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Fancy buttonhole filling stitch icon
Fancy buttonhole filling stitch

  • Detached up-and-down buttonhole filling
  • Buttonhole filling
  • Ardenza point
Fancy buttonhole filling stitch main image

This needlelace stitch consists of pairs of detached buttonhole stitches, the first of each pair is worked in the normal way and its companion is worked upside down.  This creates two parallel vertical stitches anchored by the same horizontal loop.  The stitch is worked in offset rows to create an open filling.

Also see Elizabethan lark’s head ladder stitch for the Elizabethan version of this stitch.

Fancy buttonhole filling stitch is generously sponsored by Kathie Renard


Outline the shape which you wish to fill with a cordonnet (this is a firmly stitched couched outline) or an line of chain, double-running or back stitch.  In this example, each pair of fancy buttonhole filling stitches fits into one stitch of the cordonnet (the stitches at the start and the end of the top edge are slightly narrower than the other stitches).


Bring your needle up just outside the left side of your cordonnet, a short distance from the top.  Work a detached buttonhole stitch by sliding your needle under the top edge of the cordonnet from top to bottom and then over the working thread.


Work a mirror-image detached buttonhole stitch: take your needle under the top edge, this time from bottom to top, and over the working thread.  Pull taut.


Repeat these two stitches along the cordonnet, leaving sufficient space between each pair to fit another pair of stitches in the next row.


At the end of the row, slide your needle under the side of the cordonnet ready to work the next row.


Work another pair of stitches in the opposite direction from before.  These should fit into the gap between the previous stitch and the end of the row.


Continue working pairs of stitches in this way.  Each row of the stitches should be offset from the previous row.


For the final row, work your first stitch under the bottom edge of the cordonnet before going over the working thread.


For the second stitch, take your needle under the cordonnet before working the stitch as usual.  Continue in this way to complete the final row.


To finish, take your needle under the edge of the cordonnet and through the fabric.

Fancy buttonhole filling stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.112
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.18–9