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Herringbone stitch icon
Herringbone stitch

  • Plaited stitch
  • Catch stitch
  • Russian cross stitch
  • Russian stitch
  • Barred witch stitch
  • Witch stitch
  • Mossoul stitch
  • Point croise
  • Cat stitch
Herringbone stitch main image

​This stitch consists of a two rows of slanted, parallel stitches which cross each other near their ends.

The reverse of the stitch produces two parallel rows of what looks like running stitch.  Also see the entry for closed herringbone stitch which produces two parallel rows of backstitch on the reverse.  These reversible traits mean these stitches lend themselves well to shadow work.

Herringbone is much in evidence from the Elizabethan era through to the Jacobean where it was frequently used in curling foliage stems.

Across the world, it is used in Assisi embroidery, a counted thread technique from Italy; in Chefchaouen embroidery from Morocco; in Telli a metal thread embroidery from Egypt, Lebanon and Syria; by the Bedouin of Jordan, Syria, Palestine Israel, and women in the oases of western Egypt; in Rabari embroidery from northwest India and in Kashmir embroidery from Pakistan.

Herringbone stitch is generously sponsored by Karen Brabbins for Ursina Evans



Draw two parallel design lines.

Bring the needle up at the left edge of the bottom design line, and take it down on the opposite line to create a diagonal stitch.


Bring the needle up a little way behind where you took it down, staying on the design line.


Take the needle diagonally across the initial stitch, as shown, then down.  Your stitch should be a similar length to your first diagonal stitch.


Pull the thread through, then bring the needle up behind where you took it down. Form another diagonal stitch, as before.


Continue in this way until the shape is filled.

Herringbone stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Traditionally used to secure one fabric to another, if stitched evenly and neatly this stitch can provide an attractive embroidery border of filling stitch.

Identifying Herringbone stitch

​Horizontal and vertical rows of stitches that run diagonally over each other, crossing each other near to the end of each stitch.