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Trellis icon

  • Trellis filling
  • square laid filling
  • squared laid work
  • Couched filling stitch
  • Jacobean Couching
Trellis main image

​This stitch consists of rows of long horizontal and vertical single stitches, perpendicular to each other, covering the required area. A small stitch is then placed at each point where the two threads cross over one another to secure the trellis pattern.

Trellis dates from Jacobean crewelwork where it was used, alongside its variation Cross bar filling trellis, to fill large areas of designs.

Trellis is generously sponsored by Joy Edgington, Pastures New Quilting


There are many variations on this basic trellis that are more decorative. See related stitches.


Bring the needle up at the edge of the area to be filled, and take it down on the edge directly opposite. It is advantageous to start in the centre or the widest part of the area to be filled.


Pull the thread through so that the first stitch lies directly across the centre of the shape, then bring the needle up through the fabric further along the design.


Take the needle down directly opposite, ensuring that the stitches lie parallel, to create a series of evenly spaced open laid stitches.


Continue to work one half of the shape in the same way, by building up parallel lines. Be careful to space them evenly.


Once you have completed this half of the shape, work the remainder in the same way, working away from the first stitch in the centre.


Again, starting in the centre or the widest part of the area to be filled, work perpendicular parallel stitches to cover one side.


Work the other side in the same way and fasten off the thread on the paint line. You can hide the paint line later with an outline stitch.
This framework is the basis for a variety of other open filling stitches where you can anchor the intersection using a variety of decorative stitches such as those listed here.


For a plain basic Trellis, anchor each intersection with a small diagonal stitch.


Structure of stitch

A series of long open parallel Laid stitches, evenly spaced and layered perpendicular to the previous layer to form a grid framework.

Common uses

A fast filling stitch useful in filling large areas quickly, it comprises of a grid framework, upon which, other stitches may be worked to decorative effect.

Embroidery Techniques

The grid framework may be placed squarley on the grain of the fabric or at a diagonal.


  • Ada Wentworth Fitzwilliam, A. F. Morris Hands, Jacobean Embroidery: Its Forms and Fillings Including Late Tudor (1912) , p.36, p40
  • Kate Haxell, The Stitch Bible (2012) , p.103
  • Jennifer Campbell, Ann-Marie Bakewell, Guide to Embroidery Stitches (2004) , p.109

Examples of Trellis

Folding Crewelwork Screen, RSN Collection No. 1287

Triptych 2, RSN Collection No. 587