Pistil Stitch Tutorial

flowers made with the pistil stitch

Create Flowers & Flower Parts with the Pistil Stitch

Table of Contents

Here’s an easy embroidery stitch that is perfect for making flowers and flower bits. Appropriately named the pistil stitch, it resembles the pistil of a flower. It’s broken down into two parts, the straight section and the little bulb that sits on top of it.

If you take a peek at the photo above, you’ll see a few examples of how they can be used. They can be created to be a design element on its own or with a few other buddies. Stitch them radially to create a flower or star shaped design element. I’ve also used the petal stitch to create unique flower petals.

Here’s how to make the pistil stitch.

Step One

Come up to the top of your fabric and hold the needle in front of you.

Wrap your thread around the needle a couple of times. Obviously, the size of the bulb will vary depending on the number of wraps you use which is totally up to you.

pink thread wrapped around embroidery needle

Step 2

Next, push the needle halfway into the fabric with one hand and tighten the loose end of the thread with the other hand so the wraps gently hug the needle against the fabric.

It’s important to make sure the thread is nice and tight, but not so tight that you struggle in the next step.

needle halfway in fabric with wrapped thread on needle

Step 3

Hold the loose end of the thread as you pull the needle and thread through to the back. Taking your time is the key to getting a nice pistil stitch. This can take a little practice so don’t feel bad if your stitch looks a bit wonky.


If you are struggling to get the stitch to look straight try this… before pulling the thread to the back, take a look at your thread and see which side you started wrapping around the needle. If it starts wrapping from the left, like it is in the photo above, hold the loose end of the thread on the same side, and vice versa.

I found that this will help straighten out the bulb so it sits right on top of the straight section. If your thread is too loose though, it won’t help so be sure you’re giving it the right amount of tension as you finish the stitch.

Alternative Method

If you haven’t already noticed, the pistil stitch is really a combination of the straight stitch and french knot so you can also create it using those two stitches. The method above cuts out a step and is a bit faster.

Simply create a straight stitch. Start it where you’d like the bulb to end up. So, in my flower below, I want the bulb to be on the outside so I’ll begin the straight stitch from there and return to the back at the center.

pink thread creating a straight stitch

Then come up where you’d like to place the bulbous part and add a french knot.

thread wrapped around needle

The result looks just like the pistil stitch. That is it!

4 pistil stitches

Pistil Stitch Video Tutorial

As always, enjoy the video tutorial!

Back to blog