Learn how to make a fly stitch for your embroidery projects.
Download this Project

Designer: Sue Spargo


  • Perle cotton No. 5 and No. 3 in assorted colors
  • Milliner's needle No. 1
  • Chenille needle No. 24

Fly Stitch

Make fly stitches around edge of the circle appliqué using perle cotton No. 5. With a contrasting color of perle cotton No. 5, stitch a circle of fly stitches in the circle appliqué center with the legs of the Ys touching in the middle.

The fly stitch can be worked from either direction. For our instructions, stitches are worked from right to left.

To make a fly stitch, complete the following steps.

1.    Thread a No. 24 chenille needle with an 18" length of perle cotton. Pull the needle up at A; insert it back into the fabric at B, slightly away and to the right of A (Diagram 1). Holding the thread out of the way with your thumb, bring the needle up again at C, a short distance below and centered between A and B. With the thread under the needle, pull the needle through, forming a V shape.


2.    Insert the needle at D (Diagram 2), forming the center leg of a Y shape, reemerging the needle at A, a stitch length to the left and level with the top of the fly stitch to begin the next Y; pull the needle through.


3.     Continue in same manner (Diagram 3) to stitch around the entire appliqué edge.