Learn to make a pistil stitch for your embroidery projects.
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Designer: Sue Spargo


  • Perle cotton No. 3 and 5 in assorted colors
  • Milliner's needle No. 1

Pistil Stitch

Using perle cotton No. 3, stitch a ring of pistil stitches around the circle appliqué. With contrasting colors of perle cotton (Sue used size No. 3 orange and size No. 5 blue), stitch pistil stitches for the flower center in the center of the circle appliqué.

To make a pistil stitch, complete the following steps.

1.    Thread a No. 1 milliner's needle with an 18" length of perle cotton. (The uniform thickness of a milliner's needle makes it slide more easily through the wrapped threads.) Bring needle up at A, next to edge of appliqué circle (Diagram 1). Lay the needle on the thread, then wrap the thread around the needle twice (Diagram 2). (If you are using a thinner thread, you can wrap the thread around the needle more times.)


2.    Insert the needle tip back into the fabric at B, 1⁄4" to 1⁄2" away from A (Diagram 3). Holding the thread taut against the appliqué at B, pull the needle and remaining length of thread through to the back (wrong) side of your work, forming a French knot (Diagram 4). Repeat to make additional pistil stitches.