clear navigate_before

Closed herringbone stitch icon
Closed herringbone stitch

  • Persian stitch
  • Double back stitch
  • Crossed back stitch
  • Point Croisé stitch
  • Close herringbone stitch
Closed herringbone stitch main image

This stitch is a version of herringbone stitch where the stitches are worked closely together to form a solid line.

The reverse of this stitch forms two parallel lines of back stitch, which is known as double back stitch although some authors don’t clearly distinguish between the two names.  This reversible nature of this stitch means it is often used for straight or curved borders.

Closed herringbone stitch certainly dates as far back as the 16th century as it features on a south German/Swiss ecclesiastical panel from that era.  The Victoria and Albert Museum, London holds English items from the 17th century (a crewel work panel on linen and Margret Mason’s sampler) and Turkish pieces from the 18th century.

Contemporary embroiderers in the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan use closed herringbone stitch for bands and borders to embellish garments.

Closed herringbone stitch is generously sponsored by Mrs Audrey Oliver


Using even-weave fabric helps to work evenly spaced stitches. Or you could mark two parallel guide lines on the plain fabric. Work from left to right.


Use the grain of the fabric or mark two parallel guide lines to create herringbone stitch. Work a diagonal stitch first.


Come up to the left at the same level and go down diagonally at the same level of your starting point. This completes a herringbone stitch.


Go back and bring the needle up close to where you inserted your needle. Make another diagonal stitch close to the first herringbone stitch.


Come up where your previous herringbone stitch went in.


Go down close to the previous herringbone stitch.


Come up where your previous herringbone stitch went in, and then continue in this manner.


Closed herringbone stitch


Closed herringbone stitch on the reverse side creates two parallel lines of back stitches.

Closed herringbone stitch


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.118
  • Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012)
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004) , p.72
  • Sarah Whittle, The Needlecraft Stitch Directory (2012)
  • Anne E. Wardwell. (1980) 'The Holy Kinship: A Sixteen-Century Immaculist Embroidery', The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art pp.285-295. Available at:
  • W.G. Paulson Townsend, Louisa F. Pesel, Walter Crane, Embroidery or the Craft of the Needle (1907) , p.67
  • '1600 sampler, Margret Mason', Victoria and Albert Museum. Available at: (Accessed: 01 February 2022)
  • '1700 Turkish border', Victoria and Albert Museum. Available at: (Accessed: 01 February 2022)
  • '1700s mat', Victoria and Albert Museum. Available at: (Accessed: 01 February 2022)