How to work Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone stitch idea 1Herringbone Stitch is an old favourite of mine and many other stitchers. It is a versatile crossed stitch that can be worked for a border, as a fill, or along a curved line. You can use it in various forms of surface embroidery and it is a traditional stitch used on crazy quilting.  It is not a difficult stitch, making it ideal introductory stitch for beginners, yet it is versatile enough to be interesting for experienced stitchers.

It is an old traditional stitch used in many parts of the world and known by many other names such as Mossoul stitch, Persian stitch, Russian stitch, Russian cross stitch, plaited stitch, catch stitch, and witch stitch.

How to embroider Herringbone Stitch

Herringbone stitch is worked from left to right along parallel lines.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 1Commence by bringing the needle out on the top left-hand side of the line to be worked.

Make a small stitch on the lower line which points to the left, pull the thread through.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 2Insert the thread on the upper line a little to the right and make a small stitch which points to the left and pull the thread through.

step by step how to work Herringbone stitch 3Continue in the manner along the line

Ideas on how to use Herringbone Stitch

As I have said there are many things you can do with Herringbone stitch. You can create patterns by working row upon row. This sample is worked in a hand dyed variegated perle #5 thread on 26 count linen. I worked the herringbone stitches then added the bugle beads afterwards. It would make an ideal filling pattern on any project that needed an area covered in decorative stitches. Imagine this worked on a luxury fabric such as silk and used on an evening bag or purse.

Herringbone stitch idea 2This sample is also Herringbone stitch worked row upon row but this time I have offset (or back to back) the rows. The fabric is hand dyed Aida cloth and the blue thread is cotton perle #5. I worked the rows and then added the beads. Once again this pattern is a good filling stitch

Herringbone stitch idea 3This is another sample of two rows of herringbone this time worked in wool before I added the bugel and seed beads. It would make a great border pattern.

Herringbone stitch idea 4

You can change the height of the stitch and use it to fill a shape.

Herringbone stitch idea 5 Another idea is to alternate between working small and large stitches. If you do this it will create a whole new batch of patterns and the combinations are many!

Herringbone stitch idea 6You can overlap lines of the stitch and stack them. This is fun particularly if you change your threads.

Herringbone stitch idea 7Herringbone stitch can also be used to couch down another thread or ribbon. this sample is on a piece of crazy quilting and I have further decorated it with seed beads stitching in the hills and valleys of the stitch.

Herringbone stitch idea 8Herringbone combines easily with other stitches. This sample is is herringbone stitch tied with fly stitch.

Herringbone stitch idea 9

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138 Responses to How to work Herringbone Stitch

  1. Pingback: TAST 2012 #5: Herringbone Stitch - Studio Paars: embroidery herringbone stitch

  2. Laura says:

    Double rows of layered herringbone stitch for week 5. This was my first attempt with weaving 4 layers, it sewed up surprisingly quickly:

  3. Pingback: 1 Years stitches | CrazyQstitcher

  4. Pingback: 1 Year’s stitches – Days 26-31 | CrazyQstitcher

  5. My challenge is stitching on paper.
    I am posting once a month. The first 7 stitches are at this post.
    Sandy, UK

  6. Linda says:

    Hi Sharon,
    Thanks for allowing me to participate even if I am so late in joining!
    My herringbone stitch is found here

  7. Here's my herringbone stitch, worked into a little sampler to keep as a stitch reference on the wall in my sewing room.

  8. Susan says:

    I did the herringbone stitch last week, but didn't get a posting up until today, so I also did the chevron stitch and just added it to the same post:

  9. Cy says:

    My Herringbone stitches sampler is on my blog at:

    Includes Stacked Herringbone, Overlapping, Curves, Long & Short stitch, Ladder Herringbone, & Closed Herringbone.

  10. Marie says:

    Had a hard time coming up with something original, but I'm very happy with the results!

  11. Bernice says:

    I enjoyed the Herringbone stitch. The double herringbone stitch was new to me but I like the looks of it. Bernice

  12. Karrin Hurd says:

    I realized this is another of my favorite stitches, as I use it often. My examples are here, a little bit late:

  13. Julie Castle says:

    The head of my blog has two squares with Four Way Herringbone. In this week's post I show the full piece which has a third Four Way Herringbone in it. Of course there are links to directions for the stitch, too! Enjoy!

  14. Ms Sharma says:

    Here are my attempts at the stitch this week:

    hope you like them.

  15. Jane Compeau says:

    I finished my herringbone stitching last night; but still need to get a better picture.

  16. Ann says:

    Really enjoyed learning the herringbone stitch this week! Even found some fish fabric to practice the herringbone stitch on which was fun. Collaged the fabric fish into my journal along with images of fish.

    As a side note, my grandma use to serve pickled herring. Put some info on my post about herring, pickled herring, and how it relates to this week's stitch:

  17. Brigitte Otto says:

    Just uploaded my herringbone block and the version I did for TAST 2010 to Stitchin Fingers.

  18. I'm a tad late this week but you can now see my Herringbone stitching here:

  19. Here is the work from the Tuesday Stitchers group. We meet together on-line each weekend to share our work on the TAST and CQJP.

    Please come see us!
    ~Debra S.

  20. I stitched a design with herringbonestitch and uploaded in my blog.
    Thanks dear.
    Waiting for next one tomorrow.

  21. libbyQ says:

    had fun with the herringbone and wish that i had more time to take it further.
    if you would like to see what i did go to:


  22. shirley says:

    My samples are on my blog and also stitchin fingers. I am enjoying seeing all the wonderful examples and designs that this stitch can be used for.

  23. I enjoyed the simplicity of Herringbone stitch but I found it difficult to push this one very far. I still got a few nice sample sections onto my big piece of work. I'm looking forward to filling this piece of fabric with all the different stitches.

  24. Deborah-Anne says:

    My herringbone stitch picture is on stitchin fingers

    Relly enjoyed doing this one

  25. Maggi says:

    I just managed to get my herringbone stitch finished in time and the sample page is now on my blog along with a piece that I made some time ago using the stitch in the borders. Another favourite stitch of mine. Find me at if you would like to take a look.

  26. Lucy says:

    A taste of the orient, this week … a little bit of warmth for a very cold and snowy weekend 🙂

  27. Sorcha says:

    Have managed to post up photos of this week's challenge. Thanks, I really enjoyed this one.

  28. Agne says:

    My "pintinis dygsnis" (this means "Herringbone Stitch" in Lithuanian):

  29. Sue Utterback says:

    I've enjoyed doing the Herringbone stitch this week–it's one of my favorites. However, this week I played around with doing the stitches back-to-back to create a secondary diamond shape pattern. Plan to explore this concept more. I apologize for the poor quality photo, but the stitches are done on an orange color study block for one of the CQ groups. Here's this week's effort:

    Sue U

  30. Ranjana says:

    Loved all the challenges, but missed 4 weeks. Happy that , at least started to work on hand embroidery. Thanks a lot for inspiring me.
    Here is my work:

    Thanks ,
    Ranjana Shankar

  31. Tabitha O. says:

    Thank you again, every week, for your inspiration, your guidance and your work on this fun project!

  32. Nancilyn says:

    Apologies. Here is the correct blog link for my Herringbone post

  33. I like the herringbone stitch! Take a look at my samples here :

  34. Marg B says:

    Not a lot to offer this week – an older piece of work ,an interesting hem and a pulled thread stitch plus my last effort at cretan insertion in the previous entry. On my blog


    Sharon, my apologies I had forgotten to link back to the TAST site previously – an oversight.

  35. I have completed my herringbone stitches and the two January pages on which they reside with the other four January stitches. I am pretty new to experimental embroidery and I am just loving the way I can see myself using these stitches to complete my own style of design. Also enjoying looking at all the inspiration from the others here, and learning so much from all of you. You can find this week and the previous weeks in the TAST set on Flikr.
    You can also see the range of my art interests in this recent blog entry:

  36. Annet says:

    Your suggestion to combine the stitches presented so far made me stitch lots of rows, it was fun! I wrote about them here:

  37. Luiz Vaz says:

    My post for this week. I confess it was very difficult not eroticize my embroidery this week. The first image that came to my mind was that of fishnet stockings of the dancers and pinups. But embroidery was erotic … so I put a banana peel in the way of the girl … do not worry, she is well and back next week!

    Meu post desta semana. Confesso que foi muito difícil não erotizar o meu bordado esta semana. A primeira imagem que me veio à mente foi a de meias arrastão das dancarinas e das pinups. Mas bordado continuava erótico … por isso eu coloquei uma casca de banana no caminho da menina … não se preocupem, ela está bem e volta na próxima semana, linda!

  38. Gayle Schipper says:

    My herringbone sampler is on my Flickr page.

  39. Lucy Landry says:

    Wow! I am so glad to have found this website. I love the challenge. Since this is my first week to join in, I've included 4 of the challenge stitches.

  40. Jenny Ross says:

    My week 5 samples are up on my blog at:

    and posted in the facebook group.

  41. Kirsty Macdonald says:

    Here's my sample of Herringbone stitch – don't think I've said how much I'm enjoying this challenge, Sharon, thanks for all your hard work!

  42. here is my examples of Herringbone stitch!
    it's so nice to see others works!
    Good stitching!

  43. Sandy Jandik says:

    I've posted by Herringbone examples on my blog.

  44. Suztats says:

    This stitch has lots of variations and I enjoyed practicing them.

  45. Romilly says:

    I caught up. 🙂 Weeks 3-5 all in one squidlike package. 🙂

  46. I love the herringbone stitfch. One of my favorites. I also love to do beaded embroidery stitches. Here is my take on week 5:

    Have a great weekend. Mary

  47. Jules says:

    There is herring bone here – but I have to be really honest and say I out and out cheated this week! Sorry folks!

  48. Blu says:

    This was a fun one. I tried a couple of variations and I think I'm in love with the closed herringbone XD

  49. Sara Hansson says:

    My herringbone is done! Loved this stitch but then I always have done.


  50. Kim Stapleton says:

    Its funny how some stitches you really enjoy and others not. This one was fun.

  51. Sample finish and posted. I'm going to do some more work on this stitch especially the Indian variations.

  52. Deepa says:

    My attempts on herringbone stitch is here – some old and some new


  53. Dianne says:

    This weeks stitch is a favourite of mine. I have posted my herringbone sample which has been inspired by zentangle on my blog here: and also on Stitchin Fingers here:

  54. Queeniepatch says:

    The herringbone stitch seems to be a favourite of many and I have enjoyed looking at all the comments on your blog, Sharon. What a lot of joy you are spreading with your TAST project!
    My humble stitches are here:

  55. Maureen bond says:

    Arrgh! I just discovered I put Sharon's Pintangle link in my first comment and not my own blog. This is where my first sample of Herringbone is.

  56. Kumo Temari says:

    Herringbone is just about the most fundamental stitch in temari making, so it was a great challenge to do something new with it!

  57. Maureen bond says:

    With some spare time I played and added some more samples to my blog.
    I have visited blogs to see what this week has brought and it is all enjoyable and inspiring.

  58. konnykards says:

    My narrow Sampler is growing rapidly as I'm adding previous TAST pieces when they were on suitably sized fabric. This week's sections are on my blog: Connie.

  59. Valerie L says:

    I finished my herringbone stitch sample. I enjoyed doing it–though not a lot of exploring–just fun stitching. See it at:

    Thanks again Sharon for putting this on. It is a great way for me to review stitches and learn new ones.

  60. Ulla-Britt says:

    Now I have finnished my Herringbone flower. It is in the bottom of this page:

  61. Claudia says:

    You can see my efforts on herringbone Stithc on my blog:

    Happy Stitching Claudia

  62. Petra Weiler says:

    I just finished my version of heringbone stitch – a combination of various stitches and colours. You could find it on

    Best regards and have a nice weekend

  63. Arlene says:

    I think I've finally mastered the basic herringbone stitch. Thank you, Sharon!

  64. SusieW says:

    I've posted photos of both Cretan and Herringbone stitches (got a little bit behind last week) on my Flicker site here All my seams will end up being the same colors because I'm using my CQJP project for my TAST stitches. I learned a good lesson with the Cretan stitch as I ended up with one pink floss that was too light and one too dark. I mixed strands of each one and came up with the perfect value for that seam. Will file that trick for future reference!

  65. Anna Kousi says:

    Herrignbone stitch this week and here there is what I manage to do with it!

    (now I really know why our group is called "stitch junkie!!!!!!!)

  66. Christine says:

    An other nice stitch! Pictures here: The idea came with the german name of the stitch " Witch stitch"

  67. Bonjour Sharon ,

    J'ai composé un bloc de crazy pour m'exercer au point crêtois et à la maille chevron :
    J'ai beaucoup aimé réaliser cette composition .Merci et , à la semaine prochaine

  68. isabelle says:

    Here is my herringbone sampler, and Pauline's work:

    Thanks, Sharon, for this exploration of the mysterious world of the embrodery.

  69. Hello, this is my sample for week 5 herringbone stitch….
    You can see it here ………

  70. chitra gangadharan says:

    my completed herringbone stitch sampler for this challenge is on my blog-
    thanks you, Sharon

  71. crazypatch says:

    Vous pourrez voir mon travail de la semaine sur mon blog en cliquant sur ce lien:

  72. Viv Estill says:

    I posted my Cretan and Herringbone efforts on
    Thanks Sharon

  73. Ingrid says:

    Great week again! Here is my herringbone stitch, which turned out to be quite a surprise for me:

  74. Faith says:

    Was going to upload my older herringbone stitch sampler, but discovered Picasa ate all my 2011 photos and spent most of my time trying to find them. I know I have a copy somewhere, just don't know where. Anyway, last night I gave up in frustration and stitched to relax and actually got it posted already!

    Also uploaded to the Flickr site. Have not got to Stichin Fingers or Facebook TAST site as of this moment… Was going to do it now, but I caught up on Flickr and want to go stitch again, now.

  75. If you are interested, my blue herringbone sampler is here :
    Thank you for the visit

  76. hopscotch says:

    Just posting my efforts on Herringbone, will be moving house on Friday, so haven't done as much as I would like. Will certainly be keeping up with things, even if I can't post for a little while(too much fun too miss!)

  77. chitra gangadharan says:

    I have started on my explorations of herringbone stitch,
    thankyou, Sharon for rerunning this stitch.
    my attempts are here-

  78. Shami Immanuel says:

    Here comes the trial of my Herringbone sample.

  79. Maureen bond says:

    My Herringbone samples are at and also in the Group photos
    The work of others in Tast3 have inspired me and I can hardly wait to view the new ones.

    Thanks Sharon for all the work you are doing.

  80. Paula says:

    Depois de ver os outros blog, até tenho vergonha de mostrar o meu…Tanto trabalho lindo!"


  81. I am finally posting some pictures of the tast challenge.I hope to be caught up by the end of week.

  82. Savitha says:

    Hi Sharon,
    I love to play with Herring Bone stitch. Thanks for choosing it. I have stitched a motif, and posted in my blog.

  83. Liz Adams says:

    This week was fun. I used a brilliant golden rayon floss and incorporated herringbone into my ongoing work. You can check it out and let me know what you think (!) at

    Thanks so much for the stitch challenge and to all the people who've been in touch with interesting and encouraging comments and sharing.

  84. crazypatch says:

    Je vais partir à la découverte de ce point de la semaine et en attendant mes autres semaine du TAST sont sur mon blog.

  85. Noiseynana says:

    As I have had pneumonia for the last 2 months, I've just now gotten my photos posted. I'm making a 3 ft. x 3 ft. linen wall hanging . TAST is at the center top and the stitches are in groups on the left as they are assigned. So hope yall like what I'm doin as this is my first time. So forgive the mistakes and think of them as creative licensses.
    Yall go and check me out. Eileene

  86. it's one of my favourite stitches. am going to try and do all the stitches in this challenge without any mixing of stitches. can't wait for next tuesday – thanks for this.

  87. chitra gangadharan says:

    I was also thinking this week's stitch would be herringbone,
    thanks , Sharon.
    my earlier herringbone sampler is here-

  88. Angela says:

    Thank you Sharon for doing TAST. I am really enjoying it. I just posted my herringbone stitch done on a paper/fabric combo. I also did some beading with this stitch. Loving it!!!

  89. Christina says: A very simpler sampler yet again. I'm planning on doing something on a monthly basis with all the stitches I've learned and all the ideas they gave me. Herringbone is definitely going to be one of my favourites. It flowes and has a lot of possibilities.

  90. EC says:

    I just posted my trials with herringbone stitch ….

    Will be trying more designs using this stitch

  91. Royce says:

    It was just 5 days back that I posted a sample with herringbone stitch on my blog

    I submit this for the TAST week 5

  92. Sharon I could not be able to explore much on the stitch this time as we are going out of station. I shared some of my old projects and a link to tutorial on how to do beaded herringbone stitch.
    Thanks for featuring my magic cretan stitch. Really it boost up spirit to experiment more..Thank you.

  93. Kathy R says:

    I am really glad I decided to take this challenge. ONCE AGAIN I CAN NOT WAIT TO GET STARTED.

  94. Barb Suess says:

    A temari stitchers favorite! Figuring out a new way to stitch a herringbone was a real challenge. I'm all caught up! Love this, Sharon. I'm learning so much.Thanks!

  95. Susan says:

    I used all the stitches on my CQJP block one and finished beading it this morning. The previous post shows close-ups of the seam treatments.

  96. Mandy Jewell says:

    Oooh it's weird going on here and finding that it's already Tuesday 31st! (It's 10.15pm on the 30th here in England!) Anyway, Sharon, you've picked my very favourite stitch for this week's TAST. I'm still going to stick with my basic sample to start with though, and then come up with a design to do later (well, that's the idea anyhow!)

  97. Annet says:

    I’m looking forward experimenting with this stitch again. Just finished my herringbone sampler for the stitchfiles a few weeks ago. I wrote about it here:
    My TAST 2007 herringbone sampler is here:

  98. Lucy says:

    I wasn't sure whether to post here or in last week's …. I'm on catchup because the only time I get to play with stitches is the at the weekend, and other stuff has been happening! Anyway, here's my expeditions into buttonhole and cretan stitch ….

    Looking forward to herringbone this weekend, and feasting my eyes on everyone's else's fantastic work 🙂

  99. Of course I am going to stitch something new, like every week. But in 2008 I made a herringbone fish for TAST In 2009 I practised herringbone leaves and I used the stitch also for the outline of the flower: .

  100. maneki says:

    *lol* Are you reading my mind? Because so far it seems like you managed to pick my favourite stitches every week. Granted, I have so many favourites it's hard to avoid them all, but five in a row is a great start on this challenge. I hope to be able to do something fun with this stitch.

    Have interlaced it once, which was very fun, but a bit tricky given the materials I chose (not floss on cotton fabric exactly): Maybe it can be of inspiration to someone?

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