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Rope stitch (variation) icon
Rope stitch (variation)

Rope stitch (variation) main image

This stitch resembles a slanted satin stitch where one edge of the stitch is raised from the surface of the fabric by forming a small loop..

There is a different stitch also called rope stitch which more closely resembles a twisted rope.

The stitch seems to have evolved from twisted chain stitch: the RSN’s 1880 Handbook of Embroidery by Letitia Higgin shows a version listed under both names.  This is an elongated version of twisted chain stitch where the needle is taken down half way along the length of the previous stitch, and slid underneath the loop so the stitches overlap.  By 1885, Higgin shows a more contracted version (again using both names) which is very similar to the modern twisted chain stitch, and by 1898 Corticelli Home Needlework is only using the name rope stitch and the stitches have contracted still further so that they overlap in the same way our modern version of this stitch does.

Rope stitch (variation) is generously sponsored by The Reverend Canon W Richard Hamlin PhD


The stitches should be parallel which means that (in order to compensate for the width of the loops on the top edge) when the needle is taken down on the lower edge it needs to be slightly wider apart than it would be for satin stitch.


Draw a wide guideline.  Bring your needle up on the top edge of the guideline, a short distance from the left end.


Take your needle down on the bottom edge of the guideline, at the left end.


Bring your needle back up on the top edge, just to the right of the previous stitch.


Loop the thread around the needle in an anti-clockwise direction and pull your thread taut against the needle.


Pull the needle through.


Take the needle down on the lower edge, just along from where the previous stitch was taken down.


Bring the needle up on the top row and wrap the thread in the same way as before.


Continue working stitches in this way, taking care to keep your stitches parallel.


Finish the stitch by making a tiny anchoring stitch over the last loop.

Rope stitch (variation)

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Rope stitch (variation)

This stitch can look very similar to slanted satin stitch.  However, it is normally raised on one edge, and the end of the stitch should show the characteristic curl.


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.35
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.23
  • Mrs L Barton Wilson et al, Corticelli Home Needlework (1898) , p.19
  • LH. 'Art Needlework (Jan 1885)', Art Amateur pp.46-7.
  • Letitia Higgin, RSN Handbook of Embroidery (1880) , p.28