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Laid work icon
Laid work

  • Surface satin stitch
  • Bayeux stitch
  • False satin stitch
  • Up and down shading
  • Thread saver stitch
Laid work main image

Laid work covers the front of the fabric with long stitches which are stitched in alternate directions, resulting in short stitches on the reverse of the fabric.

One of the main stitches used to fill the Bayeux Tapestry, laid stitch fills areas quickly without using up too much thread.

Laid work is generously sponsored by Ann Low



Bring the needle up on the painted line and take it down directly opposite. Pull the thread down through the hole and bring the needle up directly adjacent. If you think you may struggle to ensure threads lay parallel, start in the centre of the shape.


Take the thread back down directly opposite, adjacent to where you first brought the needle up.


Draw the thread through to create a parallel stitch, then start to work parallel stitches up and down across the shape.


If you wish to shade the area, gently introduce a second colour by laying in a single stitch then returning to the original colour for two stitches. Reverse the sequence (two of the new colour then one of the old), then continue with the new colour.


Complete the laid filling to the edge of the area to be filled before returning to the centre of the shape to work the other side.


Continue in the same direction, adding new colours as you wish and following the sequence in step four to blend them in. Once the shape is filled, secure the thread to finish.


On traditional examples you will find that these long stitches are held down with several couched threads to prevent them from gaping. However you can use any surface stitches to hold the threads in place. The illustration and photograph shows fly, back stitch and lazy daisy.

Laid work

Structure of stitch

Identifying Laid work

Similar to satin stitch, laid stitch can be identified by looking at the reverse of the fabric where short stitches can be seen around the edges of the area worked. Long stitches do not travel across the back of the area worked.


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.129–30
  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.47
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.180
  • Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (Revised Edition) (1989) , p.114

Examples of Laid work

bed jacket, RSN Collection No. 134