Italian Border Stitch Tutorial

hand embroidered sample of Italian Border StitchItalian border Stitch is great for borders and edges. You can work this stitch where you would normally use buttonhole to finish an edge. Worked in a compact manner it forms a neat line with the knot re-enforcing the edge.

Since this stitch is actually a variety of fly stitch it is very versatile. Italian border stitch can also we worked in a line, arranged in patterns  or worked in a circle to create disk like flowers.

With this stitch you can easily add beads. Since the stitch can be opened out to form a V there is countless geometric patterns too. You can also use it to hold down a thicker thread or ribbon or weave a thin ribbon through the spokes.

I have also seen another variety of Italian knotted border stitch documented in Encyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches, Including Crewel by Marion Nichols, which has a second row of French knots worked along the top of the open sitches

hand embroidered sample of Italian Border stitch

How to work Italian Border Stitch

How to work Italian Border stitch step 1

Italian knotted border stitch is actually a variety of Fly stitch and you begin the stitch in the same way.

Bring the thread through the fabric out at the top and to the left of the line that is to be worked.

Insert the needle a small space along the line, level and to the right of where the thread first came out.

How to work Italian Border stitch step 2

With the thread wrapped under the needle, pull it through the fabric.

How to work Italian Border stitch step 3

Secure the stitch in position with a small knot.

To do this you need to wrap your working thread once around the needle and insert the needle at the base to tie down the stitch.

How to work Italian Border stitch step 4

As you pull the needle to the back keep the tension of working thread even by guiding the thread under your left thumb like you would a French knot.

How to work Italian Border stitch step 5

Continue along the row in this manner

How to work Italian Border stitch step 6


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37 Responses to Italian Border Stitch Tutorial

  1. libbyQ says:

    this stitch was quick and easy and i decided to “double” mine in a sort of mirrored way . . . which produced a zipper like effect.


  2. Doreen Parker says:

    Yes Sharon I would love TAST to continue I have learnt so much from doing a new st each week an really look forward to Tuesday. Thankyou for sharing your knowledge and all the great instructions each week.
    Doreen Parker

  3. Debbie says:

    My Italian Border stitch sampler can be seen at:

  4. crazypatch says:

    Juste quelques points pour cette semaine. je ferai mieux la semaine prochaine….

  5. Rose says:

    I’m still plugging along. Seems like I get caught up to the current week but before I can get pictures taken I’m three behind again. I have added some new photos but I have three to stitch yet.

  6. Liz Eph says:

    Hiya Sharon and all, I do hope I managed to get in in time this week ! Here’s my contribution. Hope you like it. 🙂
    xx Liz xx

  7. crazyqstitcher says:

    A lovely and easy stitch. My samples are at
    and blogged at

  8. Luiz Vaz says:

    Hi Sharon & Friends, my post for week 42. Thank you all!

  9. Laurel says:

    Sharon- You can find my example of the Italian Border stitch here:

    I have learned so many new stitches in this challenge – it is wonderful! Thank you!

  10. Isabelle says:

    My PC was broken and I was afraid of not being able to post my work this week. But my husband has repaired it quickly. Phew!

  11. Marjolein says:

    Hi Sharon,
    Leaves and flowers again. Here is the flower spray:
    I also did some cathing up on the cast on stitch and oyster stitch:

  12. Barbara/Hopscotch says:

    Here is my sample of Italian Border stitch, using some scraps I hand dyed and couldn’t bear to throw away!

  13. Nancilyn says:

    Love this stitch — didn’t want to stop. I’ve Flickr’ed up and included some detail.

  14. Hi Sharon,
    I enjoy working with this week’s stitch, the details are here-
    Thank you,

  15. Claudia says:

    Hi Sharon and all,
    again I enjoyed the new stitch. here is my attempt:

    Cheers Claudia

  16. here is my sampler for the italian knotted border stitch:
    Thanks Sharon

  17. Lucy Landry says:

    This stitch is great for more than just borders. I like it a lot. It’s one I’ve never seen before. Thanks!

  18. Karrin Hurd says:

    I really loved this stitch which was new to me! Thanks Sharon for broadening my horizons!

  19. Angela says:

    Thanks for this fun new stitch! I really like it!

  20. Carol Harper says:

    Because I was so late last week, I got right on this one and here is my small attempt. Nothing fancy, just five different arrangements in perle cotton:

  21. Annet says:

    Here’s my weekly post with old Italian knotted border stitches:
    This is one of those stitches I forgot, so it will be fun to rediscover it again!

  22. Hi Sharon ! I think I had experimented this stitch twice (TAST W1 and TAST w16), so I didn’t stitch my weekly sampler. Have a nice week.

  23. Annet says:

    I thought this week was week 42 🙂

    • sharonb says:

      Yes you are right! I have fixed the Title and thanks for noticing. It is because I decided to add it to TAST and was not working from my list. I move away from my list and make mistakes. EEks!

  24. Hi Sharon,
    After seeing your samples of this stitch, I have been hoping that you would make this stitch as a part TAST 2012. and Iam eager to work on this stitch samples .
    I had worked a few samples of Italian border stitch during your earlier challenge. the details are here-
    Thank you,

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