Fill Stitch

What it is

Fill Stitch Bear Fill stitch is used to fill big areas with a color.

Fill stitch detail


Ink/Stitch offers two methods to create fill stitches: Auto-Fill and Manual Fill. For most purposes Auto-Fill will be your prefered method.

Info: Auto-Fill will break the shape up into sections that it can embroider at once using back-and-forth rows of stitches. It then adds straight-stitching between sections until it’s filled in the entire design. The staggered pattern of stitches is continued seamlessly between sections, so the end result doesn’t appear to have any breaks. When moving from one section to the next, it generates running stitching along the border of the shape. Manual Fill will require you to break up shapes manually.


How to Create

To use Auto-Fill, create a closed path with a fill color. This algorithm works for complex shapes with or without holes.

Here are a few examples.

Fill stitch path examination

You might get the impression that there is no difference between wrong and correct objects and you are right: modifications necessary to make it work in Ink/Stitch are sometimes not visible at all. Click on the image to download the SVG file, then you can see the actual difference.

  1. Object is too small
    • Choose an other stitch type (f.e. running stitch or satin stitch).
    • Make your shape a little bit bigger.
    • When you trace your design from an image automatically (Path > Trace Bitmap), you will sometimes find small artifacts in your SVG file. Go through the objects panel (Objects > Objects ...) to find them. The error message will give you the objects name.
  2. No embroiderable path
    Convert your shape into a path through Path > Object to path (Ctrl Shift C). Shapes with holes are possible.

  3. Nodes are too close / onto each other
    In node editor mode, break your path apart and connect open ends the other way around. Node editor path tools

  4. Path is overlapping
    Use Path > Union (Ctrl +) and then Path > Break apart (Ctrl Shift K) to receive two individual objects.

  5. Path consists of two not connected shapes
    Run Path > Break apart (Ctrl Shift K) to receive two individual objects.

Info: If you are having issues with fill areas run the “fill repair tool” on them. This will solve most of your issues very easily.

Set Start and End Point

Set start and end points for autofill objects with Visual commands.


Run Extensions > Ink/Stitch > Params to tweak the settings to your needs.

Read detailed information in the Fill Params section.


If stitch one layer of stitches as a fill individual stitches tend to sink into the fabric (even if it’s thin) and the fill will appear sparse. The fabric may even stick up between rows.

To solve this, you need underlay. This is an initial layer of stitches that hold up the final stitches. Underlay for fill stitch usually comprises of fill stitching 90 degrees offset from the final fill (called “top stitching”). The row spacing should be much wider than in the top stitching. The goal is to flatten out the fabric and give the top stitches “rails” to sit on.

Underlay is enabled in Ink/Stitch by default. In some rare cases (e.g. a fill layer with big row spacing) you will want to disable it. Uncheck the checkbox “Underlay” in the AutoFill Underlay tab in your params dialogue window. Other cases will require multiple underlay. To enable, enter a comma separated list of fill angles and it will result into multiple underlay layers.

In Params, you’ll see an underlay tab next to the AutoFill tab. Enable it by checking the box.

Samples Files Including Fill Stitches


Applique example file

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Color Blending

Color Blending Methods

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Fringe example file

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Ink/Stitch Logo & Branding Guide

Ink/Stitch logo as SVG file, digitized version and branding guide.

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Manual Fill is the old mode before automatic fill routing was implemented. In some cases, AutoFill may not be an option, such as when the running stitches between sections are not acceptable for your design. Usually, fill region edges are covered over by satin, but not always.

In manual fill, the extension will still break up the shape into sections, each of which can be embroidered in one go. Then these sections will be fill-stitched one at a time, jumping directly between sections.

You’ll almost certainly want to break your shape up into smaller shapes and connect them using running stitches. It’s a painstaking process, made more so because you’ll need to do it twice: once for the underlay and again for the top stitching.

Run Extensions > Ink/Stitch > Params to alter stitch details. Read more