Bulls Head Stitch embroidery

Bulls Head Stitch

Bulls Head Stitch is a detached stitch from the Chain stitch family. The method of this embroidery technique varies. Some authors combine a Fly Stitch with a single Detached Chain stitch. Others combine two Straight stitches made at a 45-degree angle with a single Detached Chain stitch. In each case, the final result looks the same, and you can tell the difference only from the back side of the embroidery.

Other names of the stitch

This stitch is also known as Buffalo Stitch, Ox Head, Ox-horn Stitch, Tete de Boeuf Stitch, or Head of the Bull Stitch.

Bulls head stitch embroidery with green pearl cotton
Bulls Head Stitch embroidery with pearl cotton thread
Bulls head stitch embroidery with green pearl cotton rear side
Rear side of the Bulls Head Stitch embroidery

Applications of the Bulls Head Stitch

Tete de Boeuf Stitch is a decorative detached stitch that can be used alone for small details in surface embroidery.

Besides that, you can use various ways to group the stitches to create interesting surface patterns and intricate filling designs. Place the stitches in rows, alternate rows, or group them at the angle to achieve various patterns and textures.

Another option to use the Ox Head stitch is to combine it with other small decorative stitches like French knots, Bullion Stitch, or Lazy Daisy to create repetitive floral motives for decorative borders.

More stitches from the Chain stitch family

Learn how to embroider Bulls Head Stitch

Follow the step-by-step tutorial with detailed photos below, and you will quickly learn the Bulls Head Stitch. If you are a visual learner, watch a video lesson in the tutorial or on the Practical Embroidery YouTube channel to learn this hand embroidery stitch faster.

Bulls head stitch embroidery small image

How to embroider Bulls Head Stitch

Step-by-step hand embroidery tutorial


1. Take the needle to the fabric’s surface and make a stitch to the right. Leave the loop of the working thread open.

Bulls head stitch embroidery step1

2. Take the needle up between the ends of the starting stitch to form a V. Pull all the thread to the surface and tighten the loop.

Bulls head stitch embroidery step2

3. Take the needle down to the same hole and leave a loop open.

Bulls head stitch embroidery step3

4. Push the needle up one stitch below to form a Chain Stitch. Pass the needle inside the loop and tighten it to create a chain.

Bulls head stitch embroidery step5

5. Take the needle down to anchor the Chain Stitch you formed.

Bulls head stitch embroidery step4

6. Alternatively, you can make two Straight stitches to form a V shape.

Tete de Boeuf Stitch step1

7. Then, add a Chain stitch to form the Bulls Head stitch.

Tete de Boeuf Stitch step2

Video tutorial

Tools and materials I used for this sampler

Disclaimer. To cover the cost of creating free embroidery patterns and video tutorials for this blog, I do sometimes link to products. Please assume these links are affiliate links. If you choose to buy through my links then THANK YOU – it will make it possible for me to keep doing this.

Embroidery fabric cotton linen neutral colors Etsy
Embroidery fabric
DMC Pearl Cotton #8 thread on Etsy
DMC Pearl Cotton #8
Beechwood embroidery hoops Etsy
Embroidery hoop
Bohin Embroidery Needles Etsy
Bohin Embroidery Needles
Embroidery Scissors Etsy
Embroidery Scissors

What’s next?

If you’re in the mood to explore more hand embroidery stitches, check out the Stitches and Techniques page for the list of other fantastic stitches available on my blog. From timeless classics to modern twists, a whole world of stitches is waiting for you to explore and master. So, grab your hoop and needle, and let’s stitch our way to creative bliss!

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Need More Guidance?

The top 10 hand embroidery stitches to learn is a free online course created for beginners.

White sashiko stitches on purple fabric