How to Do Primitive Stitching

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Things You'll Need

  • Needle
  • Thread or embroidery floss
  • Fabric

Primitive stitching is generally stitching done as if you were drawing a picture on a page. Rather than using a certain stitch to create the image, such as a cross stitch, a primitive stitch makes the letters or pictures free form. This stitch is commonly seen on antique samplers and crafts.

Draw a design on a piece of fabric or follow a pattern.

Trace your pattern onto your fabric using a pencil.

Place your fabric swatch or garment in an embroidery hoop in order to keep it tight and in place.

Thread your needle. Knot your thread twice in the same place so that it doesn't pull through the eye of the needle or the fabric.

Begin your stitch at the back of the fabric and poke the needle up through the fabric pulling the thread firmly until the knot meets the fabric. This should be tight but not so tight that it puckers the fabric or pulls through.

Follow your pattern by using long and short stitches appropriate to your pattern. For example, if you are spelling words, use a long stitch for a "t" and short ones to complete an "e." When you get to curves in your pattern, use short running stitches.

Finish off your stitching with a knot to secure it.


  • Muslin is commonly used for primitive stitching.


About the Author

Michelle Hogan is a writer and the author of 13 books including the 2005 bestselling memoir, "Without a Net: Middle Class and Homeless (With Kids) in America." Hogan studied English at American University and has been writing professionally since 1998. Her work has appeared in "The New York Times," "Redbook," "Family Circle" and many other publications.

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