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French stitch

This stitch is formed of pairs of vertical stitches, each of which are centrally anchored with a small couching stitch.  French stitch is normally worked as repeating pattern to fill an area.

French stitch is generously sponsored by Caroline de Guitaut


​This is a small, delicate and flat stitch that will fit into a small area.
Note that French stitch can be quite slow to work.​


Make a vertical stitch across four threads of canvas, but do not pull it too tight.


Bring the needle up to the left of the stitch, two threads down and one across. Make a horizontal stitch across one thread of the canvas, anchoring the long stitch to the left.


Make a second vertical stitch in the same holes as the first. This time make a small stitch anchoring it to the right.


Work a row of these stitches, beginning the stitch two canvas threads across each time. For the second row, begin the vertical in the same canvas hole as the small horizontal stitches of the row above.


The pairs of stitches should fit into the spaces left by the previous row.

French stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying French stitch

This stitch is worked across four threads of canvas by two.


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.105
  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.109