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Honeycomb filling stitch (surface embroidery) icon
Honeycomb filling stitch (surface embroidery)

  • Net passing stitch
  • Brussels net stitch
  • Honeycomb stitch
Honeycomb filling stitch (surface embroidery) main image

This stitch is a hexagonal trellis which is only anchored to the fabric around the edge of the stitched area.  It is formed by laying three sets of parallel stitches across the span of the design area: the first are horizontal, the second diagonal (slanted from top left to bottom right) and the third diagonal (slanted top right to bottom left).  The third set of stitches are woven in and out of the previous two sets of stitches which anchors them all in place and means that couching stitches are not needed.  The lack of couching stitches or other embellishment mean that this stitch is relatively quick to work.

This stitch was evidently in use from the 18th century as is features on various whitework linen waistcoats from that era, normally alongside various pulled thread and surface stitches (see the example at the end of this entry).  It is not documented until the first part of the 20th century.

This stitch is awaiting a sponsor.


When weaving the third set of stitches you may find it easier to lead with the eye of the needle.
To keep the stitches parallel this version counts the threads of the fabric but you could measure and mark appropriate points.


Work a series of parallel stitches back and forth across the design area.  They should be horizontal and evenly spaced.


Work another series of parallel stitches back and forth across the design area: this time they should be slanted from top left to bottom right (and vice versa).


To work the final series of parallel stitches weave your thread from bottom left to top right through the previous stitches. Your thread should lie at a right angle to the previous diagonal stitches. Weave alternately under the horizontal stitches and over the diagonal ones.


A finished area of honeycomb filling stitch.

Honeycomb filling stitch (surface embroidery)

Structure of stitch

A series of parallel interlaced laid stitches which form a trellis across a shape: the first form horizontal rows, the second diagonal rows slanting from top left to bottom right, and the third diagonal rows from bottom left to top right. This creates a shape filled with a pattern of interlocking hexagons and triangles.  Unlike most trellis stitches, this weaves a third series of stitches around the first two sets to hold them in place, rather than using couching stitches.

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying Honeycomb filling stitch (surface embroidery)

This trellis is characterised by the laid threads being in three directions, rather than the standard two.  The third thread is woven in and out of the other threads to secure them and so unlike most trellis stitches, the laid threads are not couched.


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.111
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.123

Examples of Honeycomb filling stitch (surface embroidery)

18th century whitework waistcoat

Honeycomb filling stitch is used to fill the centre of the flower

Cooper Hewitt, accession number: 1962-54-10-a,b