Economy Stitch

Schematic drawing of the economy stitch. Schematic drawing of the economy stitch. Drawing by Martin Hense.

Economy stitch is a synonym for a one-sided satin stitch, whereby the embroidery thread is mainly used on the obverse of the cloth, rather than also covering the reverse as with the satin stitch. This stitch was chosen for economic purposes, since less thread is used than with the normal satin stitch.

Amoroso Leslie (2007:188) refers to it as the 'New England economy stitch", because it "used less thread than the method used in Britain" (i.e. a satin stitch, whereby both the obverse and reverse of the ground cloth are covered by the embroidery thread). However, in a booklet about plain needlework published in 1852, there is a reference to the "economy stitch" (i.e. a one-sided satin stitch; p. 55). This booklet was prepared for the National and Industrial Schools of the Holy Trinity, Finchley (London). So at least in the nineteenth century this term would appear to be used in both North America and Britain, and possibly in other English speaking countries.


  • ANON (1852), Plain Needle-Work, in all its Branches: with full directions for shirt, shift, frock, and boys’ dress-making; cutting-out and repairing; marking, knitting, and fine-drawing; netting and various other sorts of fancy-work, in thread, worsted, etc. The Finchley Manuals of Industry, no IV, London: Joseph Masters.
  • LESLIE, Catherine Amoroso (2007). Needlework through History: An Encyclopedia, Westport (Connecticut): Greenwood Press.


Last modified on Tuesday, 14 March 2017 21:43