How to work Fancy Bobbin Edging

How to work Fancy Bobbin Edging

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 4Fancy Bobbin Edging is an interesting variation of buttonhole. I discovered it in an old book called The Batsford encyclopaedia of embroidery stitches by Anne Butler. This book was published in the late 1970’s and the black and white hand drawn illustrations look dated and are not always clear but being the stitch spotter I am I enjoy discovering stitches I have not seen before. Fancy Bobbin Edging is one of them.

It was bit tricky to figure it out from the illustration and I had to flip the direction of the stitch to get it to work but eventually I came up with this. It is almost like someone was trying to work out German buttonhole and made a mistake but if that was the birth of this stitch it is nice mistake!

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 2Also when exploring a stitch like this we do need to remember it is an edging stitch and something sitting on edge of say a needle book, or the hem of table runner will look totally different to something worked in a band as I have done.

Since Fancy Bobbin Edging is based on buttonhole it will follow a curve well, makes a wonderful edging stitch and like buttonhole you can create many interesting patterns with this stitch by varying the arm spacing and length.

How to work Fancy Bobbin Edging

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 1
Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch is worked from left to right along two imaginary lines. Bring the thread out on the lower line. Insert the needle on the upper line making a straight downward motion.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 2Loop the working thread under the needle point. Pull the needle through the fabric to form a loop as you would for the standard buttonhole or blanket stitch.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 3Slide the needle under the vertical leg you just created. Point the needle from right to left. You are not going through the fabric at this point just wrapping the leg of the buttonhole with the working thread.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 4Pull the thread through.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 5Make another buttonhole stitch.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 6Repeat the wrapping process. Do this for the length of the line.

step by step tutorial on Fancy Bobbin Edging 7

This stitch behaves differently with the type of thread used.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 1This sample is worked in a chainette yarn that has a metallic blending thread woven through it.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 5 The sample above is cotton perle #5.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 6This sample is 6 strands of cotton floss.

Fancy Bobbin Edging stitch sample 3Like regular buttonhole you can vary the arm spacing and length.
I hope you like this variety of buttonhole! If anyone knows more about this variety leave a comment as I would like to know more about it.

Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

marking a seam using 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.

To see what they look like, find out about the free ebook of patterns that come with them visit the information pages.
Or go directly to the Pintangle shop to purchase them.


  1. Sharon, what type of fabric is that? I must say, in trying to learn as much as I can about the different styles of embroidery, you have been the biggest wealth of info I have found. I shall quit looking!! lol no kidding though, your tutorials and instructions are very well written and easily understood. I can’t wait for my check to get here so I can buy some thread and ribbon and get started!!! Thank you so much, Judy P

    1. The fabric I use to demonstrate the stitch is Linda 27 count evenweave Needlework fabric by ZWEIGART which is cotton. The top sample is 25 count Belfast linen

  2. Hey Sharon, I bought that book last week! We were visiting Scotney Castle where they had a room with second hand books for sale. There were quite a few needlework and quilting books but this is the one I chose. Fancy bobbin edging is a great name for this attractive stitch.

    1. Allys its an interesting book but some of the stitch directions are a bit puzzling – I have taken to trying mirror image versions of some of the stitches and they work out better

  3. I, too, haven’t been emboidering much lately. I have been getting my ‘fix’ from these great tutorials! Thank you, Sharon! I’m going through a knitting phase right now.

    Debbie M

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