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Sword-edging stitch icon
Sword-edging stitch

  • Sword stitch
Sword-edging stitch main image

This surface stitch consists of two interlocking buttonhole stitches which together form an elongated cross.  The cross normally has three short legs to portray the hilt of a sword and one longer one to portray the blade, although some authors show the stitch with two long and two short legs.  The stitches are normally worked to form a broken line or as a powdered filling.  Its structure has similarities with loop stitch, although the second part of the stitch is subtly different.

Earliest references to this stitch date to the first half of the 20th century, although it may well be considerably older.

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Bring your needle up at one end of your design line.  Take it down a short distance ahead to one side of the line, forming a diagonal stitch.


Bring your needle back up on your design line, a short distance ahead of where it first came up.  Slide your needle under the first stitch from back to front.  Pull through.


Take your needle down on the opposite side of your design line, level with where the first stitch was taken down but slightly further away to make a longer stitch.  Pull through.


Continue in this way leaving a small gap between each stitch.

Sword-edging stitch

Embroidery Techniques


  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.35
  • Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches (1934) , p.33