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Eyelet stitch icon
Eyelet stitch

  • Eyelet stitch filling
  • Eyelet filling stitch
  • Radio punch work
Eyelet stitch main image

​This stitch consists of multiple eyelets which join together to form a filling. Each eyelet has twelve pairs of stitches worked into its centre and is edged with twelve pairs of back stitches.  The tension on the stitches forms a hole in the centre and smaller holes perforating the edges. According to Mrs Christie, this eyelet stitch is used for working closely over a background in whitework embroidery.

The stitch uses tension to pull the threads apart, but it isn’t considered a pulled thread stitch as it doesn’t rely on counting the threads in the ground fabric.  The alternative name radio punch work is presumably a corruption of radial (referring to the spokes) and punch work is a term for embroidery where the ground fabric threads have been pulled apart.

Eyelet stitch presumably has its roots in traditional eyelets such round eyelet.  It is first recorded in the early 20th century.

Eyelet stitch is generously sponsored by Take a Stitch 2 Durham (formerly Durham City branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild)


Each stitch should be pulled taut so that the finished eyelet will have twelve small perforations round the circumference and a larger hole in the centre of the circle. 
This stitch needs a fine fabric, but with a slight open weave to allow the perforations to show.
When you bring your needle up, try and avoid splitting the weave of the fabric.


Draw a circle on the fabric and bring a needle up at any point on the circumference.


Take your needle down on the circumference: the length of the stitch should be the distance between two numbers on a clock face, i.e. approximately 30 degrees.  Work another back stitch on top of this one, pulling your stitches taut.
Then come up in the initial hole and go down in the centre of the circle.


Bring the needle up in the previous hole on the circumference and go down again in the centre, pulling your stitches taut.  This should result in two stitches between the circumference and the centre of the circle.


To continue, bring the needle up on the circumference, a stitch length from the starting point (the distance between two numbers on a clock face). Continue as before with the pairs of back stitches, making sure each stitch is pulled taut.


One completed circle with twelve pairs of stitches worked into its centre, edged with twelve pairs of back stitches.


The second circle is joined onto the first one by sharing one of the twelve pairs of back stitches on the circumference.
Bringing your needle up in one of the holes on the circumference of the previous circle, work two stitches between the centre of the second circle and the circumference and two back stitches on the circumference.


Continue in the same manner around the second circle. Move onto the next circle and repeat until you fill the required areas.

Eyelet stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.106–7
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.86

Examples of Eyelet stitch