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Shell stitch (variation) icon
Shell stitch (variation)

  • Scallop stitch
  • Fan stitch
Shell stitch (variation) main image

This canvaswork stitch is formed of seven long stitches fanned out from a central point to resemble a scallop shell with a tiny stitch at the base.  Unsurprisingly, given it has ‘fan stitch’ as an alternative name, it has similarities with fan stitch, although the orientation of the shapes is vertical in this stitch, rather than diagonal.
There is another version of shell stitch which is visually quite different.

Shell stitch (variation) is generously sponsored by Mrs P. Williams



Make a diagonal stitch from top right to bottom left over three intersections.


Make a further two stitches radiating into the same base hole, each graduating up by an intersection.


Make a vertical stitch over five threads of the canvas into the same base hole.


Complete a mirror image of the radiating stitches on the right side of the vertical stitch.


Conclude the stitch by making a small vertical stitch over one thread at the base of the fan.


Arrange the shells in horizontal rows, each shell should share a hole with the adjacent one. In subsequent rows the first and last radiating stitches should share a hole with the base of the fan on the previous row.

Shell stitch (variation)

Structure of stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Betty Barnden, The Embroidery Stitch Bible (2003) , p.194