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Double stitch filling

Double stitch filling main image

This pulled stitch consists of offset pairs of straight stitches worked in parallel rows.  The order of work indicates that stitches are worked alternately across two rows: first in one line, then the next and then back to the first line; this creates the open effect.  This stitch is the reverse of window filling which will feature in a future RSN Stitch Bank release.  Visually the stitches form a bricked effect.

Structurally it has similarities with double back stitch, although unlike double back stitch the stitches are worked in a forward direction and so don’t cross each other on the reverse.

This stitch is first documented by Thérèse de Dillmont in her 1886 Encyclopedia of needlework.

Double stitch filling is generously sponsored by Jan Avent


The stitches form pairs of parallel lines, but they are worked by stitching alternate stitches in the lower of one pair of parallel lines and the upper in the next pair.

Some authors suggest that the spacing between the pairs of rows can be increased to four threads from the three shown here.


Bring your needle up at the top right corner of the design area and take it down two threads to the left.


Bring your needle back up three threads down and two threads to the right (this will form the upper row of the next pair of rows).  Pull taut.


Take your needle down five threads to the left and bring it back up on the top row, two threads to the right.  Pull taut.


Continue working full length stitches, alternating between the top and second rows, pulling them taut.  When you reach the end of the design area, fill it with part stitches as needed.


Work the next two rows in the same way.  The third row should be one thread down from the second and mirror the stitch lengths (to form the other row of the pair).  The fourth row should be three threads down and offset from the third row (it is the first row in the next pair).


Continue working rows in this way to fill the area.


A finished area of double stitch filling


The reverse of double stitch filling.

Double stitch filling

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.101–2
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.78–9
  • Thérèse De Dillmont, Encyclopedia of Needlework (1886) , p.508