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Fan stitch icon
Fan stitch

  • Ray stitch
Fan stitch main image

This stitch consists of seven stitches radiating out from a central point across a quarter circle.  The stitches are graduated in length so that they form a fan shape and are normally worked as a filling stitch.

Fan stitch is generously sponsored by Northwest Sampler Guild, U.S.



Begin with a vertical straight stitch across three threads of canvas, working from bottom to top.


Bring the needle out one thread across from the bottom of this stitch and take it into the same hole at the top.


Repeat this ‘fanning’ around the square using seven stitches in total. Each time taking the needle down into the same hole.


The pattern can be worked in vertical or horizontal bands. Make sure the seven stitches are always worked in the same order. (i.e. the fan always follows the same direction).

Fan stitch method stage 5 illustration
Fan stitch method stage 5 photograph

You might like to try alternating the direction of the fan for each row, or alternating each fan within a row.

Fan stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

​This is a fairly smooth small stitch. it is quite slow to work, but you can give direction to an area by angling the fan in the appropriate direction.

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Fan stitch

​This square stitch is worked across three by three canvas threads and is made up of seven stitches.


  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.106