Fill Leaves with tHe Open Fill Fly Stitch & Fishbone Stitch
Table of Contents
There are so many ways to embroider leaves so here’s an open fill fly stitch and open fill fishbone stitch variety which exposes more fabric below. The shapes can be outlined or they can be left out so the stitches give the suggestion of the leaves.
These two stitches are easy, perfect for beginners, and to follow along use 4 - 6 strands of thread.
What Does Open-Fill Mean?
When you fill in a shape it can be done using a closed fill or an open fill. A closed fill means your stitches will completely fill in your shape to cover all of the fabric below.
There may be times when you want to see some of the fabric below and that’s what an open fill does. Stitches in an open fill are spaced out to expose some of the fabric underneath.
Open Fill Fly Stitch
Step One: Add a Leaf Tip
Before starting the fly stitch:
- Draw a leaf template with a spine
- Add a straight stitch at the top of the leaf along the spine so your leaf has a point.
Step Two: Add the Fly Stitch
To make this an open fill fly stitch, the tail needs to be long to create more of a ‘Y’ than a ‘V’ shape:
- Create an open loop near the top of the leaf, slightly away from the tip of the leaf. (A to B)
- Come up at the bottom of the straight stitch (C). Needle should come up over the loop.
- Pull needle through. You can tighten your loop so it hugs your needle first if you’d like.
Return to the back along the spine a small distance away from C.
Repeat all the way down the leaf. Add a stem if you’d like.
Open Fill Fishbone Stitch
- Start the same way as it was done with the fly stitch by adding a straight stitch at the top of your leaf, along the spine.
- Come up along the edge of your leaf a small gap away from the leaf tip.
- Then cross over your spine and return to the back slightly lower than your straight stitch.
- Do the same on the other side.
- To keep this an open fill, leave a small gap between each fishbone stitch as you repeat them down your leaf.
- Add a straight stitch to create the stem.
Here’s a comparison of open filled leaves using the fly stitch and the fishbone stitch.
If you want to add an outline (which is optional) around your open fill stitches try adding a simple back stitch.
Use the same steps to create things like arrow quills, pine needles, and fish bones. In these cases, I would probably not consider them a fill stitch since they're not really filling in a space like a circle or square but acting more like lines. In either case, the techniques are basically the same.
I hope you enjoyed this embroidery stitch!