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Chipping icon

  • Bright check
  • Goldwork chips

Chipping is the use of short lengths of hollow metal thread which stitched down like beads.  The placement of the chips at different angles makes them reflect the light and gives a glittery appearance.

Chipping is generously sponsored by Margaret Cresswell


Use wax to smooth the sewing thread which will help to avoid the metal thread catching on the sewing thread.
Use a double thread as it should not be visible.

Use a velvet board when cutting the chips to stop them bouncing away.
Handle the metal thread as little as possible as handling can cause it to tarnish.

Chipping method stage 1 photograph

Cut a good number of small chips from a length of metal thread, they should be as long as they are wide.

This example shows bright check.

Chipping method stage 2 photograph

Use a length of machine sewing thread, waxed and folded double.  Bring the needle through to the front of the fabric from underneath, thread a chip onto the needle and gently manoeuvre it to the base of the thread.

Chipping method stage 3 photograph

Take your needle through the fabric, and stitch the purl in place.  Your stitch length should be long enough to allow the chip to lie flat without arching up but not too long so that the thread is visible at the end of the chip.

Chipping method stage 4 photograph

Use the tip of a mellor or laying tool to help direct the sewing thread into position and avoid catching the sharp end of surrounding chips

Chipping method stage 5 photograph

Continue to fill the shape with chips by varying the angle and stitching them close to one another so that no padding is visible.


Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012)
  • Helen McCook, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Goldwork (2012)

Examples of Chipping

Triptych 2, RSN Collection No. 587

Triptych 2, RSN Collection No. 587