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Van Dyke stitch icon
Van Dyke stitch

Van Dyke stitch main image

​A row of equally spaced cross stitches is worked, with each woven on to the previous stitch. Once pulled taut, this produces a very attractive pattern that looks like a ladder with a central plaited vein. It is ideal for borders or leaf shapes.

Van Dyke stitch is generously sponsored by Patricia Wilson in memory of Patricia Maud Morgan 1928-2019


For a less raised version, when taking the thread under the cross formed by the previous stitch, catch the ground fabric to form a horizontal stitch, this will anchor your thread more closely to the fabric.  This version is sometimes called flat vandyke stitch.


Imagine or faintly draw a single central line the length of your shape. Bring the needle up through the left outer edge of the shape on the top of the marked line, then take the needle down just right and above the centre line.


Draw the thread through to produce a diagonal stitch just over halfway across the design.


Bring the needle up left of the centre line, and take it down on the right edge level with the base of the first stitch. Draw the thread through.


Bring the needle up on the left outer edge of the shape a little way along the marked line, then pass the needle under the cross formed by the last stitch.


Draw through and pull on the thread to create tension before taking the needle down on the right edge level with the base of the left stitch.


Draw the needle through.


As you continue, take the needle only under the cross formed by the stitches made immediately previously, as shown.


Continue working the stitches towards the base of your design.


At the end, bring the needle up on the left of the central line. Take the needle and thread through the final cross as before.


Then down on the right of the central line. Fasten off as normal to finish.

Van Dyke stitch

Structure of stitch

Common uses


  • S. F. A. Caulfeild, Blanche C. Saward, The Dictionary of Needlework (1882) , p.195
  • Mrs Archibald Christie, Samplers and Stitches (1921) , p.32
  • Lucinda Ganderton, Stitch dictionary (2015) , p.56