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Stab stitch icon
Stab stitch

  • Holding Stitch
  • Finishing Stitch
Stab stitch main image

Very small stitches with different uses:
Starting and finishing stitches / securing your thread N.B. WE HAVE ANOTHER ENTRY FOR THIS TYPE OF STAB STITCH
Applying fabric by sewing small discrete stitches around the edges.

Stab stitch is generously sponsored by Pauline Hannon


For height and variety in a design try using a bugle bead for the base bead, or adding three small beads to act as stopper beads instead of just one.

Stab stitch method stage 1 photograph

Small stab stitches can be used as holding stitches to secure a new thread. This image shows the waste knot on the surface and two small back stitches which would usually be placed under the proceeding stitched area.

Stab stitch method stage 2 photograph

This image of stab stitch shows how small straight stitches can be used to apply another fabric. The needle is brought up through the base fabric at the edge of the fabric to be applied. Then the needle is taken down through both fabrics just inside the applied shape.

Stab stitch method stage 3 photograph

This image of stab stitch shows two small stitches used to secure the thread at the end of its use.

Stab stitch method stage 4 photograph

Bring the needle up and thread on your chosen base bead. Now thread on a smaller bead to act as a stopper and take the needle back through the base bead but not the stopper bead.
Draw the thread through to secure the beads; the stopper bead sits in the top of the base bead.

Structure of stitch

Common uses

This simple stitch is really useful for securing a single bead and works well as the centre of a circular motif.


  • Various Authors, The Royal School of Needlework Book of Embroidery (2018) , p.385