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Elizabethan Gobelin stitch icon
Elizabethan Gobelin stitch

Elizabethan Gobelin stitch main image

On the surface of the fabric, Elizabethan Gobelin stitch appears the same as the modern equivalent: it is a slanted stitch which spans one vertical and two horizontal (1:2) linen threads. However, an important difference can be seen on the reverse of the fabric: the stitches on the back lie parallel to the linen weave, rather than forming a longer slanting diagonal.  (It is a similar principle to the differences between half cross tent stitch and continental tent stitch.)

This difference in structure means the stitch uses less thread which is not unusual in historic work; it can save around a fifth of the thread needed to cover the fabric compared with the modern equivalent.

We are indebted to Jacqui Carey for her work in identifying this stitch in extant Elizabethan pieces, and diligent documenting of the working method.  See the References sections for details of her books which describe this and many other Elizabethan stitches.  N.B. the names used are descriptive names assigned by Jacqui Carey as historic records do not give us the names by which they were known.

Elizabethan Gobelin stitch is generously sponsored by Rosalind Grant Robertson for my paternal grandmother, Rhoda Mabel Hope Peacock neé Pochin



Working from the base up, complete a diagonal stitch from bottom right to top left (across 2 and up 1 thread of the canvas)


Repeat the stitch in the holes directly above, notice the horizontal stitch on the reverse, saving thread.
Continue upward to complete the first column.


Work back down the adjacent column with stitches oriented top left to bottom right (across two and down 1 canvas threads)


Continue to complete the second column, the reverse should still show horizontal stitches.


To work back up the next row, bring the needle up two threads to the right.


Continue to complete the area to be filled.

Elizabethan Gobelin stitch method stage 7 photograph

A photo showing the reverse of the pattern.

Elizabethan Gobelin stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying Elizabethan Gobelin stitch

The Elizabethan version stitch can be easily identified from the reverse.


  • Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.30