Oyster Stitch Tutorial

examples of the oyster stitch as leaves, flowers, and design elements

The Oyster Stitch is Just a Fancy Detached Chain Stitch

Table of Contents

    You could create hundreds of embroidery designs using just basic embroidery stitches which are super versatile and fun, but it’s good to get out of your comfort zone once in awhile and try out other embroidery stitches, like the oyster stitch.

    The oyster stitch is a fancy version of the detached chain stitch. If you remember, the chain stitch looks like a chain when you connect all the ‘links’ together, and a detached chain stitch is just a single ‘link’.

    I would consider this cutie an intermediate level stitch. With just a wee bit of practice you’ll have it down in no time! It took me about 5 or 6 tries before my stitch went from wonky to lovely. The key is to take your time.

    What To Do With the Oyster Stitch?

    The oyster stitch has a little twist inside of a loop and my favorite use for it is making flower buds. It gives them texture and feels a bit as if there are petals all bundled together. Group them together to create a flower or space them out to create an open fill shape.

    I’ve also used them to create fun little leaves and open-fills. The texture is what makes this stitch so cute. Try adding it as a unique design element for borders on sewing projects.

    Step One

    I’m going to draw a small vertical guide with points A, B, & C to make this tutorial a bit easier.

    Come up all the way through your fabric at A.

    Then push your needle through B, and come up at C. Don’t pull the needle all the way through. It should sit like this:

    thread coming up at top and needle pinned perpendicular from next to A to C, about a stitch length down.

    Notice that point A is just a tiny bit off to the right.


    Pick up your thread and wrap it under the needle from left to right.

     working thread wrapped under pinned needle.

    Then pull your needle through.

    Tip: I like to use my other hand to control my thread so I don’t accidentally pull too hard which would result in a wonky looking stitch. If you find that your stitches aren’t as pretty as you’d like, try this:

    Gently hold your thread against the fabric with your finger (at the arrow), then pull your needle all the way through to create a lovely little twist.

    You don’t necessarily need to hold the thread down at the arrow, but I found that this keeps the shape much better.

    Step Three

    Push your needle under the top right leg of your loop.

     needle slid under the right leg of stitch.

    This is where it can get a little tricky. To keep your twist from unravelling, gently hold it down at the arrow as you pull your thread and needle through at the top. Be careful not to pull too hard. The loop should be nice and snug, but not too tight.

    thread pulled through at the top of stitch

    Step Four

    Next, let’s wrap the thread around your twist. Push your needle through A and back up at the bottom of your stitch so it looks like this:

    needle pinned from top of stitch to the bottom

    Wrap your thread under the needle from left to right.

    working thread slid under bottom of pinned needle and working stitch

    Hold the thread down at the arrow and carefully pull your needle and thread if you need a little help. Adding a little pressure to the thread as you pull is a good way to control how hard you pull and ensures you don’t overdo it.

    thread pulled through at the bottom of the oyster stitch

    Tie the stitch down by returning to the back at the very bottom of your stitch.

    needle returning to the back at the very bottom of oyster stitch

    examples of the oyster stitch as leaves, flowers, and design elements

    Stitch Video Tutorial

    As always, here’s a video tutorial. Enjoy!

    Back to blog