Working the Pekinese Embroidery Stitch

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    How to Work Pekinese Stitch

    Pekinese Stitch Diagram
    Pekinese Stitch Diagram. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    Pekinese stitch is a traditional stitch often used in Chinese embroidery. It can appear intricate, but it's really quite simple, combining a basic stitch with some lacing.

    This stitch can vary in its appearance, depending on the thread-type, number of floss strands, and the size at which you work the stitches. For that reason, it can be quite versatile. 

    In the simplest form, worked in one color, pekinese stitch can be used to make bold outlines. Adding a second color makes it perfect for a...MORE beautiful border. Stitching rows of it next to each other is ideal for fill stitching, similar to a chain stitch fill.

    To work pekinese stitch, start with a line of back stitch. This should follow the line of stitching you want to create. 

    When all of the the back stitch is complete, come up from the back under the first back stitch (point 1). Bring the needle out below the stitch and without splitting the back stitch.

    Slide the needle under the next back stitch from bottom to top. Next, slide the needle under the first back stitch from top to bottom, keeping the needle over the first loop.

    Working with a blunt tapestry needle may be helpful to avoid catching or splitting the thread.

    Continue working under the stitches and creating loops until you reach the end. Finish by taking the needle through to the back under the last stitch (point 2). 

    If starting a new thread, bring the needle up at point 2 above the back stitch and continue stitching the laced loops.

    Continue to 2 of 2 below.
  • 02 of 02

    Completed Pekinese Stitch Variations

    Pekinese Stitch Examples
    Pekinese Stitch Examples. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to

    Ideas to Try When Using Pekinese Stitch

    • To create a bolder stitch, use six strands of embroidery floss, perle cotton or even yarn. 

    • Although shown here as a bold line (worked with six strands), pekinese stitch has a history of being worked smaller too. Give your eyesight a workout by working with one or two strands of floss and very small stitches.

    • Work with all one color for a line of embroidery that looks more like a knotted stitch.

    • Work with two colors to show off the lacing design. You...MORE can even try stitching the back stitch and the loops in different types of thread.

    • For a dense stitch, start with small back stitches. This will keep the laced loops close together. Just be sure that the back stitches aren't too tight so there is room for the loops to slide under.

    • For a more open stitch, use larger back stitches. You can also try stitching with fewer strands of floss or altering how tight each loop is pulled. 

    • Pekinese stitch can be worked on a curve too. Explore the way the stitch looks depending on the direction of the curve and how tightly it is stitched.