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Chevron stem stitch icon
Chevron stem stitch

  • Raised zig-zag stem stitch
Chevron stem stitch main image

This stitch consists of several laid threads, over which another thread is stem stitched in a chevron pattern.  The stem stitching is woven across the laid threads and does not pierce the fabric.

This stitch is often used to fill in an open area of the design, such as a leaf, and the finished area can be outlined with a line stitch.

For more information about this stitch see the entry for stem stitch.

The earliest reference to this stitch is in Mrs Christie’s 1921 book Samplers and stitches.  The similarities with a smocking stitch, sometimes called zig-zag stem stitch, suggest that it may have evolved from smocking to surface embroidery.

Chevron stem stitch is generously sponsored by Christine Burnet


In the example below, a different colour is introduced to show the chevron pattern clearly.


Make a foundation of evenly spaced horizontal stitches to fill the design area.


Introduce the second thread by bringing up the needle at the bottom left.


Work stem stitches upwards diagonally using the foundation stitches rather than going through the fabric.


After the third stem stitch, change the direction of the stem stitches so that they are worked diagonally to form an upside-down V-shape.


Continue working stem stitches without going through the fabric.


When the upside-down V-shape has been finished, change the direction of the stem stitches to start a new V-shape.


Continue working stem stitches in a zigzag pattern, as before.


When the zigzag pattern reaches the other side of the design area, take the needle down through the fabric, and finish your thread. 
Start a new thread at the left hand side, one foundation bar above where the first zigzag thread started and work stem stitch in a V-shape as before.  Continue until the V-shapes are finished.

Chevron stem stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.77
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.49
  • Winsome Douglas, Discovering embroidery (1955) , p.126-7