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Block shading icon
Block shading

Block shading main image

This stitch consists of rows of encroaching stitches which are worked to produce defined bands of shade or colour.

A bold filling stitch that is equally suitable for large and small areas.

Block shading is generously sponsored by Lynne Clumpus



Using a pencil, divide the space into the number of bands required. Work a split stitch outline.


Starting in the centre of the shape, work the first satin stitch band of colour over the split stitch outline. The depth of the satin stitch should be one third deeper in height than you wish to be seen.


Complete the shape by working the opposite side with satin stitch.


Using another colour or shade, work another row. Start each stitch at the bottom and take the needle down splitting the stitches above, covering one third of the band above.


Repeat for as many rows as you like, the final band should be shorter so that all bands of colour now look equal and parallel.

Block shading

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Block shading

​Similar in technique to long and short stitch and satin stitch, block shading stitch is instead rows of satin stitch worked in line so each stitch is next to the other, encroaching at a similar depth into the first row of satin stitch, and in the same direction as the first row.


  • Jacqui McDonald, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Crewelwork (2010)