Bullion stitch

pink bullion embroidery

Bullion stitch can be a difficult stitch to master.  It takes patience and practice, but once perfected, it is beautiful and elegant.  The bullion stitch is the ballgown of embroidery stitches.  It would be unusual to use only bullion stitches in a piece, but they will add a touch of sophistication to even freestyle embroidery.  It is a fancy cousin to a French knot.

Bullion stitches add dimension and texture to embroidery as they lift off the surface of the fabric.

When to use it:

  • flower petals
  • small animals
  • slugs

How to do it:

Bring the needle up and take a backstitch, bringing the needle up in the same spot.


Wrap the thread around the needle multiple times, being careful not to overlap the wraps.  They should lay nicely beside each other.  Make sure the wraps start right at the needle.


Carefully pinch the needle, to hold the wraps in place.  Gently pull the needle through without letting go of the wraps.  Keep pinching them so that they stay nicely aligned.  Pull the thread all the way through.


At the very end, gently flip the wraps over and then take the needle down at the end of the row.


The wraps are all nice and even on the thread.  If the number of wraps is the same width as the space for the stitch, it will result in a straight shape, almost like a skinny football.


If the number of stitches is too long for the space, the stitch will curve.  This gives a lot of opportunity for shaping and using the stitch in unique ways.


For more freestyle embroidery stitch tutorials, click HERE.

Elizabeth DeCroos - Epida Studio.

Elizabeth DeCroos

designer, teacher, speaker

Elizabeth enjoys doing all types of sewing and needlework and teaching others new techniques. Find out how to take a course or workshop.

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