Pistil Stitch Tutorial

Pistil stitch which is really a French Knot with a tail. It is an interesting stitch which is ideal to use for the centre of flowers or arranged in a circle as flower motif. The weight of the thread will determine the size of the finished stitch. You can also work this stitch using silk ribbon.

Crazy Quilt Block 93 detail 603Pistil stitch is also known as long tack knot stitch and Italian knot stitch but the most common name is Pistil stitch.

Some people find it better to work with the fabric stretched in an embroidery hoop. I recommend that you use a milliner needle as they are the secret weapon in creating many of the knotted stitches. Most embroidery needles have an eye that is wider than the shaft of the needle. Milliners or straw needles have an eye and shaft that are the same width which makes sliding any of the knotted stitches easy. This works for any stitch where part of the process involves wrapping the thread around the needle and then moving the thread along the needle in order to complete the stitch.

To hand embroider Pistil stitch

step by step tutorial for pistil stitch 11. Bring the thread to the front of your fabric. Wrap the thread around the needle twice as you would a french knot and insert the needle back into the fabric a little distance from where it emerged, holding the ‘tail’ of the knot taut and flat to the fabric.

step by step tutorial for pistil stitch 22. Take the needle and thread through to the back of the fabric.


step by step tutorial for pistil stitch 43. At this point it is sometimes helpful to brush the knot down the shaft of the needle with left thumb nail so that it is sitting firmly on the fabric.


step by step tutorial for pistil stitch 34. Hold the knot with your thumb as you pull the thread through to the back of the fabric.

I hope you enjoy this stitch!


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As a stitcher who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my Stitchers Templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to embroider on your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

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46 Responses to Pistil Stitch Tutorial

  1. vero says:

    j’ai fini mon point de pistil merci

  2. Hi Sharon,
    my pistil stitch sampler details are here-
    Thank you,

  3. Ann says:

    I really enjoyed this stitch and would definitely use it again.

    I made a trio of flowers using the pistil stitch. The link shows the flowers as well as the embroidery journal I’m keeping the little samplers in.


  4. http://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherrealm/
    This is a wonderful stitch. It’s been so much fun to spend the week with pistil stitch exploring it’s possibilities.

  5. Debbie says:

    Here is the link to my Pistil Stitch – thank you Sharon, I thoroughly enjoyed this stitch!

  6. Julie JC says:

    Here is the short link to my Pistil Stitch blog:

    I also uploaded a couple photos to Stitchin Fingers!

  7. Hi ! I’m here again ! No post during summer, but I had stitched and continued the TAST 2012. You can see here week 37 http://j-en-revais.blogspot.com/2012/09/tast-37.html, than, if you want, return to week 30 to 35 http://j-en-revais.blogspot.com/2012/09/tast-30-33.html and http://j-en-revais.blogspot.com/2012/09/tast-34-35.html. Have a nice sunday.

  8. Maureen says:

    My efforts this week are here
    I have viewed wonderful examples by others this week.

  9. Isabelle says:

    here is my weekly attempt
    I descovered with pleasure this stich.

  10. Liz Eph says:

    hiya sharon and everyone, hope you like this weeks offering as much as i enjoyed making it. xx liz xx

  11. nalini vasudevan says:

    Hi sharon and friends. After a long break, I have participated in tast challange . I like this week’s challenge pistil stitch very much. Here is my post.

  12. My week 37 sample
    Looking forard to the next! 🙂

  13. Laurel says:

    Sharon – Thanks for the catch-up week. I finished my other crewel project! Here’s my Pistil stitch example (we also call it “long-armed French knot”).

  14. Hello
    I discover with pleasure this stitch. My sampler is here:

  15. Hello,
    I have added collage picture of pistilstitch in my stitchingfingers ning group..

  16. Hello all,
    My pistil stitches on sequins and I shared some of my old works too..

  17. Lucy Landry says:

    Pistil stitch is a fun stitch. Thanks Sharon.
    My sample is here:


  18. Luiz Vaz says:

    Hello Sharon and friends! I’m still a little late, but I just post the attempts of weeks 34 and 35. Two very interesting stitches that I will use in the future! Thanks to all, good stitches!

  19. I like this stitch, I’m thinking of doing another sample. This is what I have done so far.

  20. Brigitte Otto says:

    I’ve just uploaded my sample of pistil stitch with cast on, pekinese, linked double chain and sheaf stitch to keep it company. Two really happy days sewing and stitching!!!
    Thanks for this TAST, Sharon.

  21. christine says:

    My pistil stitch is here http://6stem5.canalblog.com
    It is a very nice stitch !

  22. Carol Harper says:

    Here is my pathetic little pistil stitch.
    My mind just froze on uses for it given the name! Silly me! But I do have other ideas now, after seeing what the other ladies have done!

  23. iHanna says:

    Oh what a fun stitch! One of those that makes me think: now why didn’t I think of that before, or at least try experimenting with the french knot a bit? Super fun! Mine’s here:


  24. Hi Sharon, I adore this stitch ! I have started needle felting,
    so used this technique with the pistil stitch ! Have a good week! you can see my sample here !!!
    chris richards

  25. leelagovind says:

    my attempt on a few variations of pistil stitch..you can see them clearly on close up pics in my blog..had fun with this stitch..

  26. Claudia says:

    Hi Sharon and all,
    I know Pistil stitch and I like it. Had fun stitching my little attempt<: http://fabricfusion.blogspot.com/2012/09/tast-37-pistil-stitch-cqjp-september.html
    Thanks, Sharon for all! Cheers Claudia

  27. Anneliese says:

    Now, here is my sample – the catch-up week helped a lot to also catch up with other projects.
    Thank you for the year-long Tast!

  28. Nella says:


    Merci pour le tuto bravoooo

    bon mercredi à toi

  29. Shami Immanuel says:

    Hi Sharon

    Beautiful stitch. My sample is here:

    waiting for comments.

  30. Debbie says:

    Here’s my TAST stitching for this week. It uses my favorite stitch, the French knot! http://debbiesfiberwork.blogspot.com/2012/09/tast-week-37.html

  31. Joyce says:

    I loved this stitch and is was so nice to be caught up so I could just play with this one stitch.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/quiltdiva/7977860921/in/photostream/ Fun stitch!

  32. Angela says:

    Thanks Sharon. I like this stitch. You can see what I did here

  33. Hi Sharon,
    I cheated. I was already working on this stitch in another design. So I have blogged about it http://www.carorose.typepad.com
    and posted a copy to the Flickr group
    Have a good week.

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