Curve Stitching

Curve stitching utilizes basic geometric forms, making curves and circles out of straight lines. Order and symmetry are the basis of its appeal. Young children of ages 4 to 5 are able to be successful stitching angles. Once they have learned the technique they can begin stitching the individual angles of simple geometric shapes like triangles and squares. Older children can create much more elaborate designs from the perfect curves they stitch. This work aids in the development of the hands and forms a basis for mathematical understanding. This can be a very exciting art form, and is adaptable to other artistic media.


  • posterboard oe fadeless paper (approximately 6" square)
  • pencil
  • ruler
  • push pin
  • small carpet squares
  • thread (2 or 3 strands of embroidery floss is very effective)
  • needle
  • scissors

The child begins by drawing any angle (acute, right, or obtuse) with arms of equal length on a square of poster board. The teacher marks each line at 1/2" intervals. Placing a small carpet square under the card, the child can use the push pin to prick holes through the markings. The teacher can number the holes along each arm, starting with one at the vertex of the angle on one arm and, reversing the numbers on the second arm, so that the highest number is closest to the vertex.

For the young child, the teacher can thread the needle and knot the end, or tape it to the back of the card. The child can sew, coming up in #1 on the bottom line and going down in one on the top line. Next the child comes up through #2 on the top line and down through #2 on the bottom line. She continues up through #3 on the bottom line and down through #3 on the top line, etc. The result will give a beautiful perfect curve.
After the children have learned the basic technique, they can use smaller spacing intervals, 1/4" and later 1/8" divisions of the angle arms. The closer spacing results in a more perfect curve.

Writing numbers on the back of the card gives a more finished product. After awhile, the children no longer need to number their holes because they know the pattern.

Once they can stitch angles well, they enjoy stitching multiple angles of a triangle or square. Stitching the opposite angles of s square results in a "football" pattern.

Having learned the technique, they can apply it creatively to work out designs using any shapes that have equal sides. They can use different color thread for each curve, or work out other pleasing color combinations. They can even use nails and wire to make their designs.