Holbein Stitch Embroidery Definition - Definitions for the Clothing & Fabric Industry

Embroidery Directory  Embroidery Machinery Manufacturers  Embroidery Machine Wholesalers Sewing Machine Directory  Clothing Trimming Textile List   Fashion Industry News  Fashion  Thread

Holbein stitch is a simple, reversible line embroidery stitch most commonly used in Blackwork embroidery and Assisi embroidery. The stitch is named after Hans Holbein the Younger (1497-1543), a 16th-century portrait painter best known for his paintings of Henry VIII and his children, almost all of whom are depicted wearing clothing decorated with blackwork embroidery.

Although superficially similar to Back Stitch the Holbein stitch produces a smoother line and a pattern that is identical on both sides of the fabric. It can be worked in straight lines, diagonally, or in a stepped fashion to make a zigzag line and is well suited to creating outlines or intricate filling patterns.

Holbein stitch is also known as double running stitch, line stitch, Spanish stitch, Chiara stitch and two-sided line stitch.

Description of the technique

Holbein stitch is usually worked on on an even-weave fabric where the threads can be counted to ensure perfect regularity and is worked in two stages. Firstly, a row of evenly spaced running stitches is worked along the line to be covered. Then the return journey is completed, filling in the spaces between stitches made on the first journey and sharing the same holes:

Stitch diagram for working Holbein stitch

Modern Holbein techniques

In recent years Holbein stitch has become fashionable again, along with modern blackwork and modern Assisi embroidery. Formality has given way to a more light-hearted approach, and motifs include cute cats and other cartoon-style animals. Classic map samplers and chessboard designs have also been updated, and the use of colours is much more imaginative and daring.

Photo gallery

See also


  • Eaton, Jan. Mary Thomas's Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches, Revised by Jan Eaton. London: Hodder&Stoughton, 1989. ISBN 0-340-51075-7

Fabric Definition

Fiber Definition

The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (  1/15/06

Discussion boards are a great place to meet other members of the fashion industry, get advice, and share information.  This forum was created to discuss the topic of this page.  If you have questions, or information to improve this page, please join in the community discussion below.  Please keep the communication on topic and for the purpose of education.
comments powered by Disqus

Apparel Search   Add Your Company   Contact Us   About Us   Advertise   News Letter   Legal   Help
Copyright 1999-2018 Apparel Search Company.  All Rights Reserved.