How to work Raised Stem Stitch

How to work Raised Stem Stitch


Welcome to my first ever blog post. I hope you find it useful!

Raised Stem stitch is often used in Jacobean crewel embroidery. Today we are looking at how to work this textured stitch, which is ideal for use in stems, leaves and tree trunks.

Step 1

Begin by threading your needle and working bars along the shape you intend to fill. These bars should be about 4mm apart and should be slightly extended outside of your design line. This is so that when you have worked the stem stitch over the top, the design lines are covered. They should also run at 90 degrees to the shape you are filling. Although these bars won’t be seen when you have finished, they should still be kept as neat as possible.

Raised stem stitch


Step 2

Bring your needle up at the start of the line, right at the edge. If you are working a shape that travels upwards in direction, this should be on the right hand side. Or in this case, along the bottom.

Raised stem stitch


Step 3 

Take your needle over the top of the first bar and then using the eye of the needle, so as not to catch the bar, back underneath it. Make sure that you keep the thread pulled towards the bottom, you don’t want it sitting above the needle. If you are working a shape that’s vertical, you should make sure the thread is kept to the right. It should look like you are wrapping the bar.

Raised stem stitch


Step 4

Repeat this process with the next bar. Taking the needle over the 2nd bar and back underneath it. Again making sure your thread is underneath the needle.

raised stem stitch


Step 5

Continue this process along the length of the line you wish to fill. Make sure your stitches are kept under an even tension. Not so loose that they form loops but not so tight that the position of the bar underneath is moved.

Raised stem stitch


Step 6

When you have reached the end of the line, take the needle down through the fabric and finish off your thread.

raised stem stitch


Step 7

Start off a new thread at the beginning of the shape and work your second row in the same way. Remember to keep your thread underneath your needle. All rows should be started at the same end, you can’t work backwards and forwards with this stitch.

raised stem stitch


Step 8

As you build up the rows, one at time, you will find that they sit slightly apart from each other. Don’t worry about this, as you fill the shape the rows will push closer and closer together so that no fabric is visible underneath.

raised stem stitch


Step 9

As you reach the end, it will become difficult to fit more rows in. Keep persevering and put as many rows as you can in. Once you have completed all your rows, it should look something like this. I have alternated the thread colour to give a graduated shaded effect but you could use one single colour if you wish. I have 17 full rows in this example plus 4 part worked rows throughout, these have been added to help taper the shape.

raised stem stitch final


I hope this post has been helpful to those of you wanting to give raised stem stitch a try. If you have any problems or tips that may help someone else, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to see your raised stem stitch and the projects you are using it in.

Happy stitching!


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Farnaz

    Thank you it was very useful for me

  2. Pam

    Very useful, thank you Sara, just what I was looking for.

    1. Sara Rickards

      My pleasure, glad you found it helpful.

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