The Outline Stitch and
the Stem Stitch
are commonly used in smocking
for borders or horizontal lines. The needle should be
inserted 1/4 - 1/3 of the way into the pleat, directly
on the stitching line (often a pleating row). Pull the
stitch to the left until the stitch tension matches that
of the other stitches. It is important that the needle
be inserted into the pleat horizontally; the apparent
slant of the stitch comes from the end of one stitch pushing
the center of the previous stitch up a little, not from
any angling of the needle.
This stitch has the advantage over the Cable Stitch in
that it does not bunch the pleats in pairs. However, it
does tend to distort the fabric (stretching your pleated
piece along the diagonal) if pulled too tightly.
Whereas in embroidery, it does not really matter if the
stitch is called Outline or Stem
, SAGA's Stitch Anatomy
guide for its Artisan program, does make the distinction.
If you are smocking your Artisan Sampler, be careful not
to switch the two stitches, or your sampler will not pass.