Tent Stitch

Schematic drawing of a tent stitch. Schematic drawing of a tent stitch. Drawing by Martin Henze.

Tent stitch is an umbrella term for several different, but related free style and canvas embroidery stitches. A tent stitch is a small, diagonal stitch that crosses the intersection between the horizontal and vertical threads of the ground material. The term ‘tent’ derives from the French tenter, meaning ‘to stretch.’

When the tent stitch is worked on canvas, over one warp and one weft thread, it is also known as petit point. If it is worked over two or more warp/weft threads, and the length of the stitch is twice its width, it is a gobelin stitch. Tent stitch can be used to work the main design as well as the background areas of the canvas.

There are three main variations of tent stitch for canvas embroidery: basketweave stitch, continental tent stitch and half cross stitch (also known as half tent stitch). These three appear to be the same on the front, but they are worked in slightly different ways.

The tent stitch, when applied to canvas, is also known as needlepoint stitch.

See also: Berlin woolwork; gros point

Source: LEVEY, Santina M. (1998). An Elizabethan Inheritance: The Hardwick Hall Textiles, London: The National Trust, p. 43.


Last modified on Friday, 20 January 2017 19:10