Basic Embroidery Stitches Sampler

Back in the olden days, samplers were a way to practice various stitches (many schoolgirls even used embroidery to practice their letters, mathematics, Bible verses, geography, and more!). While embroidery samplers are no longer used to reinforce school lessons (maybe we need to bring that back!), they are still valuable ways to learn and practice new kinds of stitches!

This sampler contains 12 fun types of embroidery stitches that can be combined to make all kinds of awesome designs and will also equip you with the skills to follow other patterns!

I will go step by step with you through the sampler, and my suggestion is to go in the order below – I will start with the easiest stitches and we’ll move on to the more challenging (but very awesome!) ones.

Before we get started, we need to get a few things ready…


  • Basic Embroidery Stitches Sampler PDF
  • Embroidery Stitches printable to have as a reference as you sew
  • embroidery needle (has a slightly bigger eye for thicker thread)
  • fabric (a nice white cotton or linen is best, but you can use whatever you may have lying around, even old sheets or pillowcases would work!)
  • embroidery thread – you can do all one color, or lots of different colors – whatever you like or may have on hand!
  • embroidery hoop – very good to have to hold your work taut
  • Pilot Frixion pen, fabric marker, fabric chalk pencil, or even a fine tip Sharpie if that is all you have right now

If you are starting with brand new embroidery thread that is not on a spool or bobbin, see this video where I show you a trick I use to wind the embroidery thread around a bobbin to prevent knots and headaches later!

Let’s start off by transferring our pattern to our fabric. There are many ways to do this – the simplest (and my favorite!) way is to simply trace it. You can even tape it up on a window, and it will be easier to see and trace. Note of caution: if you use the Frixion pen, don’t iron it unless you want all your hard work to disappear!  If you are interested in giving it a try, there is also a really cool way to print on fabric with freezer paper – see a tutorial from here.


For this sampler we are going to use three strands of embroidery thread (for a refresher on getting your thread and needle ready, see post Get Ready For Some Hand Sewing! along with videos on How to Thread a Needle and How to Tie a Knot).

Unscrew the embroidery hoop so that it comes apart into two pieces and place your traced fabric centered on top of the smaller half of the embroidery hoop.

Then put the other half of the hoop on top and adjust your fabric so that it is nice and taut and flat, then tighten the screw.

Now you are ready to get sewing!

1.  Running Stitch

2.  Backstitch

3.  Split Stitch

4.  Satin Stitch

5.  Cross Stitch

6.  Lazy Daisy

7.  Straight Stitch

8.  Stem Stitch

9.  Chain Stitch

10.  Woven Wheel – quick note on this one: I like to use the full six threads of the embroidery thread to make the flower fuller. Don’t forget to use your needle threader to help you get all that thread through the needle eye!

11.  Fishbone

12.  French Knot

Phew!!! We made it through all twelve!! And don’t worry if some of them turned out less than perfect, there are so many awesome patterns out there to practice some more! See my post 12 Awesome Free Embroidery Patterns for Beginners.

Happy Sewing!


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