Fishbone Stitch is a lovely way to fill in areas of fabric, especially for leaves or petals. You are basically splitting the shape down the middle with a spine, then doing alternative stitches in a diagonal effect.
I use this technique in nearly all of my patterns, because I just love stitching anything that's floral, leafy or botanical. Petals and leaves just look so stunning worked in Fishbone Stitch!
The way I’m teaching this stitch isn’t quite the traditional way (see below) butI’ve found this way works well so I’m embracing it for modern embroidery!
Bring your needle up from the back of the fabric at the far tip of the shape. Now do a short, straight stitch down the spine.
Now bring your needle up again, just to the left of your stitch at the top.
Bring your needle back down again on the centerline, just below the bottom of the first stitch.
Bring your needle up again at the top, but this time on the right side of the top stitch. And once again poke it down on the centre line, underneath the last stitch.
Keep doing this on alternate sides to fill your shape.
Tips for fishbone stitch:
Just like with satin stitch, if you can keep your stitches quite close together, it will create a lovely smooth, and tidy look. You definitely don't have to be a perfectionist though!
You can sew this technique, by scooping the fabric with each stitch. I think if you have lots of practice this would be a quicker way to do it. But personally, I find the stabbing technique is easier and more accurate, especially for modern embroidery beginners!
Note: As mentioned earlier, this stitch is traditionally done by crossing over the bottom stitches where they meet the spine, which means the stitches are all covering each other with quite a lovely effect. You are more than welcome to try this! I just found it easier to keep working my way down the spine in a straight line, and thought you might too.
Yay, I am so happy that you now know how to Fishbone Stitch, and use it in some many patterns! This stitch can be a little bit time consuming, but gosh it's worth the effort.
So there you have it, all my top tips and knowledge you need to understand how to do Fishbone Stitch. Woo-hoo, go you!
Examples of Fishbone Stitch in my patterns
I bet you are dying to try this stitch in your next pattern, so let's look at where it features in some of my designs!
First up is my Festive Alphabet pattern, one of my all time my popular projects. See the little clusters of holly? Don't they look so lovely worked in Fishbone Stitch?
Another example is my Happy Designs for Clothing pattern. See how these beautiful fronds are worked in Fishbone Stitch? It's so fun to use this technique on clothing! Just be sure not to pull your stitches too tight.
Last up is the Fishbone Stitch featured in my Hanging Planter pattern. This pattern really is the perfect chance to practice this technique, as it spills out of this cool hanging pot plant.
This course takes you through all the beginner techniques and knowledge you need to make your first beginner pattern, Little Wildflower Meadow! Plus, it includes a beautiful second pattern, Blooming Lovely, which is a fantastic place to practice your newfound skills.
I would totally recommend this course, as it covers more stitch techniques than this blog, and you can also do it at your own place. Plus, this is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your own me-time and continue on your path to becoming a modern embroidery superstar.