Pekinese stitch

Pekinese stitch for hand embroidery is a fun way to follow a curve, and can be easily modified in several different ways (e.g., by changing how many strands of floss you use, how close together you make your stitches, how tightly or loosely you pull your loops, and by your color choices).


Photo of an embroidery hoop with colorful circles stitched onto white fabric.
Finished sampler using Pekinese stitches!

As always, I've provided you with written and photo instructions in this blog post, and included a video tutorial at the end of the post for those of you who find video instruction to be easier to follow.


Step 1: Stitch your base using back stitch.


I have a full tutorial available for back stitch available to you if you need help stitching this base.



Step 2: Once you've finished your back stitching, bring up your floss just next to one of the holes from a back stitch.



Step 3: Bring your needle underneath the next back stitch up.


Do not pierce your fabric or your floss; your needle will not go back through your fabric until you're finished with your line of stitching.



Step 4: Weave your needle underneath the first back stitch (that you skipped in Step 3) and underneath your new floss, and pull.



Step 5: Continue this method of weaving until you've finished your line of stitching.



Here's what my shape looks like at about the halfway point of stitching:



Step 6: Once you're at the end of your line of stitching, secure your floss by taking it through your fabric and just underneath your first stitches.



Here's what my shape looks like at the end of stitching:



Modifying Pekinese stitch


If you scroll back up and take a look at my finished sampler, you can see that this stitch can look quite different, depending on several different choices! For example:


  • Floss colors: In the example I stitched above (and in the video tutorial below), I'm using two contrasting colors, but you can use the same color of floss for this stitch if you like.

  • Strand count: In the example I've stitched here, I'm using just three strands of floss, but you can also use as many strands of floss as you like. For example, to get a "chunkier" look, try using all six strands of your floss.

  • Distance between stitches: As I discuss in the back stitch tutorial, the length of your stitches can make a huge difference in terms of your final product.

  • Loops: In this example, I've pulled my loops quite tightly! You can be looser at this step if you like, and get a slightly different effect as well!

When you're learning a brand new stitch, it can be helpful to create a mini sampler of that stitch, where you allow yourself to play around with different variations. This can help give yourself a better sense of all the ways you might use the stitch in future projects!


Video tutorial for Pekinese stitch



I hope this was a helpful tutorial for you! If you're brand new to stitching and aren't sure where to start, consider purchasing a kit! If you're interested in kits, but not mine, check out my blog post on how to choose an embroidery kit.