Pekinese stitch

To learn how to do Pekinese stitch, why not check out my Pekinese stitch tutorial. It includes:

  • illustrated embroidery stitch instructions
  • an embroidery stitch video
  • tips for success
  • Pekinese stitch variations
  • Royal School of Needlework stitch bank.

Pekinese stitch uses

Pekinese stitch is a foundation row of back stitch, with a contrasting thread looped through it. It gives a lovely curly effect, perfect for one of the sheep on my sheep embroidery kit.


Pekinese stitch on sheep embroidery kit
Pekinese stitch
  • Do a row of back stitch first, not too small or tight or you won’t be able to get your needle and thread under the back stitches when you make the loops.
  • Thread a needle with contrasting colour. Going from left to right, bring it up through the fabric at the start of the back stitch.
  • Bring needle upwards under the second back stitch, not the first one, to form a loop. The needle goes between the back stitch and the surface of the fabric. Be careful not to catch your needle in the back stitch.
  • Bring the needle back, going downwards under the first back stitch to form a loop. Your needle and thread will pass over the top of your first loop.
  • Repeat, bringing the needle upwards under the next but one back stitch and then downwards through the previous back stitch.
  • Finish by taking your thread down and tying it off at the end of the row of back stitch.

Pekinese stitch video

Tips for Pekinese stitch

  • Keep the foundation row of back stitch large enough and loose enough to get a needle and thread between the stitches and the fabric.
  • Keep the loops evenly sized.
  • If you're doing more than one row do them each separately, tying off the thread at the end of each row. That's because you'll need to adjust the loops so they're evenly spaced which is much more difficult to do if the thread goes through two rows.

Download my free stitch guide covering 10 simple embroidery stitches.

Pekinese stitch variations

Firstly, it's easy to vary the effect just by choosing different threads and thread colours. For example, the back stitch and the loops in my sheep embroidery are both done using two strands of DMC thread. But you could do the loops in a different type of thread. 

Secondly, you can vary the size of the loops so they're small and close to the back stitch to give a thinner line. Similarly, you can make them bigger so they're more loopy, as shown in my photo.

More on Pekinese stitch

The Royal School of Needlework as a stitch bank which aims to preserve every known stitch. It will become a world-wide directory of embroidery stitches. You read their stitch bank entry for Pekinese stitch here.