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Darning stitch icon
Darning stitch

  • Tacking stitch
Darning stitch main image

This stitch consists of several parallel rows of a long version of running stitch.  Only a tiny amount of fabric is picked up by each stitch so the thread covers most of the stitched area. Geometric patterns can be built up by varying the arrangement of the stitches. In this example, a simple brick pattern arrangement is formed by offsetting the stitches.

Darning stitch is generously sponsored by Cindy Hallenbeck

Stitch supporters: In memory of Helen Keaton.



Work a long running stitch picking up only a small amount of fabric in between the stitches.


Work the second row in the same way, but arranging the stitches to make a simple brick pattern as shown.


Work the third row in line with the first so that the brick pattern is being built up.


Continue in the same way to fill the area.

Darning stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.72–3
  • Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012)
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004) , p.51
  • Sarah Whittle, The Needlecraft Stitch Directory (2012)