How to Hand Embroider Closed Herringbone Stitch

Closed herringbone is a variety of herringbone where the stitch is worked so closely together that it forms a line of crossed stitches. On the back of the fabric it will show a two lines of back stitches so it is also known as Double Backstitch. Another use for this stitch is to work it on sheer or semi sheer fabric to create a style of very subtle and interesting type of embroidery called shadow work.

Normally with forms of herringbone stitch you would work the crosses on the front of the embroidery as a surface stitch but in shadow work you work the stitch on the back and it shows through the fabric. This means the shadow of the work is seen hence the name. When worked in shadow work Closed Herringbone is known as Shadow stitch.

But  you can also use closed herringbone as surface stitch too. It is very useful to define a good strong line or in a border or as part of an edging.

How to hand embroider Closed Herringbone stitch

Closed Herringbone Stitch step 1
This stitch is worked from left to right between two lines. Commence by bringing the needle out on the bottom left-hand side of the line to be worked.

Take the needle up and make a small stitch on the upper line which points to the left, pull the thread through.

Insert the needle on the lower line but have the needle tip emerge  in line with the edge of the edge of the upper stitch (as illustrated) and make a small stitch which points to the left.

Closed Herringbone Stitch step 2Insert the needle on the upper line a little to the right and make a small stitch which points to the left. Have the needle emerge next to the previous stitch. Continue in the manner along the line working each herringbone stitch closely so that is sits right next to the previous stitch.

Closed Herringbone Stitch

I hope you enjoy the stitch

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12 Responses to How to Hand Embroider Closed Herringbone Stitch

  1. Hi Sharon,
    At last my closed herringbone stitch design has progressed enough to be posted.
    Thank you,

  2. queeniepatch says:

    My sampler looks rich covered in all the thread that the Closed Herringbone requires.

  3. Annet says:

    Today I wrote about my blue fabric card with woven chained bar and some old TAST stitches:

  4. JoWynn says:

    I’ve just posted a photo of my closed herringbone stitching on Flickr and added it to our group.

  5. The moment I saw this stitch I knew what I would stitch which is surprising as I use it all the time in shadow work. I’m still struggling with the woven chain but I will get there.

  6. Carol Harper says:

    I liked this one as well — although my photography leaves a lot to be desired, my attempt can be seen here:

  7. Angela says:

    I managed to find some time to stitch today. It feels good! You can see my closed Herringbone and my woven chained bar at

  8. Renee says:

    I look forward to trying the Closed Herringbone! This week, I have two simple stitches to share – 14: Stem stitch and 15: French Knot.

  9. queeniepatch says:

    Great! These Herringbone stitches are so close, even I won’t have a problem putting the needle into the right hole.
    Before embarking on this work, here is my take on TAST #123 Woven Chained Bar:

  10. Pamela says:

    I look forward to trying the closed herringbone! In the meantime, here are my examples of 122 & 123.


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