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Moorish stitch

  • Moorish diagonal stitch

This is a canvaswork filling stitching consisting of diagonal bands of Scotch stitch, interspersed bands of with tent stitch.

Moorish stitch was evidently in use in the early 18th century, as it is employed as the background stitch on a Chinoiserie panel from France from this date.

Moorish stitch is generously sponsored by Margaret Broadhurst


Try working rows of cashmere stitch instead of Scotch stitch for the interlocking squares. Intersperse the rows with tent stitch as described above.


To begin, a row of interlocking squares is worked. Make a tent stitch across one intersection of the canvas,  then below it make successive stitches across two, three, two then one intersection again.


Repeat these stitches to produce a diagonal pattern of interlocking squares across the area being worked.


Adjacent to the squares, work a row of tent stitches following the step of the squares. These should be three tent stitches up and three tent stitches across.


Next, work back down the other side of the tent stitches, fitting the square pattern into the spaces left by the tent stitch.


Repeat these two rows to continue the pattern.

Moorish stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

This stitch is worked in diagonal rows and is very similar to Scotch stitch.
This slightly more textured version of Scotch stitch. It is good for backgrounds and filling areas quite quickly. The pattern gives a nice diagonal stripe.

Embroidery Techniques


  • Rachel Doyle, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Canvaswork (2013) , p.71
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.150