Seed Stitch Embroidery (Rice Stitch) Easy Tutorial

Learn how to do seed stitch embroidery. Embroidery stitches have such wonderful, picturesque names. Seed stitch, also known as rice stitch, is very aptly named. This stitch, when completed in a group, looks just as if a farmer had scattered some seed over your embroidery and you have captured the design in colored threads.

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Seed Stitch Embroidery, Rice Stitch

Seed Stitch Embroidery

The wonderful thing about this stitch is it is so simple and not dependent on great precision or accuracy. It is simply little straight stitches placed in different directions over a design in your embroidery.

Whether you choose to be symmetrical or random, the outcome will still be attractive and fill in the desired space. The secret lies in the spaces between the stitches if you are wanting a precise and uniform outcome.

A variation can be achieved by changing the colors of the threads like my sampler.

Seed stitch embroidery can also be used underneath satin stitch to give a raised or padded effect to the design. This is often used underneath leaves and flowers where there are large dense areas.

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Seed Stitch Embroidery with Different Threads

How to Do Seed Stitch Embroidery

Seed stitch is very simple as it is just a small version of straight stitch which is basically a straight up and down style of stitch. It is really easy for beginners.

If you are new to sewing embroidery, read my article on embroidery basics to get started. Like many embroidery stitches, it is easier to sew this stitch using a hoop. These are relatively cheap to purchase and come in bamboo or plastic. You can just use a small one and move it as you embroider the different areas of your item.

Start by transferring the outline of your design to the fabric. I am using a leaf design to fill with the seed stitch. An easy way to transfer embroidery designs on to fabric is to print the design on your printer and then tape it to a window.

Hold the fabric over the paper and the light will let you see the design underneath. Trace over the outline with chalk or a removable pen. It is important that the markings can be removed, especially if you are not going to use an outline stitch.

Step 1: Insert Needle

Come up from underneath the fabric at the top of the design. Although this design is random it is easiest to start at the top so your threads underneath are not crossing over too much.

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Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 1

Step 2: Needle Back Down

Put the needle down a short distance from (1) at (2). This can be any distance but usually, ⅛ to ¼ inch looks best.

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Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 2
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Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 2 Completed

Step 3: Repeat

Come up again and repeat with the stitch facing a random direction. If you find it hard to keep thinking about the directions, mark the little stitches.

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Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 3

Here I alternated with 4 different colors. I think it looks a little like the hundreds and thousands on top of a cake.

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Seed Stitch Embroidery

Seed Stitch Embroidery TIPS

  1. MARKING – Drawing the outline with a disappearing pen helps to contain the stitches.
  2. DIRECTION OF STITCHING – The seeds are best begun at the top of the design and worked down to the end.
  3. RANDOM VS CONTROLLED – If you prefer something more controlled, look at how strawberry seeds are placed on the fruit. They look like little downward seed stitches placed carefully on the strawberry.

How to Sew Double Seed Stitch Embroidery

If you need a heavier look, you can sew double seed stitch embroidery.

Step 1: First Stitch

This is the same as a single seed stitch. Bring the needle up from underneath at (1) and put it down at (2).

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Double Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 1

Step 2: Insert at Same Point

Bring the needle up next to point (1) at (3) and then down next to point (2) at (4).

This gives the effect of two grains of rice sitting next to each other.

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Double Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 2
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Double Seed Stitch Embroidery – Step 2 Completed

Step 3: Repeat

Continue in the same random fashion.

Single Vs Double Seed Stitch Embroidery

See the difference between a single and double seed stitch. The single stitch looks neater and the double is better if you are using the seed stitch embroidery as the padding underneath satin stitching. Of course, this is just personal preference – you might like the look of the double stitch for your project.

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Single Vs Double Seed Stitch Embroidery

Sewing seeds or scattering grains of rice, this stitch is a perfectly simple way to fill in or add a bit of zest to any design. Seed stitch embroidery will have you sewing seeds not sowing them!!

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Seed Stitch Embroidery

Learn how to do seed stitch embroidery as a great filler or to add padding under other stitches.


Difficulty: Easy Beginner

Keyword: Embroidery and Hand Sewing


  • Embroidery Needle

  • Embroidery Hoop

  • Scissors

More Embroidery Articles

  1. Backstitch
  2. Blanket Stitch
  3. Bullion Knots
  4. Buttonhole Stitch
  5. Chain Stitch
  6. Chevron Stitch
  7. Couching Embroidery Tutorial
  8. Cross Stitch
  9. Double Herringbone Stitch
  10. Embroidery Basics
  11. Embroidery Flowers
  12. Embroidery Leaves
  13. Embroidery Letters
  14. Embroidery Roses
  15. Embroidery Tools
  16. Fagoting Embroidery
  17. Feather Stitch
  18. Fern Stitch
  19. Fishbone Stitch
  20. Fly Stitch
  21. French Knots
  22. Hand Embroidery Stitches
  23. Herringbone Stitch
  24. Lazy Daisy
  25. Long and Short Stitch
  26. Outline Stitch
  27. Running Stitch
  28. Sashiko Embroidery
  29. Satin Stitch
  30. Seed Stitch Embroidery (Rice Stitch)
  31. Split Stitch
  32. Steam Stitch
  33. Straight Stitch Embroidery
  34. Web Stitch | Embroidery Tutorial
  35. Whip Stitch
  36. Whipped Backstitch

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