The Portuguese Stem Stitch has an interesting texture with a knotted look. It creates unusual and sturdy lines, giving the effect of a couched cord, but is much stronger. The stitch is a basic stem stitch, with added loops which give the stitch more texture and interest. The Portuguese Stem Stitch really shows off the added loop texture when you stitch around curves. A perfect stitch when you are looking for extra dimension in your embroidery project.
How to embroider the Portuguese Stem Stitch
I used two different thicknesses of threads to show how the Portuguese Stem Stitch can be subtle with a thinner thread, and more dramatic texture with the thicker thread.
Start by taking a small backstitch, like when making a plain stem stitch.
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Then, bring your needle back through the stitch you just made.
Then, take another backstitch, like you do for a basic stem stitch.
Bring your needle back through the stitch, to form a little knot when you make your next stitch. The flow is backstitch, loop through the stitch and then take another backstitch. It is important to keep your threads on the same side of the stitch, to keep the loops even.
I completed a circle and wanted to play with a different thread weight. In the pink threads, I’m working the Portuguese Stem Stitch with a thicker thread, which I think shows off the stitch a bit more. I start by taking the first back stitch.
Bring the thread through the stitch to make a loop / knot.
Then make another backstitch / stem stitch.
And, loop through that stitch.
The final initial sampler. I love the elegance in the loops and knots.
Here is a sampler to show different threads with the Portuguese Stem Stitch.
- Row 1: #12 pearl cotton
- Row 2: #8 pearl cotton
- Row 3: #5 pearl cotton
- Row 4: #3 pearl cotton
- Row 5: Craft floss
- Row 6: #8 variegated pearl cotton
- Row 7: Silk straw
- Row 8: Frosty Rays
Check out all of the embroidery projects and stitches on Create Whimsy!