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Elizabethan Ladder braid stitch icon
Elizabethan Ladder braid stitch

Elizabethan Ladder braid stitch main image

This braid stitch is formed by working parallel stitches across the width of the braid, around which the same thread is twisted and then looped.

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 Ladder braid stitch is generously sponsored by Rosalind Grant Robertson for maternal Aunt Eileen Higgs


Draw or visualise two parallel lines.  This braid is worked from bottom to top.


Bring your thread up at the bottom of the left hand design line and take it down slightly ahead on the right hand guideline.


Bring your thread back up on the left hand guideline, level with where it was taken down.


Slide your needle under the straight stitch, from bottom to top.


Pull through so both the stitch and the working thread form a twist.


Insert your needle through the fabric on the right hand guideline, a little below the stitch (and fractionally ahead of where the braid starts).


Bring your needle back up just outside the left hand guideline, and just ahead of where the braid starts.


Take your needle down on the right hand guideline, a short distance ahead of the first stitch.


Bring your needle back up on the left hand guideline level with where it went down, and then slide your needle under the stitch from bottom to top.  Pull taut to create the twist.


Count back two entry points on the right hand side.  Working from right to left, slide your needle horizontally under all three threads and pull through.


Continue working steps 7-9.


To finish, take your thread down on the left hand guideline, just ahead of the previous stitch.


The reverse of Elizabethan ladder braid stitch.

Elizabethan Ladder braid stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Elizabethan Ladder braid stitch

This stitch can be identified by the two twisted threads which span the width of the braid.  There is also a more hidden thread which is parallel to the twist and lies flat against the fabric.
Like most Elizabethan braid stitches, the reverse of this stitch shows parallel horizontal stitches.


  • Jacqui Carey, Elizabethan Stitches - a guide to historic English needlework (2012) , p.64