Learn hand embroidery. See a step-by-step demonstration of the Pekinese stitch as seen in the February 2014 issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

October 13, 2016

Looking for more embroidery stitches? See more here.


Handwork is hip again and people love trying new stitches. Sue Spargo is sharing stitches to savor with American Patchwork & Quilting readers. And today we've got the Pekinese stitch. It's one that's very versatile and whether you like to pull it tight or leave it loose and loopy, it's one that you will enjoy making. To begin with, use a chenille needle in a size 24 and a variegated perle cotton thread in size 8 or size 5. I'm working with a size 8 today. I'm going to come up alongside my applique shape, which is the circle here. And the first thing I'm going to do is work a row of foundation backstitches, so I'll come up from the back. And just make one straight stitch and then backstitching, I'll go back down where my thread came before and go ahead about a quarter inch. I'm making my stitches about a quarter inch apart. I just always return to the place I came out on the previous stitch, and go forward about between an eight and a quarter inch. And I'm going to work this row of foundation backstitches all the way around my applique shape say, because it's going to form the foundation for the Pekinese stitch to be built on. So I'll continue around the circle with this orange thread, and then we'll pick up again. I come back to my starting point. Once I've completed the row of foundation backstitches all the way around my circle, I changed thread colors and I am going to come up in the center of one of those backstitches from behind. Then I'm going to take my needle. And bring it so that it goes down through the next stitch. I don't wanna pick up any of the foundation or the fabric. I just wanna go under that stitch with my needle. And I'm going to pull the needle through. Now this is the point where you need to determine whether you want to pull this stitch taut or leave it loose. I'm going to go sort of for that level of tautness in mine. And then I'm going to bring the needle back through that first stitch -- that first orange backstich -- and make sure that my gray or my new thread is behind the needle. So again not catching any fabric, I'm coming up from beneath and pulling that stitch. Then down under the third stitch and try to keep my degree of tautness the same. And then I'm going to go up under the second stitch making sure that again the gray thread stays behind my needle tip when I pull it through. And really what you're making here is a series of like lower case cursive 'e's.' as you work your way around. So again I'm going to go over to the adjacent stitch over on the left side and go down. And then back to the neighbor to their right. And go up just under the foundation stitch with the working thread behind my needle, and pulling. And I'll continue all the way around. Now you can pull this tighter or looser depending on the affect you want. But changing thread colors does add interest to the stitch and using variegated thread makes it more interesting still. Give the Pekinese stitch a try.