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Fly stitch icon
Fly stitch

  • Open loop stitch
  • Y-stitch
Fly stitch main image

​Fly stitch consists of a straight stitch pulled down into a ‘V’ shape by an anchoring stitch.  Elongating the anchoring stitch transforms the stitch into a ‘Y’ shape.

For a solid line version of this stitch, see closed fly stitch.

Fly stitch is cited as one of the range of historic stitches used by May Morris and the other embroiderers employed by Morris and Co, the iconic Arts and Crafts company.

Fly stitch is generously sponsored by Linda Carswell



Bring the needle and thread up and down through the fabric, a short distance apart.


Leaving a loop on the surface, bring the needle up inside the loop, between its two ends.


Pull the slack through to tighten the loop against the needle.


Pull the thread to the surface and take the needle down the other side to secure the loop.


Pull through to complete the stitch, then secure. 
Try varying the length of the stitches and the angle of the ‘V’ to achieve different looks.

Fly stitch

Structure of stitch


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.101
  • Jacqui McDonald, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Crewelwork (2010)
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004)
  • Ellen L. Ramsay. (2018) 'Review: May Morris: Arts and Crafts Designer', Labour / Le Travail pp.290-2. Available at: