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How To Do Pistil Stitch - Hand Embroidery Tutorial

Pistil stitch, also known as an elongated french knot, is a great little embroidery stitch for adding details on to flowers or creating texture. It's named after the pistil on a flower and pretty much does what it says on the time!

An opened white lily with exposed pistils

You can use Pistil Stitch for other details in embroidery too - for example, I used it on my The Sun Tarot Card embroidery design to fill in the grassy area:

A finished embroidery in the hoop. It is a tarot card called The Sun and has the sun surrounded by flowers, grass and wheat.

How to do Pistil Stich - let's get into it!

Firstly, if you've not yet learnt how to do a french knot, I would start there! You can read my tutorial on how to perfect the french knot here.

  • Bring your needle up at the bottom of the line where you'd like the tail of your pistil stitch to start

  • Wrap your thread around your needle in the same way you'd make a french knot - I hold my thread taut with my non-dominant hand (for me that's my left hand), hold the needle behind my thread in the shape of a T, then use my left hand to wrap the thread around the needle 2-3 times

  • Keep the thread taut with your non-dominant hand, and reinsert your needle at the top of the line (if you were doing a french knot, you'd go back down in the same spot as where you bought your needle up, but with pistil stitch, you're going to move it along from where you started to create the tail)

  • Pull your thread through to the back (keeping the thread taut until the last second) and there you have it - a pistil stitch!

  • Sometimes they look a little wonky until your do your next stitch or tie off at the back. They just need a little anchoring to completely pull them tight on the fabric


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