Posted by in Makes on Jun 24, 2019 .


One of the trickiest aspects of embroidery to start with is knowing how to transfer a design onto fabric. There are a number of ways to do it, depending on the type and colour of fabric you are using and the complexity of your design. Here are some methods:




If you are using a light coloured fabric that's quite thin you can trace your design through your fabric. You can use a pencil but if you want to be able to remove the lines easily the best is to use a wipe-off marker pen. These pens make light blue lines, which disappear with a small spray of water once you no longer need them to be on your fabric. You can simply trace the design from paper onto your fabric - to see the lines through the fabric it helps if you tape the paper and fabric onto a window or use a light box. 


Heat transfer

Iron-on pens like the Sublime Stitching fine-line pen are great for transferring designs onto darker fabric that cannot be traced through. For this method you need the reversed version of your design, printed onto paper.  Then simply trace over the lines on your paper, taking care because the lines are not erasible. Using a hot dry iron, warm up your fabric first before putting the paper ink side down onto the fabric.  Slowly iron over the top of  the paper, being careful not to move the paper.  I've found, depending on the fabric you use, that you can get 2-3 transfers from the same tracing. The lines created are fine enough to stitch over with 2 strands of embroidery thread. You can also use the heat transfer method with iron-on pencils, although your line won't be as fine or defined.


Carbon Transfer Paper

This method works well for light and dark fabrics - you just need to choose a colour of carbon paper that will show up on your fabric. The trick with this method is to make sure that your fabric is on a hard surface. Then place the carbon paper, powder side down, onto your fabric and the design over the top. Using a sharp pencil, biro or tracing stylus, trace over the design.


Sticky Fabri Solvy

Sticky Fabri Solvy is a printable, self adhesive stabiliser.  You print or draw your design onto it then simply stitck it to your fabric and stitch over the top. When you've finished, put your fabric in cold water and the stabiliser disolves away completely. This method is particularly useful for intricate designs or when embroidering onto felt or other fabrics that are difficult to draw onto. Check beforehand that your fabric is OK to be submerged in water and that the threads you are using are run-proof (DMC embroidery threads are).


Free hand

If your design is simple or if you're confident drawing you can free-hand draw onto your fabric. For light coloured fabric you can use a pencil (but the lines won't come off easily) or a wipe-off marker. For darker fabrics, a wash off white fine line marker works well - the white lines take a few moments to develop so don't be surprised if you can't see them straight away :)


Got a question about pattern transfer? Get in touch!

Posted by in Makes on Jun 13, 2019 .

Do you fancy stitching along with me this Summer to make this embroidery sampler?

Below you'll find our free pattern to stitch this botanical beauty. The design involves 10 stitches, from easy to more advanced but everyone can join in, from beginners to pros!

If you'd like to join us, over the next few weeks starting on 22nd June, every weekend I'll be sharing a video on Instagram and Facebook, showing you how to stitch each botanical element. I'll also be covering how to transfer the design onto your fabric and how to frame your finished piece.

I'm hoping this will be the perfect project to take with you on your summer adventures and that we can learn together and share our work #summerstitchalong.

You can stitch the sampler in any colour combination with the threads you already have in your stash but, if you'd like to use the colours I have, you can find everything in our shop or we have a special bundle with all the supplies I'm using. If you are using your own supplies, you'll need:


A4 sized piece of fabric (approx 21x30cm or 8.3x11.7 inchesI like to have 2 so I can double up for extra stability)

7 colours of stranded cotton embroidery thread (or you could use more or less, depending on what you fancy). I used DMC 791, 825, 834, 321, 415, 680 and Blanc). We'll be using 2 strands for most of the stitches.

A hoop to embroider (I like to use a 5" one)

A way to transfer the pattern (I've been using an iron-on pen but if your fabric is light enough you can trace it)

An emboidery needle (I like a size 7)

An oval hoop to mount the finished piece (12.5x23cm)

A printed copy of the pattern below

embroidery scissors


I really hope you'll join me in this Summer stitch-along!  Please get in touch if you have questions.


Grow pattern - normal (for carbon paper or tracing transfer)

 Grow pattern reversed (for iron-on transfer)

Posted by in Makes on Mar 20, 2019 .

It's the first day of Spring and it's time to shake off all the dark and embrace all things bright and beautiful! 

Here's a project to bring some fresh greens to your home. It involves a bit of applique with wool felt and embroidery with straight, chain and whipped back stitches. 


You will need:

   Essex Linen in Ivory

   wipe off transfer pen

   7" embroidery hoop

   DMC stranded cotton thread in blanc, 310, 317 and 700. All stitching is done with 2 strands  of thread.

   embroidery needle

   100% wool felt (I used Baize, Popeye's Gal and Forest)


   Small, sharp scissors


  Be Lucky free downloadable pattern and guide


What to do

1. Start by transfer the design (all except the green clover leaves) onto your Essex Linen fabric by putting the fabric over the pattern and tracing the lines using a wipe off transfer pen.

2. Stitch the 'be happy' with DMC 310 using a chain stitch.

3. Trace the green clover shapes onto the Bondaweb, cut roughly around the Bondaweb and iron onto the felt pieces.

4. Cut arround each shape and then remove the paper from the Bondaweb. With the Bondaweb-side down, iron the clover shapes onto your fabric in the correct locations. If you like, you can add a whipped stitch around the clover leaves.

5. Add the white detailing to the clover leaves using DMC Blanc and a straight stitch.

6. Add the dots around the clover leaves using French knots and DMC 700.

7. Stitch round the circle using DMC 317 and a back stitching. Then add a whipped stitch to the back stitch using DMC Blanc.

8. With a damp cloth, remove any pen lines you can see.

9. Centre your fabric carefully in your embroidery hoop and when you are happy tighten the screw as much as you can . Trim around the hoop, leaving a 2cm border. To gather the excess fabric behind the hoop, use a running stitch all the way round the circle of fabric and pull tight.

10. Hang your masterpiece and feel the luck flow to you!

Posted by on Feb 08, 2019 .

February is the month of love and I think it's also really important to look after ourselves so what could be better than learning a new skill? My friends over at the Charles and Elin Academy have 2 wonderful on-line architectural embroidery masterclasses, where you can learn via their step-by-step videos how to use hand embroidery and thread painting to learn the skills to turn your favourite buildings into beautiful works of art. Charles and Ein are embroidery artists who's passion and enthusiasm for teaching inspiring. And they are ridiculously cute and in love! Their courses are perfect if you'd like to try something different with your embroidery and create your own piece to be proud of. And, to make things easy we have teamed up with Charles and Elin to provide kits with the materials you'll need for the classes.

From 8-14th February 2019 they have a special bundle offer on both courses. Hop over and take a look and please let me know if you try it!


Posted by in New in the shop on Oct 19, 2018 .

I'm so excited to announce the launch of our new kids' embroidery brand called StitchPop. StitchPop aims to inspire kids to pick up a needle, chill out and learn something new. It's something very close to my heart and a project we've been working on for 2 years now so we could get it just right!

Our first 3 kits, called ‘Party Animals’, have been designed by Sophie Simpson, author and needlework Queen behind What Delilah Did. They have been road-tested by kids and contain all the top-notch supplies needed to make learning embroidery fun and frustration-free.

These embroidery sampler kits each teach 5 stitches as you get the animals dressed up for their party. They are aimed at kids aged 8+ (although big kids love them too!). The designs and stitches are printed onto cotton fabric and we have space in the balloons for getting creative and practising new stitches. They come with the perfect sized needle, a needle threader, hoop and 15 colours of DMC Perle cotton (no separating strands required!), so kids can choose the colours they want to use, just like colouring in. And, because we know that instructions are often not written with kids in mind, we have beautifully illustrated instruction booklets, with clear step-by-step diagrams for each stitch.

I hope you and the children in your life like them!

Are you dreaming of sunny days in the garden or by the pool with nothing to do except stitch? Well, these new kits by the Make Arcade could be your perfect companions! They are a selection of bright and beautiful cross stitch and embroidery kits, all bang on trend.  


They contain all the supplies you need and instructions so you can get going straight away, making them perfect for beginners and crafting pros.  

And, the best bit? They are designed and assembled here in the UK by the fabulous Ruth Oliver, who I met earlier this year and is really lovely. I totally want her in my Girl Gang!

Posted by on Dec 06, 2017 .


I was recently sent a brand new embroidery book to enjoy. It's called 'Mandalas to Embroider - Kaleidoscope Stitching in a hoop' and it's the 3rd book by the queen of bright, beautiful stitching, Carina Envoldsen-Harris. It's an inspiring book if you are looking to do some meditative hand stitching, with lots of gorgeous photos to get you in the mood.




There are 24 designs in the book - 12 larger and 12 smaller ones. The great thing is that the small ones fit Dandelyne 5.5cm mini hoops perfectly if you want to display your finished piece in a tiny hoop. They would also work well in our round mini wooden display frames. They book would suit beginners and more experienced stitchers - there are 10 different embroidery stitches to use and each is really well explained with clear diagrams. You could easily follow the instructions to the letter and end up with a beautiful piece but Carina encourages readers to experiment to come up with their unique piece using different colours and stitches.

Apart from the beatiful, insipiring mandalas the thing I like the most about this book is that every design (as well as a hidden bonus one!) is available in the book as an iron-on template. This means that all the designs can be simply ironed onto your fabric, saving you the hassle of transferring the design by hand. Fab!



You can buy this gorgeous book directly from Carina, where you'll get a signed copy, and I'm sure lots of good book shops will also carry it. I'm sure it would be a very well received gift for a stitchy friend or a lovely Christmas treat for yourself!

Posted by on Nov 26, 2017 .

After years, DMC have released 35 new colours of stranded cotton thread and they are all lovely!  These new colours include lots of modern greys and browns, some pastels and greens, and delicious fuschias and deep purples. And, at the moment, you can get the whole set of 35 new colours in a beautiful gold collectors tin.

So, now that there are 500 colours to choose there's bound to be the perfect shades for your project!

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