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Single Brussels stitch icon
Single Brussels stitch

  • Detached buttonhole
  • Buttonhole filling
Single Brussels stitch main image

​Single Brussels stitch is a needlelace stitch, consisting of detached butthonhole stitches worked over a pre-existing outline.  After the first row of buttonhole stitches has been completed, the stitch direction is reversed and the next row is worked into the previous row.  The stitch can be worked densely by working the first row of detached buttonhole stitches closely together or as a more open stitch by spacing them further apart, as in the method below.

Single Brussels stitch is attached to the background fabric only at the edges. In the example below, a simple back stitch outline edge is used, but this could be a cordonnet when making a needlelace slip.

Single Brussels stitch has been used as a filling stitch for centuries: it features on a 16th century Swiss/southern German ecclesiastical embroidery and also on a piece of 17th century raised work.

Single Brussels stitch is generously sponsored by Rosalind Atkins

Method

It is very useful to work a sample to practice the stitch. Keep the tension as even as possible and try not to pull the stitches too tightly or too loosely. You could use a tapestry needle or a mellor to adjust the tension as you form the rows. When the thread is not long enough for the next row, finish the thread at the end of the row and start a new thread at the beginning of the new row.

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Single Brussels stitch method stage 1 photograph
1

Outline the edge of the area which you want to fill with double running stitch.

Start at just under the top left-hand corner of the shape and work a detached buttonhole stitch. The stitch is attached to the fabric by passing through the top outer edge only.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 2 photograph
2

Repeat along the row to the right-hand edge of the shape. Attach the stitch to the right-hand side of the shape by whipping the edge.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 3 photograph
3

Whip the side outer edge again to bring the needle just below the first row.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 4 photograph
4

Work another row of detached buttonhole stitches from right to left, passing the needle through the loops of the previous row.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 5 photograph
5

Continue to the left-hand edge of the shape, and whip down the left side edge to bring the needle just below the last row.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 6 photograph
6

Continue to work rows of detached buttonhole stitch back and forth across the shape, forming each stitch by passing the needle through the loop just above it.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 7 photograph
7

On the final row, pass the thread through the loop of the previous row and the bottom outer edge as you form each stitch.

Single Brussels stitch method stage 8 photograph
8

A completed area of Single Brussels Stitch

Single Brussels stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Single Brussels Stitch is often used in Stumpwork embroidery.

Embroidery Techniques

Identifying Single Brussels stitch

​A woven stitch using detached buttonhole stitch in rows to fill a shape. One detached buttonhole stitch is worked into the loop of the stitch above on the previous row.

References

  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.276
  • Anne E. Wardwell. (1980) 'The Holy Kinship: A Sixteen-Century Immaculist Embroidery', The Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art pp.285-295. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/25159697
  • Lisa M. Klein. (2001) 'Early modern English embroideries: contexts and techniques', Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts pp.38-41. Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/23182820