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Petal stitch icon
Petal stitch

  • Pendant chain stitch
Petal stitch main image

This stitch looks like a twisted rope with a detached chain stitch protruding diagonally from each twist (hence it’s alternative name of pendant chain stitch).  The twisted rope has visual similarities with stem stitch but the working method is different.

The stitch can be considered an opposite version of Mountmellick stitch: this stitch is a line stitch with chain stitches jutting out; Mountmellick stitch is a chain stitch with straight stitches jutting out.

The earliest references to petal stitch appear in the early twentieth century.

Petal stitch is generously sponsored by Sheila Darling


The example below shows the petal stitch on a straight line, but you could work in a curved line or in a circle to form the petals of a flower shape.

A similar effect of the petal stitch could be achieved by working stem stitch and then adding detached chain stitches afterwards; this method would be preferable if different colour threads were required for the two elements.


Bring the needle up a short distance from the starting point of the design line and work a back stitch, leaving a loop on the surface.


Bring the needle up halfway along the stitch keeping the loop above the needle.


Pull the thread through and insert the needle where the thread emerged.


Leave a loop on the surface and bring the needle up at an acute angle to the line, inside the loop.


Pull the thread through and anchor the loop with a tiny stitch to form a detached chain stitch.


Bring the needle up further along the line to start the next stitch. Insert it between the previous back stitch and the detached chain stitch, halfway along the back stitch. It looks like a stem stitch.


Bring your needle up halfway along the new back stitch and work another detached chain stitch at an acute angle.


Continue in the same way.

Petal stitch

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Petal stitch

From the reverse this stitch shows short straight stitches along the design line, with longer slanted stitches from the end of the detached chain stitches to the design line.  If it is worked as a stem stitch with detached chain stitches added later, the reverse is likely to be similar and so the only way of distinguishing would be to ascertain if the thread is used continuously.


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.45
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.33