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Pearl Stitch

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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.

Pearl Stitch is generously sponsored by Mildred A. Davis-Reitman


The example below is worked with the ‘pearls’ spaced apart in order to show the process clearly. This stitch could be worked on a curved line as well.


Bring the needle up at the right hand end of the design line.


Take the needle down a little to the left and just above the design line.


Leave a loop and bring the needle up immediately below, on the design line.


Pass the needle through the loop from right to left without piercing the base fabric.


Pull the thread through and you will see the first pearl stitch.


Take your needle down a little to the left and just above the design line, and repeat these steps for the next stitch.


Continue working pearl stitch as required.

Pearl Stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.36-37
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.158