white surface.
Seed stitch is is a super easy and fun way to fill in an area!

I think the biggest hurdle for learning and trying out this stitch is our desire for rules and order. Sure, that's a common hurdle for learning and trying hand embroidery in general; but it's (arguably) particularly so with seed stitch, which has very few rules!


What I mean by this is that seed stitch is super easy to modify, and you should feel free to have fun with it! For example, you can make your stitches longer or shorter, make your "pattern" of stitches more or less random, or place your stitches close together or far apart.


In this post, I've provided step-by-step instructions for seed stitch, as well as a very short video tutorial (feel free to skip ahead to that, if videos are more helpful to you!).


Step 1: Gather your supplies and draw your shape to be filled.


I'll be using all six strands of cotton embroidery floss on two layers of cotton fabric. I'm going to be using a heat-erasable pen to transfer a simple rectangle onto my fabric, as well as to draw out where I want my seed stitches to go. This part is totally optional - you can absolutely stitch this without drawing yourself guidelines first!



Step 2: Create relatively small, isolated straight stitches where you'd like your seed stitches to go.


Remember, you can make these as long or as short as you like, as well as making them as close together or spread out as you like.



Here's my first seed stitch!



Keep going until you've filled in your entire shape.



It's as easy as that!


Video tutorial for seed stitch



I hope this was fun and helpful! If you're brand new to embroidery and interested in learning seed stitch with a kit, we use this stitch in a portion of the pattern for the April 2021 Hopebroidery Box (you can purchase the kit here, or stand alone pattern here).