Pearl stitch is a looped stitch which, when worked closely together, resembles a string of pearls. It is formed by consecutive loops, each of which are anchored by a short, slanted stitch. There is a similar stitch, pearl stitch (variation) which is more angular. This rounded version of pearl stitch features in Mrs Christie’s 1920 book Samplers and Stitches, whereas the variation doesn’t appear until later publications which suggests that this was the original stitch.
Pearl stitch is a characteristic stitch in Wallachian embroidery, a technique from Wallachia in what is now Romania. Examples of Wallachian embroidery were displayed in the 1851 Great Exhibition in London.
Pass the needle through the loop from right to left without piercing the base fabric.
Take your needle down a little to the left and just above the design line, and repeat these steps for the next stitch.
Structure of stitch
Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.36-37
Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.158