How to hand embroider Bonnet stitch

 Bonnet stitch sample 5Bonnet stitch is a variation of buttonhole that forms a line of stitches which have a upright twisted looped prongs. Jan Eaton in her Complete Stitch Encyclopedia states that she found this stitch in a 1923 issue of Embroidery Magazine.

Some stitches you look at the directions and they look distinctly uninspiring. Bonnet stitch is such a case. It looks like a double buttonhole or I call it a herringbone with its knickers in twist. However I urge you to try it out I think it will surprise you. You can use this stitch on even-weave or plain fabrics. It is quick and easy to work and will follow a curve well.

 Bonnet stitch sample 3Bonnet stitch looks best in a thread with firm twist. So if you are one of those folks using up old stranded embroidery threads to test your stitches I can only encourage you to buy some perle thread. You are doing yourself a huge disservice if you never try other threads. Many of the surface stitches look nothing in stranded threads but work them in a thread with a firm twist and they come alive.

The sample is of Bonnet stitch worked in different threads. The first row is cotton Perle 8, the next rayon thread, followed by silk and the last row being a metallic.

 Bonnet stitch sample 2Since Bonnet stitch is a member of the buttonhole family, it can be worked easily on a curve. If worked in freeform manner you can produce organic textured lines.

 Bonnet stitch sample 1Also you can easily work this stitch in a circle.

How to work Bonnet Stitch

Work bonnet stitch from right to left between two imaginary lines. If you need to mark the line use a pen that will dissolve when moist or one of the quilters pen that disappear after a few days.
instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 1Bring the needle out on the bottom line. Make a small stitch on the top line with the needle pointing left.
instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 2Pull the needle through the fabric.
Slide the needle under the straight stitch you just made. You are not taking the needle through the fabric just slide it under the stitch with the needle pointing left. Pull the needle through.
instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 3On the bottom line insert the needle where you started to stitch.  With the needle pointed left and the thread wrapped under the needle as illustrated, pull the needle through.

instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 4
Take the needle to the top line and take a bite of the fabric as illustrated. This is the start of th enext stitch.

instructions on how to work Bonnet stitch 5Continue along the line.

Bonnet stitch can be worked in rows or at different heights. Think of all the patterns you make with Buttonhole stitch as many of these you can adapt to  Bonnet stitch too. It is a case of experimenting a little.  It is also interesting if you work Bonnet stitch at different angles or use it to couch heavy threads to the fabric.

 Bonnet stitch sample 4You can create patterns if you work this stitch row upon row or in this case in rows back to back.


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48 Responses to How to hand embroider Bonnet stitch

  1. Ann says:

    Enjoyed learning this stitch. Used the stitch to decorate the space around my initials. Put the samplers in my journal that includes a reflection, gratitude list, and collage of images:

  2. vero says:

    terminé ce point mais j’ai pas été inspiré

  3. Karrin Hurd says:

    Here is my little sample. I had trouble at first, but finally got the hang of it.

  4. Lyn Warner says:

    Fun to learn a new stitch, thanks Sharon. I may have twisted it the wrong way though? Here’s my post

  5. nalini vasudevan says:

    Hello Sharon,
    Here is my attempt on this week’s challenge

  6. Diane says:

    Tried the bonnet stitch… how did it get that name?

  7. Rose says:

    Managed to do the Bonnet stitch. I thought I would have a difficult time with it but it actually went quite well.
    On Stitchin Fingers
    On Flickr

  8. Rose says:

    Managed to do the Bonnet stitch. I thought I would have a difficult time with it but it actually went quite well.
    On Stitchin Fingers
    On Flickr
    and on Facebook

  9. Lucy Landry says:

    A very interesting stitch. It has a lot more potential than is obvious at first glance.

  10. Mariainez L. Ribeiro dos Santos says:

    Her´s my weekly post with Bonnet Stitch

  11. Hi Sharon,
    I am practicing this stitch and folllowing your suggestion, this stitch is fine to work with pearl cotton and the details of this sampler is here-
    thank you,

  12. Claudia says:

    Hello Sharon, hello everyone,
    again the stitch was new to me but from the beginning I liked Bonnet stitch. Here is my attempt:
    Happy Stitching!
    Cheers Claudia

  13. Hi,
    Late as usual! But it is posted to my blog,
    and to the Flickr group,



  14. christine says:

    Palestrina and bonnet stitch . A very nice stitch!

  15. Debbie says:

    I am combining two weeks – not because I was behind, but I needed more embroidery cloth. My Palestrina and Bonnet stitches are here:

  16. Isabelle says:

    the last week, I was too busy to do the stitch. but I catch it this week :

  17. Annet says:

    I stitched a few rows on my Aida sampler. The bonnet stitch is here:
    My unfinished Aida sampler is here:

  18. Laurel says:

    Sharon – This was a fun stitch that I hadn’t tried before. There is a lot of variation potential in this stitch and playing with it inspires creativity. Here is my example:

  19. Liz Figures says:

    dear sharon, i enjoyed this stitch. lovely loopy feel. tho not so easy to get regular. xx liz xx

  20. I agree with Chris – the more you explore, the more you realize the potential of the stitch
    here’s my sample

  21. I wish I had more time to play with this stitch, it was fun 🙂

  22. ValerieL says:

    I finished my bonnet stitch sample.
    You can see it here:


  23. My bonnet stitch sampler is here:

  24. Christina says: A lovely stitch, one to remember and very usefull. I will try to use it on a bonnet, I feel it’s the perfect simple enhancement for a hat like that.

  25. Shami Immanuel says:

    My trials for this week challenge is here and a mirror work is also included.

  26. One more stitch in my little stitches’book. I didn’t find the french name for Bonnet stitch, doesn’t it exist ? If interested, you can see my weekly exercice here :

  27. Christine T says:

    Hi Sharon, my work for today is here :
    I think that : the bonnet stitch, is called “point bigouden” or “point de deuil” in France.

  28. Lyndsey says:

    I found the information on this stitch a little difficult to follow until I tried to stitch it, then it made perfect sense. The information you have posted is much clearer than other tutorials or my encyclopaedia of stitches. I made quite a few mistakes in my practice piece but will work on it over the week. I am sure I will use this stitch at some point in the future. Thanks for introducing the stitch to me.

  29. Hi Sharon, Yet again, I am blown away……….the more I stitched, the more I could see potential for ‘manipulating’
    The stitch ! I have done this in my sample…..Thank you Sharon, I got such a buzz out of this one !!!
    You can see my sample here………………….
    chris richards

  30. Reba says:

    Well I am not sure if I did this right but gave it a whirl!

    I am so hesitant to post being such a new stitcher… I have crossed stitch for years but never learned embroidery……soooo as I make this journey I would greatly appreciate tips and feed back…

    Wishing all of you a great 4th!!

  31. I’m left-handed, so these directions, initially, seem very complicated. I think I finally figured out the stitch right-handed, which has my brain in a twist, so later I will try the stitch ‘right side up’, in other words, left-handed. I’m not ready to post yet. I just had to make my frustration known.

  32. crazypatch says:

    Voici mon petit travail de la semaine et mon Bonnet stitch”, je n’ai pas trouvé le nom de ce point en français. bonne semaine à toutes et encore merci Sharon pour nous permette de découvrir de nouveaux poinrs;

  33. Angela says:

    Well, I attempted this stitch. Can’t say that I succeeded with it though.

  34. Annet says:

    Here’s my weekly post with old bonnet stitch samples:
    It will be fun to experiment with this stitch again, I always used stranded floss for this stitch!

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