How to Hand Embroider Breton Stitch

Breton stitch is based on closed herringbone stitch making it a member of the herringbone family. If you know how to work herringbone you will discover the working rhythm of the stitch much easier to establish.

Breton stitch is also known as widows stitch

Breton stitch sample

This stitch is quick to work and easy. It makes a good border or if you work it row upon row it makes an interesting filling stitch. Changing the spacing of the stitch can completely change to look and feel.

Breton stitch spaced widely sample

Although this stitch is demonstrated between two parallel lines you can work the stitch between curved lines creating shapes. Breton stitch holds a wide curve easily and can be worked in rings radiating out of a circle. You can also change the heights of Breton stitch and it can also be laced or you can intersperse beads between the spaces.

How to work Breton Stitch

Work the stitches between two parallel lines from left to right.

Breton stitch step 1

Bring your thread out on the bottom line.

Breton stitch step 2Move your needle diagonally to the top line and make a small stitch as you would herringbone.

Pass your needle under the cross bar of the stitch, from bottom to top, as is illustrated. At this stage in the process you are wrapping the bar with the thread not going through the fabric.

Breton stitch step 3Pull the needle through to wrap the bar

Breton stitch step 4Insert your needle on the bottom line,  with the needle pointing to the left.  Take a small stitch as illustrated. Pull the needle through.

Repeat this along the line.

Breton stitch step 5

I hope you enjoy this stitch!

Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 
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  1. I played with the stitch using #5 perle and decided to see what would happen if I tried to turn a sharp corner with it — and so I experimented with some #3 perle in my monochrome study:

    I LIKE this stitch! But I can see now thatI didn’t overlap the bottom portion of the stitch so it came out looking like a picket fence instead of a herringbone variation. Back to the “drawing board” —

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