Pekinese stitch is also known as Chinese stitch since it is found on Chinese embroideries worked in silk, row-upon-row —sometimes 30-40 stitches to the inch.
The stitch creates a heavy line which can follow a curve well, making it ideal to use as a linear stitch. This stitch is also great to use as finishing line around the edge of items like fabric postcards, ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) bags, purses, needle books or pin cushions. It works well for anything small that requires a tidy edge.
Pekinese stitch can create a fine line if you use a fine thread. In the sample to the left, I hand embroidered a fine line of Pekinese stitch down the middle of rick rack braid using cotton perle #12 threads. The beads are seed beads so it gives you a sense of scale.
How to work Pekinese Stitch.
Start by working a foundation line of back stitch in a loose manner, because the threading will tighten the stitches. If you need a refresher on how to work back stitch, check out my tutorial on back stitch here.
A second decorative thread is then laced through the line of back stitches. Use a blunt-ended tapestry needle to avoid splitting the foundation stitches. As you thread, do not pass the needle through the fabric.
Work from left to right. Bring your needle out on the bottom left on the line of back stitches. Move along two stitches to slide the needle under the foundation backstitch. With the needle tip pointed towards the top pull your thread through.
Move back one foundation stitch and slide your needle downwards under the stitch. With the needle tip pointed towards the bottom pull your thread through.
Repeat this lacing process along the line. To create a neat textured line, tighten slightly after each threaded loop is created.
For extra interest use your imagination with thread choice. Experiment with contrasts of texture and weight. You can lace with fine cord, chainette, rayon ribbon floss, a yarn, or a fine ribbon. In the sample above I have laced using a fine metallic braid.
You can also work lines back to back to create an interesting thicker line. In the sample above I worked a foundation row of back stitches in green cotton perle #5 thread then I laced them with a hand-dyed cotton perle #5. I added a third line of backstitch down the middle.
I hope you enjoy this stitch!
My book for creative stitchers
If you enjoy my site you will gain real value from my book Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery: Visual Guide to 120 Essential Stitches for Stunning Designs
Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned embroiderer, Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery gives you techniques to encourage and develop a fresh and creative embroidery style. Discover play points in your embroidery. Explore variations in height and width, stacking stitches, or using repetitions of the same stitch to create areas of texture and shape. All these techniques and more will give you creative variations. I have included numerous demonstrations of small tweaks that create big effects. To send you down your own creative path, the book is richly illustrated with plenty of eye candy.
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