Identifying Stitches


Ursula Karbacher
Textile Museum St Gallen and ICOM Costume Committee member

Anne Wanner-JeanRichard
ICOM Costume Committee member


Clothes are held together with stitching - needle and thread are used in carefully chosen ways to achieve the variety of seams that are used to sew garment pieces together. In addition, clothes are often decorated with various forms of stitches, this is called embroidery. Here is a small selection of the basic stitches used in both cases.


Back Stitch

(Wanner, 1-601)


Blanket Stitch, double

(Wanner, 5-102)


Buttonhole Stitch

(Wanner, 5-101)


Chain Stitch

(Wanner, 5-501)


Cross Stitch, basic

(Wanner, 6-101)


Darning Stitch

(Wanner, 1-103)


French Knot

(Wanner, 5-701)


Long and Short Stitch

(Wanner, 3-201)


Running Stitch

(Wanner, 1-101)


Self Couching

(Wanner, 3-401)


Split Stitch

(Wanner, 1-604)


Stem Stitch, Crewel Stitch, Outline Stitch

(Wanner, 1-701)


Surfce Satin Stitch, straight

(Wanner, 3-301)


Further sources of information

Kreuzstich und gekreuzte Stiche = Point de croix et points croisés = Cross Stitch and Crossed Stitches (6-100 – 6-500)
/ Anne Wanner-JeanRichard et al. – St. Gallen, Textilmuseum 2009

Schlingstich, Kettenstich, Knötchenstich = Point de feston, point de chaînette, point de nœud = Looped Stitches, Chain Stitch, Knotted Stitch  (5-100 – 5-700) / Anne Wanner-JeanRichard et al. – St. Gallen, Textilmuseum 2010

Plattstich, Flachstich, Spannstich, Klosterstich = Passé plat, point de plumetis, point de Boulogne = Satin Stich, Surface Satin Stich, Self Couching (3-100 – 3-600) / Anne Wanner-Jean Richard et al. – St. Gallen, Textilmuseum 2010

Vorstich, Schrägstich, Winkelstich, Steppstich, Stielstich = Point avant, point diagonal, point de Paris, Point arrière, point de tige = Running Stitch, Slanting Stitch, Paris Stitch, Back Stitch, Stem Stitch (1-100 – 1-700) / Anne Wanner-JeanRichard et al. – St. Gallen, Textilmuseum 2011


© Diagrams Margarete Müller-Schulten
© Photos Anne Wanner-JeanRichard
Objects Textilmuseum St Gallen
Translation Elizabeth Fischer

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