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, the 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.