This geometric canvaswork stitch looks like square boxes viewed from an angle to give a 3D impression, hence the name ‘perspective’. It consists of groups of slanted stitches in a herringbone pattern, overlaid with similar stitches worked in the opposite direction.
For a stitch with a smaller ‘box’, see perspective stitch variation.
Perspective stitch evidently dates from at least the mid 19th century as a larger version of it features in The illuminated book of needlework, published in London in the 1840s.
Make a diagonal stitch across two intersections of canvas, from bottom left to top right. Make two more in the same way directly underneath the first.
To the right of these, make three diagonal stitches that angle from bottom right to top left which meet the first three. Repeat these two steps working across the shape creating touching chevrons.
Using another shade of thread, make a diagonal stitch across two intersections of canvas, from bottom right to top left. The top of the stitch should share a hole with the bottom of the first stitch of the previous row. Repeat with two more stitches, each sharing a hole with a stitch of the previous set of three.
To the right of these, make three diagonal stitches that angle from bottom left to top right to meet the first three. Repeat across the shape creating touching chevrons in the opposite direction from above.
Reverting to the first shade of thread, make a diagonal stitch across two intersections of canvas, from bottom left to top right. The stitch direction is the same as in the previous row, but the colour is different.
Continue across the shape creating touching chevrons in the same direction as above.
Structure of stitch
Identifying Perspective stitch
This stitch consists of rows of three-stripe chevrons pointing up (∧), overlaid with other three-stripe chevrons of a different colour pointing down (V), to form 3D box shapes. The stripes alternate in colour, but after the first row the direction changes every second row. Chevrons of both colours are of equal width.
Mary Thomas, Jan Eaton, Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (Revised Edition) (1989) , p.156
Florence Hartley, The ladies’ handbook of fancy and ornamental work (1860) , p.89
Mrs Henry Owen, The illuminated book of needlework (1847) , p.103