When it comes to embroidery patterns, the possibilities are endless. However, there is one pattern that has been gaining popularity recently - the chicken scratch embroidery pattern. This pattern is not only easy to make, but it also adds a touch of whimsy to any project. In this article, we will explore the history of chicken scratch embroidery, the materials needed to create it, and some fun project ideas to get you started.

The History of Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Chicken scratch embroidery, also known as Amish embroidery or gingham lace, has been around since the late 1800s. It was originally used by Pennsylvanian German farmwives to add a decorative touch to their traditional gingham aprons. The name "chicken scratch" comes from the fact that the pattern resembles the scratch marks made by chickens when they scratch the ground.

Materials Needed for Chicken Scratch Embroidery

The great thing about chicken scratch embroidery is that it requires very few materials. Here is a list of what you will need to get started:

Gingham Fabric:

Gingham fabric is the most commonly used fabric for chicken scratch embroidery. Its checked pattern creates a perfect grid, making it easy to count stitches and create neat rows. You can find gingham fabric in a variety of colors, so you can choose the one that best fits your project.

Embroidery Floss:

Embroidery floss comes in many colors, so you can choose the ones that complement your fabric. You will need at least two colors - one for the cross-stitches, and one for the straight stitches.

Embroidery Needle:

An embroidery needle has a larger eye than a regular sewing needle, making it easier to thread with embroidery floss.

Embroidery Hoop:

An embroidery hoop will keep your fabric taut and prevent it from puckering as you stitch. You can use either a wooden or plastic hoop, depending on your preference.

How to Create Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Now that you have your materials, it's time to start stitching! Here are the basic steps to create chicken scratch embroidery:

Step 1:

Cut your gingham fabric to the desired size, leaving a 1-inch border around the edges.

Step 2:

Place your fabric in the embroidery hoop and tighten the screw to secure it in place.

Step 3:

Using embroidery floss, create straight stitches along the checked lines of your gingham fabric. This will create the foundation for your pattern.

Step 4:

Using a contrasting color of embroidery floss, create cross-stitches in the squares of the gingham fabric. The cross-stitches should go over the straight stitches you created in Step 3.

Step 5:

Continue creating cross-stitches in a pattern of your choice. There are many different chicken scratch embroidery patterns to choose from, so feel free to get creative!

Project Ideas for Chicken Scratch Embroidery

Now that you know how to create chicken scratch embroidery, it's time to put your skills to use! Here are some project ideas to get you started:

1. Embroidered Dish Towels:

Adding chicken scratch embroidery to a set of plain dish towels can instantly make them look more appealing. Choose a color scheme that matches your kitchen and create a simple pattern, such as a row of hearts or stars.

2. Gingham Pillow:

Transform a plain white pillowcase into a charming gingham pillow by adding chicken scratch embroidery to the edges. Choose a bold color to make the pattern pop.

3. Baby Bib:

Create a personalized baby bib by embroidering the baby's name in chicken scratch embroidery. Choose a neutral gingham fabric and a pastel-colored embroidery floss to create a sweet and simple design.


Chicken scratch embroidery is a fun and easy way to create unique and whimsical designs. With its simple materials and techniques, it's a great project for beginners and experienced embroiderers alike. So why not give it a try and see what fun patterns you can come up with!


Image 1: A simple chickens embroidery pattern. You get patterns for a rooster. Retrieved from https://i.pinimg.com/474x/56/31/43/5631438729f53b9e83792bf9f6610abe.jpg

Image 2: Pin on Embroidery stitches. Retrieved from https://i.pinimg.com/736x/4c/83/1c/4c831c883606a312b22ed137322d24f4--free-chicken-scratch-patterns-chicken-scratch-embroidery-patterns.jpg

Image 3: Design your CHICKEN SCRATCH EMBROIDERY Patterns with these 4 stitches. Retrieved from http://sewguide.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/chicken-scratch-embroidery54.jpg

Image 4: Chicken Scratch Embroidery Patterns – FREE PATTERNS. Retrieved from https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/A1CdsoNqSjL.jpg

Image 5: 58 best ideas about Gingham Embroidery on Pinterest | Smocking tutorial. Retrieved from https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/e2/8e/42/e28e42b746f3e4d206c74504467cafca.jpg