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Surface darning stitch icon
Surface darning stitch

  • Queen Anne stitch
  • Needle-weaving
  • Weaving stitch
  • Queen Anne darning stitch
  • Visible mending
Surface darning stitch main image

This stitch is a form of darning with minimal contact with the fabric.  A layer of slightly-spaced laid work is stitched, and then another layer at 90 degrees is woven in and out of the laid work.  Both layers of stitching only penetrate the fabric at the start and end of each row.  This can be worked in line with the grain of the fabric, or at an oblique angle.

This method of stitching can also be used creatively to disguise holes and imperfections in garments.

N.B. the term surface darning can sometimes be used for various forms of couching.

Surface darning stitch is generously sponsored by Charlotte Watkinson



Start with a single straight stitch which spans the design area.


Working up and down the space to be filled, work a series of laid stitches leaving a slight space between each length.


The stitches should be equally spaced and parallel with short stitches on the underside at the edges of the shape.


To start the weaving, bring the needle up to the surface at an adjacent edge and weave it over and under the vertical stitches. Take the needle down at the opposite edge.


Bring the needle up on the same edge, leaving a small space between the horizontal threads.  Weave the needle back in the opposite direction, so it alternates with the threads of the previous row.


Draw through the thread. Tease it into place with a blunt tapestry needle to create a straight line.


Continue working back and forth as before, with the threads only piercing the fabric at the edges.


Try to keep the threads straight and parallel.


The space to weave will become tighter and more difficult to work, so swap to a tapestry needle for the last few rows.


A completed area of surface darning stitch.

Surface darning stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses

Embroidery Techniques


  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.114
  • TRC Leiden
  • Lewis F Day, Art in Needlework (1900) , p.84-5