How to hand embroider Portuguese Stem Stitch

Portuguese Stem Stitch is also known as Portuguese knotted stem stitch.
This linear stitch is a variation of ordinary stem stitch that creates a knotted, rope-like line which can be accentuated by using a heavy solid twisted thread such as pearl cotton.

The advantage of this stitch is that just about anything stem stitch can do Portuguese Stem will do it chunkier! You can work it on even-weave or plain fabrics and it follows a curve well making it ideal for outlining shapes.

Try Portuguese stem stitch in different threads. I have worked Portuguese Stem Stitch in quite thick thread too such as anchor soft cotton which is as thick as 5 ply wool. It is effective on heavy fabrics such as denim because it is a slightly heavy stitch, which seems to stand clear of the fabric. On the other hand if you work it in fine thread it can take on a delicate organic appearance.

How to work Portuguese stem stitch

I find Portuguese Stem stitch is best worked starting at the bottom and working towards the top.
Various books say to work from left to right but I do not do it that way. Try it the way the books say but if you find you are working in an uneven manner turn the work.
Portuguese stem stitch step 1Bring the thread through from the back of the fabric and make a small stitch picking up a small piece of material as you would if you were working a stem stitch.

Bring the thread out to left. The first stitch should look like this.

Portuguese stem stitch step 2Take the needle and thread it under the first stitch. Make sure do not pick up any fabric.
You are actually whipping this stitch. It should look like this.

Portuguese stem stitch step 3Whip the stitch a second time. These two whipping stitches form the knot like appearance.

Portuguese stem stitch step 4

Portuguese stem stitch step 5

Move along the line and make a small stitch picking up a small piece of material as you would if you were working a stem stitch. Bring your thread out as illustrated.

Portuguese stem stitch step 6Take the needle and thread it under the stitch. Once again you are whipping the stitch so make sure do not pick up any fabric.

Portuguese stem stitch step 7Whip the second time and continue the row.

Portuguese stem stitch step 8

I hope you enjoy Portuguese Stem Stitch as I do!
Portuguese stem stitch

Have you seen my book?

holding my book in front of quilt

My book The Visual Guide to Crazy Quilting Design: Simple Stitches, Stunning Results  shares detailed practical methods about how to design and make a crazy quilt. From fabric choice, to balancing colour, texture and pattern, in order to balance and direct the eye around the block.  I cover how to stitch, build decorative seam treatments in interesting and creative ways. My book is profusely illustrated as my aim was to be practical and inspiring.

My Stitchers templates

My templates aim to help you take your stitching to the next level.With my templates you are able to create hundreds of different hand embroidery patterns. These templates are easy to use, made of clear plastic so you can position them easily and are compact in your sewing box.

using my Crazy Quilt Templates set 2These are simple to use. You simply position the template in place and use a quilter’s pencil to trace along the edge of the template. Stitch along this line. I have a free ebook of patterns to accompany each set which illustrates how they can be used.

TO ORDER your Stitchers Templates

Crazy Quilt Templates set 1 you will find here 
Crazy Quilt Templates set 2 you will find here 





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