Tent Stitch Instructions

Written by deborah jones
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Tent Stitch Instructions
Vibrant textiles are created with colourful threads and simple stitches. (thread image by Mikhail Basov from Fotolia.com)

The tent stitch, also called half-cross stitch, is a versatile and easy needlepoint stitch that can be worked in several ways, all of which give the same overall appearance. The basic stitch forms a diagonal row of small stitches next to each other on the front of the fabric and a vertical row of adjacent stitches on the back of the fabric. Tent stitches can be worked diagonally or straight on the front of the fabric for different stitch effects.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Aida fabric or canvas
  • Embroidery hoop or frame
  • Embroidery thread
  • Needle

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  1. 1

    Hoop the aida for stability. Work from left to right of the design. Push the needle up from the back of the fabric at the starting point for the tent stitch.

  2. 2

    Count one hole to the right and one hole up, then push the needle through the aida to the back of the fabric. Looking at the front of the work, there will be one diagonal stitch that slopes from bottom left to top right. This is the first tent stitch in the row. The thread will be hanging from the back of the work.

  3. 3

    Push the needle back up through the aida to the front of the work, bringing the needle up through the hole directly below the thread and next to the first stitch previously worked. This is the first part of forming the second diagonal tent stitch.

  4. 4

    Count one hole to the left and one hole straight up, insert the needle into that hole and push through to the back of the aida fabric to form the second diagonal tent stitch.

  5. 5

    Work along the row repeating the stitch for as many stitches as are required. Inspecting the work will show a row of diagonal stitches on the front and a row of vertical stitches on the back.

Tips and warnings

  • Tent stitches may also be worked vertically by starting from the bottom of the vertical line and working diagonal stitches upward until the top of the row is reached.
  • Tent stitching can distort fabric as the stitches are all pulling in the same direction. Blocking may be necessary when the work is complete.

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