Drawing of Cretan embroidery in closed Cretan stitch from Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving, 1912

Featherstitch or feather stitch and Cretan stitch or faggoting stitch are embroidery techniques made of open, looped stitches worked alternately to the right and left of a central rib.[1] Fly stitch is categorized with the featherstitches.


Cretan stitch is characteristic of embroidery of Crete and the surrounding regions.[2]

Open Cretan stitch or faggoting is used in making open decorative seams and to attach insertions.

Featherstitch embroidery arose in England in the 19th century for decorating smock-frocks. It is also used to decorate the joins in crazy quilting. It is related to (and probably derives from) the older buttonhole stitch and chain stitch.[1]

Featherstitch variants

Common variants of featherstitch include: [3] [1]

Looped stitches

Other looped stitches include: [3][1]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. The Reader's Digest Association, Inc. (March 1992). ISBN 0-89577-059-8, p. 39-41
  2. Christie, Grace: Embroidery and Tapestry Weaving, London, John Hogg, 1912
  3. 1 2 Enthoven, Jacqueline: The Creative Stitches of Embroidery, Van Norstrand Rheinhold, 1964, ISBN 0-442-22318-8


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