Embroidery Stitch Types

Understanding Different Embroidery Stitch Types

Embroidery At Its Finest

Artwork made from thread! This article covers different types of stitching used during traditional embroidery.

"Who is Embroidery and what does he do?"

Have you ever ordered a traditional embroidery product design and wondered about the different types of embroidery stitching that make up the entire finished product?

In one embroidery, it is entirely possible that many different stitch types will need to be employed to bring your embroidery to life.

We'll point out some of them, and discuss their strengths, and when one type may be utilized over another to bring your embroidery to life.  We also hope that these insights may assist you when creating embroidery-specific artwork to achieve the type of embroidery you are looking for.

The 3 Staple Stitch Types: Running, Satin & Tatami

The Tatami Stitch, or Fill Stitches

This is used for the background, and has a lot of stitches going in patchwork like directions to fill up an entire area or shape.  This stitch type is not used for line work and is best used for background fill to cover a wide area.

The Satin Stitch, or the Column Stitch

This Satin Stitch is also called the Column stitch as it creates a column whose width can change and this style is more traditional for text.  The stitch direction is perpendicular to the lines and this type uses a medium number of stitches when used in an embroidery.  

The Running Stitch or Triple Running Stitch, a line

The Running Stitch is great for very thin lines right at the minimum required thickness and the stitch direction follows the lines.  Of the three stitch types we will discuss here, the running stitch uses the fewest number of stitches to affect your design.  We can also use the Triple Running stitch as the three times the thickness can embolden the line when appropriate.  

When to Use Each Embroidery Stitch Type

Here's more info about each stitch type and ways to use it for your embroidery to turn out great!

Stitch Name
Triple Running
Single Running
Look of Stitch

Mostly Used For
Fill space like a background 
Text or Details
Thin lines or Details
Super thin lines 
Large shape or area
Minimum thickness of 2mm or 0.08" is required and can be up to about 7mm or 0.27"
Details less than 2mm or 0.08" thickness
Details about 1mm or 0.04" thickness
Stitch Direction
Stitches are multi-directional to cover an area
Stitch direction is perpendicular to line
Stitch direction follows the line
Stitch direction follows the line
Stitch Coverage
Full Coverage
Medium Coverage
Minimal Coverage
Least Coverage
Supported Garments

Best used on thick, sturdy garments like:
  1. hoodies
  2. sweatshirts
  3. snapback hats

Great for hoodies or thick tees such as:
  1. Gildan
  2. Alstyle
  3. Shakawear
  4. Econscious
Great for thin garments (because it helps avoid puckering of the fabric), or areas where small details are needed, like:
  1. Bomber Jackets
  2. Dad hats
Great for thin tees, such as: 
  1. Bella Canvas
  2. Tultex Blends
  3. Next Level

Multiple stitches may be used in a single artwork to create the right look and feel for your artwork and may depend on the garment you're using as well. 

Here's the Key to Picking the Right Font and Achieving High Quality Text

One of the hardest part of designing high quality embroidery, is making sure your fonts will be legible. 

Make sure you consider how a specific font will translate into stitches. Best to consider the height and width of the text or font you wish to use. Sometimes spacing out the letters (even if you don't make them taller) can really help with better clarity and legibility. Also, make sure that the font being used is thick enough at the size and scale you want. 

You can see example of fonts at 0.25" tall and 0.50" tall below. We generally recommend bigger fonts, as they'll be more clear and clean for embroidery. We do not recommend going smaller than 0.25" tall (that's something like 36pt for common fonts, but can vary based on the specific font). 

Keep in mind that sometimes a simple cursive font can also look clean too because all the letters are connected and smooth. Less trims (or thread cuts) between each letter will reduce misalignment in your fonts. 

You're awesome, and so are you embroidery designs, especially after following these tips and tricks!

Avoid this Common Pitfall To Create Amazing Embroidery

Size Matters

You'll notice the smaller the font, the more simple it should be to achieve high quality embroidery. Too much detail at a small area can cause loops, gaps, bunching, holes and misalignments. Avoid small fonts for consistently great embroidery!

(Remember, in some cases the best option might be to print your design if you need small, legible fonts.)

Check out the stitch details and corresponding height of the font in each example below. 

You can see above that even at 1/4 inch this simple font can look too cramped and tight. In some cases, we'll recommend running stitch instead of satin stitch to best suit your small details.

Devils in The Details

Drop the Serifs and Move into the Modern 21st Century

We recommend simple sans-serif fonts like Helvetic, Century Gothic, and Arial. These are fonts that don't have tails at the tops, bottoms, or edges of the letters, which can often make embroidery look messy, instead of clean and high quality.

It's always best to consider these stitch types and font tricks while designing your artwork to produce embroidery of the highest caliber that you'll love. 

No Worries, Be Happy

We're Here to Help You on Your Embroidery Journey

Help us, help you by following these guidelines for great embroidery right from the get-go while you create your artwork.  But don't stress, the good news is that when your Apliiq Artist reviews your artwork files for embroidery, we keep all of these details in mind for you and will help guide you to creating the best quality embroidery possible!

Happy embroidery designing and stitching :)

For more information on creating the best embroidery, check out our recommended guidelines on how to prepare your artwork for embroidery here.

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