Plaited / Herringbone / Braided Stitch

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This stitch is variably known as “plaited stitch” “herringbone stitch” and “braided stitch” but whatever you call it, it’s incredibly useful in decorative stitching projects. It can be tapered to give a feather like effect, used as a border, or stitched to cover the joining of two fabrics/ribbons/etc.

Version 1

This diagram illustrates the standard way of making the stitch – up on the right, horizontally at the center, and down on the left. Repeat this process – up at the right and down at the left, until you reach the desired length. When stitching in a straight line the top and bottom stitches should be parallel, but if you’re working on a curving path you’ll obviously have to modify that.


The stitch at the center is show the way it is to help with the clarity of explanation – you should always stitch straight up and down when doing decorative stitching, so that should really be two separate vertical stitches!


Version 2

The standard version of the stitch leaves long stitches across the back of the work. If you’re trying to avoid bulk or using a thread that is valuable enough that you’d really rather have as much as possible on the front this is an alternative method.


Make the stitches shown in the first version. Then, instead of going back to where you started, stitch up on the left side. Stitch across at the bottom in the opposite direction as the first time – right then left this time. Don’t pull the thread all the way up. Make sure the loop of thread is below everything you’re stitching, and take the final stitch on the right. When you pull it up tight it will look identical to the stitches before.


Continue alternating these two stitch patterns, back and forth, until you’ve reached the desired length.