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Double cross stitch icon
Double cross stitch

  • Star stitch
  • Devil stitch
  • Leviathan stitch
  • Smyrna cross stitch
  • Railway stitch
Double cross stitch main image

This stitch consists of an diagonal cross stitch, with an upright cross stitch of the same size placed directly on top.

Double cross stitch has multiple names, one of which is Railway stitch, which apparently comes from the fact it covers the ground so quickly.  This presumably dates from the 19th century.

Double cross stitch, or Leviathan certainly dates from before this time, as there are early 18th pieces showing it used as a surface embroidery stitch, rather than a canvaswork/counted thread one.  It is referenced as a Hardanger stitch in a 1909 publication by the Priscilla publishing company.

Double cross stitch is generously sponsored by Barbara Reeves Hughes



Bring the needle up at the bottom right corner to work a half cross stitch over four vertical and four horizontal canvas threads.


Bring up the needle at the bottom left corner to complete a cross stitch over four vertical and four horizontal canvas threads.


Then work an upright cross stitch by starting from the bottom centre to the top centre.


Finish up the upright cross stitch by going from left centre to right centre. This completes a double cross stitch.


To continue, bring up the needle to the right (four canvas threads from the bottom right corner of the first double cross stitch).


Repeat working an ordinary cross stitch and then an upright cross stitch.


When the first row is finished, bring the needle up at four canvas threads below the bottom right corner of the last double cross stitch.


Continue working double cross stitch on the second row from right to left, making sure the stitches of each double cross stitch are worked in the same order and direction.


Completed double cross stitch as filling

Double cross stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses


  • S. F. A. Caulfeild, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.181
  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.86
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.63
  • Santina M. Levey, Discovering Embroidery of the 19th Century (1971) , p.9
  • W.G. Paulson Townsend, Louisa F. Pesel, Walter Crane, Embroidery or the Craft of the Needle (1907) , p.198
  • The Priscilla Hardanger book (1909) , p.44