clear navigate_before

Long-armed cross stitch icon
Long-armed cross stitch

  • Long-legged cross stitch
  • Long-arm cross stitch
  • Plaited Slav stitch
  • Slav cross stitch
  • Portuguese stitch
  • twist stitch
  • Persian cross stitch
Long-armed cross stitch main image

This is an asymmetrical cross stitch where long diagonal stitches are worked over twice the number of vertical fabric threads used for the short diagonal stitches.  It can be used as a filling stitch or alternatively as a wide border which accentuates its interwoven appearance.

The earliest evidence of long-armed cross stitch is from 10th-12th century Egypt: the Cooper Hewitt museum in New York has a linen fragment with silk embroidery featuring the stitch.

Later examples include 16th century pieces as demonstrated by the Elizabethan embroideries of Hardwick Hall;  and Icelandic embroideries from the 17th century.  Elsewhere it featured in embroidery from various Greek islands; embroidery from Morocco; Assisi embroidery from Italy and in early 19th century samplers in the United States.

Long-armed cross stitch is generously sponsored by Donna D’Alessandro

Stitch supporters: Lady Elizabeth Sanderson.


Long-armed cross stitch looks effective on canvas or even-weave fabric as the stitches need to be worked evenly.
If desired, the gap at the start of the stitch can be filled with an extra short stitch (at the same angle as the long stitches).


Work from left to right. Start with a long diagonal stitch over eight vertical and four horizontal canvas threads.


Bring the needle up over four canvas threads below.


Cross the long stitch with a shorter diagonal stitch which spans the square of four threads from bottom right to top left.


Come up four threads below.


Make another long diagonal stitch as shown.


Bring up the needle over four threads below.


Make another short diagonal stitch as shown.


Continue until you fill the area or you reach the finishing point.

Long-armed cross stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Related Stitches

Identifying Long-armed cross stitch

Long-armed cross stitch consists of alternating long and short diagonal stitches, each of which crosses the previous stitch to form a woven braid effect.  On the reverse, the thread forms pairs of upright stitches in the same holes.