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Plate application icon
Plate application

​Plate is a thin, flat metal that can have a smooth or textured surface. It can be used flat or over padding (hard or soft string), and may be stitched so that it is folded back on itself. Either no gaps can be left; gaps left unfilled; or gaps left and filled with decorative stitches, beads, or chips of metal.

Plate was evidently in use in the 17th century as it features on the reverse of a pocket book from that date, currently held by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Plate application is generously sponsored by Stephen Wright


Avoid touching the metal thread as much as possible - use tweezers and/or a mellor to manipulate it.

Use a waxed sewing thread which matches the colour of the metal to stitch the plate.

Plate application method stage 1 photograph

Make a loose stitch on the fabric, positioned where you wish to attach the end of the plate.

Plate application method stage 2 photograph

Creating a hook at one end of the plate using a pair of tweezers and hook the end of the metal through the loop.

Plate application method stage 3 photograph

Pull the thread tight so that the plate lies securely against the fabric.

Plate application method stage 4 photograph

Place a second holding stitch over the plate, abutting the other side of the padding.

Plate application method stage 5 photograph

Pull the thread firmly to form a tight stitch.

Plate application method stage 6 photograph

Fold the metal back across the padding at a slight angle, ensuring it covers more of the padding while at the same time overlapping the previously placed plate. Secure it with a holding stitch worked close to the padding, as in step 4.

Plate application method stage 7 photograph

Continue working back and forth across the padding.

Plate application

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Plate application

​Attaching plate over soft string can be identified by the flatness of the metal being used (as opposed to purl which is a rounded metal thread with a hollow core) and by the raised effect that is created by the soft string padding.


  • Helen McCook, RSN Essential Stitch Guides: Goldwork (2012)

Examples of Plate application

Triptych 2, RSN Collection No. 587