Chain stitch

Chain stitch
Traditional embroidery in chain stitch on a Kazakh rug, contemporary.

Chain stitch is a sewing and embroidery technique in which a series of looped stitches form a chain-like pattern.[1] Chain stitch is an ancient craft - examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery worked in silk thread have been dated to the Warring States period (5th-3rd century BC).[2] Handmade chain stitch embroidery does not require that the needle pass through more than one layer of fabric. For this reason the stitch is an effective surface embellishment near seams on finished fabric. Because chain stitches can form flowing, curved lines, they are used in many surface embroidery styles that mimic "drawing" in thread.[3]

Chain stitches are also used in making tambour lace, needlelace, macramé and crochet.



Machine embroidery in chain stitch on a voile curtain, China, early 21st century.

Hand embroidery

Chain stitch and its variations are fundamental to embroidery traditions of many cultures, including Kashmiri numdahs, Iranian Resht work, Central Asian suzani, Hungarian Kalotaszeg "written embroidery",[4] Jacobean embroidery, and crewelwork.

Machine sewing and embroidery

Chain stitch was the stitch used by early sewing machines; however, as it is easily unraveled from fabric, this was soon replaced with the more secure lockstitch. This ease of unraveling of the single-thread chain stitch, more specifically known as ISO 4915:1991 stitch 101, continues to be exploited for industrial purposes in the closure of bags for bulk products.[5][6]

Machine embroidery in chain stitch, often in traditional hand-worked crewel designs, is found on curtains, bed linens, and upholstery fabrics.


Hand Variants

"Drawing" or outlining in basic chain stitch

Variations of the basic chain stitch include:

  • Back-stitched chain stitch
  • Braided stitching
  • Cable chain stitch
  • Knotted chain stitch
  • Open chain stitch
  • Petal chain stitch
  • Rosette chain stitch
  • Singalese chain stitch
  • Twisted chain stitch
  • Wheat-ear stitch
  • Zig-zag chain stitch

Hand Stitch gallery

Machine Variants

  • The Basic Chain stitch is made by first sending the needle down through the material. Then, as the needle rises upward, the friction of the thread against the fabric is sufficient to form a small loop on the underside of the material. That loop is caught by a circular needle which is beneath the work. The machine then moves the material forward projecting the loop on the underside from the previous stitch. The next drop of the needle goes through the previous loop. The circular needle then releases the first loop and picks up the new loop and the process repeats.[7]
  • The Double chain stitch uses two threads. It is rarely used in today's machines except for ornamental purposes because it uses a lot of thread.[7]

Machine Stitch gallery

Formation of a simple chain stitch using a looper.
Formation of the double locking chain stitch


  1. ^ Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (March 1992). ISBN 0-89577-059-8, p. 32-33
  2. ^ Gillow, John, and Bryan Sentance: World Textiles, Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1999, ISBN 0-8212-2621-5, p. 178
  3. ^ Gillow and Sentance: World Textiles, p. 178
  4. ^ Gillow and Sentance: World Textiles, p. 178-179
  5. ^ Union Special, Closing Machines BC100 and 80800, p. 2,, retrieved 2009-05-26 
  6. ^ American & Efird, ISO Stitch Terminology, p. 1,, retrieved 2009-05-28 
  7. ^ a b 1902 Encyclopedia

Union Special Portable Chain Stitch machine internal mechanism2200 Portable bag closing machines

See also


  • Virginia Churchill Bath, Needlework in America, Viking Press, 1979 ISBN 0-670-50575-7
  • S.F.A. Caulfield and B.C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework, 1885.
  • Mrs. Archibald Christie. Samplers and Stitches, a handbook of the embroiderer's art, London 1920, 1989 facsimile: Batsford, ISBN 0-7134-4796-6, or online at Project Gutenberg
  • John Gillow and Bryan Sentance: World Textiles, Bulfinch Press/Little, Brown, 1999, ISBN 0-8212-2621-5
  • Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc., March 1992, ISBN 0-89577-059-8

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Chain stitch — 1. An ornamental stitch like the links of a chain; used in crocheting, sewing, and embroidery. [1913 Webster] 2. (Machine Sewing) A stitch in which the looping of the thread or threads forms a chain on the under side of the work; the loop stitch …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chain-stitch — chain stitch, a stitch in sewing, crocheting, or embroidery, in which each stitch makes a loop through which the next stitch is taken. Many industrial bags, such as those containing animal feed, cement, and fertilizer, are closed with chain… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Chain stitch — Stitch Stitch, n. [OE. stiche, AS. stice a pricking, akin to stician to prick. See {Stick}, v. i.] 1. A single pass of a needle in sewing; the loop or turn of the thread thus made. [1913 Webster] 2. A single turn of the thread round a needle in… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Chain stitch — Chain Chain (ch[=a]n), n. [F. cha[^i]ne, fr. L. catena. Cf. {Catenate}.] 1. A series of links or rings, usually of metal, connected, or fitted into one another, used for various purposes, as of support, of restraint, of ornament, of the exertion… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • chain stitch — chain′ stitch n. 1) clo a decorative hand stitch that forms a line of single stitches looped like a chain 2) clo a basic crochet stitch in which the yarn is formed into a strand of interlocking single loops • Etymology: 1590–1600 …   From formal English to slang

  • chain stitch — n. an ornamental stitch in which the loops are connected in a chainlike way, as in crocheting chain stitch vt …   English World dictionary

  • chain stitch — chain ,stitch noun count a way of sewing in which each stitch is made by pulling the THREAD through the stitch before it …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • chain stitch — n [U and C] a way of sewing in which each new stitch is pulled through the last one …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • chain stitch — noun 1. the most basic of all crochet stitches made by pulling a loop of yarn through another loop • Hypernyms: ↑crochet stitch 2. a looped stitch resembling the links of a chain; used in embroidery and in sewing • Hypernyms: ↑sewing stitch,… …   Useful english dictionary

  • chain stitch — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms chain stitch : singular chain stitch plural chain stitches a way of sewing in which each stitch is made by pulling the thread through the stitch before it …   English dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”