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Using brick stitch to blend different colors of floss

Brick stitch (also known as the "long and short" stitch) is a fun and easy way to fill in an area in hand embroidery.

In a previous post, I demonstrated how I do the brick stitch when I'm using just one color of floss. Although the techniques are slightly different, the resulting texture is the same! If you're brand new to this stitch and having trouble understanding how it works, I recommend you start there before moving on to what I'll be showing you in this post.

In that previous post, I described and demonstrated brick stitch as a combination of back and satin stitches; when stitching brick stitch using multiple colors of floss, however, I like to think of it more as a combination of straight and satin stitches.

A photo of green and blue rectangles stitched onto bright green fabric, on a white surface.
You can use brick stitch to blend multiple colors, if you like!

This post includes written and photo instructions; if a video tutorial is more helpful to you, I have one embedded at the bottom of this post (feel free to jump ahead!).

Step 1: Draw guidelines on your fabric.

I've drawn just three sections of guidelines here, using a heat-erasable transfer pen. You can draw more guidelines if you'd like your stitches to be shorter, and use whatever transfer method you like.

Step 2: Stitch your first "long" stitch.

Create a single straight stitch by bringing your needle up through your fabric at the top of your shape, and back down on your first guideline. This is what I'll refer to as my first "long" stitch, which will make more sense in our next step.

I like to start in the middle and work my way toward the outside of my shape because it helps me to keep my lines straighter as I go; this is similar to how I work satin stitch on larger areas. You don't have to do this, I just think it's helpful.

Step 3: Stitch your first "short" stitch.

Bring your needle up through the middle of the top of your shape and your first guideline and back down, just next to your stitch from Step 2. This is your first "short" stitch (because it's shorter than the "long" stitch in the previous step).

Step 4: Continue filling in the top section with alternating "long" and "short" stitches.

Here's what my top section looks like once I've finished filling it in with alternating stitches:

Step 5: Continuing the pattern of "long" and "short" stitches from the first section, fill in your second section with a new color.

Again, I like to start from the middle and work my way out toward the edges of my shape, but you don't have to start in the middle if you'd prefer to work from one side to the other.

Once you get to this second section, you're relying pretty heavily on the stitches from your first section to help guide where you should be laying down your stitches.

Here's what my first few stitches on that second section look like:

And here's what my shape looks like once I've finished the second section of colors:

Step 6: Fill in your third section with your third color of floss.

This is my final section; you might have more sections to fill in, depending on how many guidelines you drew for yourself.

Here's what my third section looks like once I've filled it in:

Step 7 (optional): Finish your shape by making one final row of "short" stitches.

I've used the same color of floss as my third section to fill in this last, jagged row.

Video tutorial for using brick stitch to blend different colors of floss

If video tutorials are easier for you to follow (they sure are for me!), here's one of me stitching a blue rectangle using these same techniques.

I think I did a better job of choosing colors for my green rectangle than my blue rectangle; this technique really does rely on choosing just the right colors to get the effect you'd most like.

I hope this was helpful! Before you go: did you know I sell embroidery kits that come with supplies and thorough instructions? No?! Well, now you do: check out the kits I have available for you!


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

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