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Continental tent stitch icon
Continental tent stitch

  • Tent stitch

This is a form of tent stitch, the simplest and most common stitch in canvaswork and the foundation for many other stitches. Tent stitch is a diagonal stitch, usually worked across a single intersection of canvas from bottom left to top right.

Continental tent stitch is worked in horizontal or vertical rows and makes a diagonal stitch on the back, longer than that on the front. This is a fairly hardwearing stitch.  It uses less thread than basketweave tent stitch, but more than half cross tent stitch

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

Continental tent stitch is generously sponsored by Joan Sibenaler



Working from right to left, make a tent stitch from bottom left to top right and bring the needle up one thread to the left of the bottom corner of the first canvas stitch.


Continue across the row in the same way, making the stitches from bottom left to top right. On the reverse of the canvas make a diagonal stitch across two threads of the canvas.


To work a row from left to right, the order is reversed: i.e. top right to bottom left.

Continental tent stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Continental tent stitch

The back of this work will be dense rows of diagonal stitches, longer than those on the front.


  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.125