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Bosnia stitch icon
Bosnia stitch

  • Bosnian stitch
  • Zigzag Holbein stitch
  • Yugoslav border stitch
Bosnia stitch main image

This surface stitch consists of zigzag straight stitches which form a horizontal sawtooth pattern, either as a line or to fill an area.  A row of vertical stitches are worked first, and then the diagonal ones fill in the gaps on the return journey.  The diagonal stitches are slanted so that they resemble a forward slash on a keyboard (/////).

The stitch is the mirror-image of fence stitch; when worked in one or two lines, rather than to fill an area both versions are also known as Yugoslav border stitch and zigzag Holbein stitch.

Bosnia stitch has similarities with triangular Turkish stitch (scheduled for a future RSN Stitch Bank release) which is worked on the diagonal .

DMC in their publication Yugoslavian embroideries (attributed to Thérèse de Dillmont, but published in 1972, more than 80 years after her death) indicates that Bosnia stitch can be worked as a horizontal or vertical filling stitch and some examples use both directions in a single motif.

This stitch is awaiting a sponsor.


Authors differ in whether they stitch the uprights from left-to-right or right-to-left, the important thing is that the diagonal stitches slope in the correct direction.
NOTE: If you use a flip view, it will show fence stitch as it is a mirror image of Bosnia stitch.


Work Bosnia stitch in two journeys. Starting from the right, work a row of upright straight stiches from bottom to top.


Then work a return journey in the opposite direction, creating slanting stitches to join the upright straight stitches.


Two journeys complete Bosnia stitch.


Continue with the rows directly underneath to fill the shape or form a deep border.

Bosnia stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying Bosnia stitch

On Yugoslavian embroideries, rows of Bosnia stitch are sometimes interlaced with a second thread colour. Red thread is commonly used for Bosnia stitch, blue for the interlacing. The background fabric is normally white. (Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, 1989, p.83)


  • Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (Revised Edition) (1989) , p.83
  • Mary Gostelow, Embroidery: traditional designs, techniques, and patterns from all over the world (1983) , p.125