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Elizabethan half stitch icon
Elizabethan half stitch

Elizabethan half stitch main image

This stitch is the Elizabethan version of tent stitch.  It is worked over two intersections so the coverage is quite sparse, and when used to fill an area it is worked in vertical columns.

See Elizabethan trammed half stitch for a trammed version.

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 half stitch is generously sponsored by Rosalind Grant Robertson for my maternal aunt, Margaret Higgs



Bring your needle up and take it down over two intersections, slanting from bottom left to top right.


Bring your needle up two threads to the left and repeat to fill the first column.  Note that the stitch on the reverse is a short horizontal stitch.


Work back down the adjacent column, this time working each stitch from top right to bottom left to retain the short horizontal stitch on the reverse.


Continue working columns of stitches.


The reverse of Elizabethan half stitch.

Elizabethan half stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying Elizabethan half stitch

This stitch is a diagonal stitch over two intersections of the ground fabric.  The reverse of the fabric will show lines of short, parallel stitches.


  • Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.34