Fishbone Stitch Tutorial

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The fishbone stitch is a beautiful stitch for filling in shapes such as leaves. The way the stitches overlap and lay creates a seam down the middle and the stitches run in a similar direction to veins in a leaf. This tutorial will walk you through step by step how to do the fishbone stitch.

This stitch tutorial is one of many hand embroidery stitch tutorials available. Check out more here.

fishbone stitch leaf

How To Do A Fishbone Stitch Leaf

It can be easy to make the edges of the leaf somewhat rough without the fabric marked, so be sure to draw the shape of the leaf you would like on the fabric before beginning.

You can embroider different shaped leaves with this stitch, but in order to learn I find it easiest to draw a symmetrical almond-shaped leaf as pictured in this tutorial.

fishbone stitch tutorial
  1. Start at the very tip of the leaf and make a small stitch down the center from A to B.
  2. Come up directly from the top of the stitch you just made a C and make a stitch, crossing over the center line at D.
  3. Come back up directly to the left of the first stitch at E and cross over the opposite way at F.
  4. Continue alternating these stitches all the way down the shape of the leaf.


  • Your stitches should cross over one another in the center, but they should lay parallel to each other otherwise. Try to avoid overlapping the stitches on each “side” of the leaf.
  • Pay close attention that each of the stitches you make start directly on the outline you made for the shape of the leaf. This will ensure that the edges stay neat.
  • Once you get to the very bottom of the leaf shape, your last one or two stitches may not overlap in the center, and that is fine. Focus on making small stitches that completely fill in the bottom of the leaf!

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