Detached Buttonhole Stitch

The detached buttonhole stitch is a fun filling stitch that is a variation of the buttonhole stitch. Usually, the buttonhole stitch is used for things like hemlines and borders, but the detached variation of this stitch creates a stitch that looks interlaced and almost like a net. It’s a really fun one to make, and once you get the hang of it, it’s really easy and relatively quick to fill in an area with.

P.S. I’ve heard others call this stitch by a different name, one that I have also personally referred to them as: the “detached blanket stitch” or “blanket stitch” . I’ve seen them used interchangeably over the years, so I looked it up to see what the difference was. You can read about the history behind the name of these stitches in this very informative and interesting article over at Needle and Thread.

What could you use this stitch for?

I love to think about how to creatively utilize a particular embroidery stitch. The options are relatively endless, but here are some ideas:

  • fill in the center of a flower
  • a fishnet
  • a purse or bag
  • a basket
  • chain-link fence
  • add texture to an abstract shape

How To Do the Detached Buttonhole Stitch

For this demonstration, I used 6 strands of DMC cotton floss, but any kind of floss will work just fine.

  • Make a row of blanket/buttonhole stitches.
  • Then come up below the row at A and bring your needle under the stitch at B and over the working thread. (You are doing exactly what you would do for a normal blanket stitch, but just not going down through the fabric!)
  • Continue to the next stitch and repeat.
  • Continue chaining together the stitches in rows until you’ve filled in the desired amount.


  • Be sure to not pull the stitches too tight once you started making the second row of stitches. You can easily disturb the pattern it makes if you pull them too tight.
  • If you are filling in a shape that is not rectangular or square, you’ll want to stagger the stitches and potentially skip some of the stitches on the sides in order to follow the outline of the shape.

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Embroidery Patterns That Use This Stitch

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