Pekinese Stitch

Pekinese Stitch

Pekinese Stitch sample 1

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 that can follow a curve well, making it ideal to use as a linear stitch. This stitch is also great to use as a 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 backstitch, check out my tutorial on back stitch here.

Pekinese Stitch step 1

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.

Pekinese Stitch step 2

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.

Pekinese Stitch step 3

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.

Pekinese Stitch sample 3

Adding interest

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.

Pekinese Stitch sample 2

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

Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery book cover

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

Feeling stale? Wondering how to add sparkle to your embroidery? I have aimed Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery to be suitable for both beginners and seasoned embroiderers. It introduces techniques to encourage your creative interpretations of stitches. I guide you towards discovering play-points in your embroidery by varying the height and width; by stacking stitches; or by filling multiple rows with the same stitch. With creative variations and demonstrations of tiny tweaks, You will be ready to head off down your own creative path and, of course, illustrated with plenty of eye candy!

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  1. I’m so tired of editing, writing and publishing my posts but now I’m only two, TWO stitches behind. Who knew that hard work pays off?
    Here are my samplers:
    Algerian Eye
    Oyster Stitch
    Basque Stitch
    Up And Down Buttonhole
    Bonnet Stitch

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