We have a very sweet collaboration for you! We've teamed up with Rebecca Baxter from 'A Stitch In Time Malvern' to bring you the supplies kit to make her hand stitched Tuppenny Mice. At just 7cm high, these little mice are the perfect gift to tell someone you love them or that you think they're a star.
Rebecca has had a lifetime obsession with sewing and making, inspired and encouraged by her wonderful mum. Together they started selling their creations at craft fairs. There they noticed that the teeny cute things sold best, so started working on designs for little mice. She wanted them to stand up by themselves and be easy to dress and after a lot of trial and error she finally created a pattern she was happy with and the Tuppenny mice were born. The mice went on to became a bit of a sensation at craft fairs – they were immediately bestsellers and have remained so ever since.
Rebecca's Tuppenny Mice have popped up in many and varied places, from school classrooms and special mouse houses to the top of celebration cakes and, best of all, (since she is a Jane Austen fan), a pair of Tuppenny Mice in Regency costume now live in the National Trust Jane Austen House Museum!
Realising that others may also enjoy making these little mice, Rebecca now sells PDF patterns for them in her Etsy shop. When she contacted me to see if we could work together to make crafting these easier, I was delighted to be involved. We've put together all the 100% wool felt, DMC threads and felt shapes to make 2 sweet mice - one with a heart and one with a star. They are quick and satisfying to make and would be the perfect gift for Valentine's or Galentine's Day! 💖
Learn how to do Bargello as you make this rainbow-inspired pincushion! It's a perfect introduction to this modern needlework method because it's small, while also useful. After all, who couldn't use an extra pincushion on hand?
Bargello isn't a new technique, but it is newly popular again. And it's no wonder because the designs are eye-catching and it's so fun to do. What makes this method unique is the long stitches worked to form bold patterns with tapestry wool. And because it uses this yarn for the stitches, it comes together quickly.
For our sample, we used a folk color palette that makes a non-traditional rainbow, but you can select colors that make your own favorite style of rainbow…or try alternating a color or two with a neutral.
Once you get the hang of Bargello, there are so many designs you can try and projects to make!
Tools and Supplies
- 10-count tapestry canvas (12-count will also work, and will make your project smaller)
- DMC tapestry wools in a rainbow of 7 shades (we used DMC 7666, 7005, 7506, 7363, 7347, 7860, and 7375)
- Large tapestry needle
- 100% wool felt (we used Cherry Jam)
- Sewing machine (optional)
- Pincushion filling (we used Polyester Toy Filling)
- Needle and thread
- Free Bargello pincushion pattern PDF
Starting with the center colour of the bargello pattern, cut a piece of tapestry wool about as long as your forearm. Thread your tapestry needle.
TIP: If you're finding it hard to thread the needle, try pinching the very end of the yarn and pushing it through the needle eye.
Hold a short tail of yarn on the back of the canvas and begin stitching the lines marked on the pattern. Each line represents one stitch.
As you stitch a section, always work from either top to bottom OR bottom to top. Doing this creates full coverage of the canvas on the front and back, which is what you want. And as you stitch, be sure to cover the starting tail.
To end a piece of tapestry wool, slide the needle and working yarn under the previous stitches before snipping off the extra yarn.
Once the center is finished, begin adding rounds of stitches, following the colors on the chart. Start and end the new piece of yarn the same as in step 1.
When the ends of two colors meet, they both go through the same hole in the canvas.
Continue adding rounds of color, always pulling the stitches taut but not too tight.
Some of the rounds have longer stitches, but to avoid extra-long stitches, some have lines made up of several stitches. On those sections of the pattern, you can see where the lines are broken to show the stitches.
Trim the canvas down so there's about four squares of canvas around the edges.
Cut a piece of wool felt to match the size of the tapestry canvas. Pin the felt to the front of the stitched canvas, leaving a section on one side unpinned to leave open when sewing.
TIP: If you want to fill your pincushion with a finer filler, such as ground walnut shells, add a layer of fabric or felt to the wrong side of the stitching. This will prevent tiny filler bits from coming out through the stitched canvas.
Starting on the side that will have the opening, sew around the pincushion on a sewing machine. Make the opening about 6cm wide.
Use a small stitch length and stitch as close to your bargello stitching as possible. Back stitch at the beginning and end to secure the stitches.
If you don't have a sewing machine, you can sew around the square by hand. Use a doubled thread to stitch with running stitch, going through every square of the canvas. Next, go back and fill in the gaps of stitching with a second line of running stitch so that the seam is secure.
Trim the corners to reduce bulk, but don't cut too close to your stitching. It's better for it to be a little fuller than for the stitches to get cut.
Turn the pincushion right side out. Use the eraser end of a pencil or a chopstick to poke the corners into shape.
Add filler to your pincushion. Make it as full as you can so that the pincushion is firm.
Fold the two open edges in and use a needle and thread to sew the opening shut. Use whip stitch, taking two stitches for each square of the canvas. These tiny stitches will ensure that your filler doesn't com out!
All you have left to do is add some pins to your Bargello pincushion!
Pincushions are always useful because you can keep one in every spot where you do needlework. They aren't just for holding pins by your sewing machine—you can use them to hold pins for small hand-sewing projects or pre-threaded needles for your embroidery.
With thanks to Mollie Johanson for this tutorial.
Keep your needles safe and sound inside this needlepoint needle book! A great way to learn needlepoint, this project uses plastic canvas, three colours and two simple needlepoint stitches to create an adorable gingham design. Making a new stitching accessory is always fun, and having a place to hold your needles is always smart.
The pattern for the gingham stitching is easy to remember so you don't need to keep looking at a chart. Plus, it's a pretty fast project, so you can make these for all your stitching friends, and maybe even pair it with a magnetic needle minder and a fresh pack of needles.
Tools and Supplies
- 10-count plastic canvas
- Tapestry wool in 3 gingham-friendly shades (we used DMC 7666, 7005, and Ecru)
- tapestry needle
- 40cm of Thin Ribbon
- Glue like Hi-Tack glue
- 20x30cm piece of 100% wool felt (we used Strawberry Field)
- Embroidery Thread (we used DMC 817)
- Embroidery needle
Cut a piece of the deepest shade of tapestry wool to about as long as your forearm. Thread your tapestry needle.
TIP: If you're finding it hard to thread the needle, try pinching the very end of the yarn and pushing it through the needle eye.
Starting in the corner of your plastic canvas, bring the needle up through the farthest hold to the left and the second row down. Go back down one hole to the right and in the top row. This makes one angled tent stitch.
Hold a short tail of yarn on the back of the plastic canvas.
Come back up in the hole directly below the stitch, then make another angled tent stitch, working into the hole one over and on the top row.
As you make the first row of tent stitches, make sure that the back of the stitches are going over the little tail on the back. This secures the yarn without trying to tie a knot (which would just pull through the holes).
For the first block of the gingham pattern, make four tent stitches, then work back and forth to form a total of four rows.
You can carry the yarn to the next square of the gingham design, but when you want to end off a piece of yarn, slide the needle through the back of a few stitches.
Similarly, when you want to start a new piece of yarn, you can stitch over the tail or slide it through the back of a few existing stitches.
Make the next block in the medium shade of tapestry wool. Stitch seven angled stitches, with the first like a tent stitch, then growing longer and then shorter again. All together they form a square called Scottish stitch.
Alternate between the deepest shade with tent stitch and the medium shade with scottish stitch for the first row, making a total of 11 squares.
For the next row, alternate between the medium shade with scottish stitch and the lightest shade with tent stitch.
Repeat these two rows twice, ending with a row like the first. You should have seven rows all together.
Cut around the design, trimming the plastic canvas close enough to the edge of the stitches that there aren't any grid bits sticking out. Be careful not to cut too much which weakens the plastic and could even cut your stitches.
Whip stitch around the edge of the rectangle.
Stitch through the corners three times so there's a stitch on each side and one directly on the corner. This will cover the plastic canvas well.
Centre the ribbon going across the back of the needlepoint and glue it at the ends and near the center.
Cut a 7x11cm piece of felt, then cut it in half. Glue it onto the back of the needlepoint, lining up the outside edges. There will be a small gap in the middle.
Using 3 strands of embroidery thread and a sharp embroidery needle, stitch through the felt, ribbon and the plastic canvas to secure the layers. The glue holds it a little, but this helps it last without tugging as you use the needle book.
Cut two pieces of felt for the pages. Make one 7x10cm and the other 7x9.5cm. Lay the smaller one centered on the larger one.
Place the pages in the centre of the needle book cover and use a needle and embroidery thread to stitch through the pages and the cover.
As you go through the cover, make sure you are stitching through the holes in the plastic canvas and not through the plastic. Your stitches should be centered and evenly spaced on the grid.
Go through the pages and cover several times, then secure the end of your embroidery floss with a knot between the pages and the cover.
You should have a long stitch in the middle of the pages and one on the outside of the cover.
Fill the pages with needles, organising the pages by the different types of needles you use: sharps for embroidery, tiny quilting needles, ballpoint cross stitch needles, and more!
Tie your needle book closed with a simple bow at the side.
Many thanks to Mollie Johanson for this tutorial.
What could be better than giving crafters gifts that they'll treasure? If you're looking for thoughtful, hand-picked treats that won't be end up at the charity shop in January then you've come to the right place! We have sackfuls of gift ideas for embroiderers, cross stitchers and makers and we have lots of creative stocking fillers too.
Embroidery tools to delight
Embroidery hoop stand - so versatile and a life saver for those who get sore hands or when you need to stitch hands free.
Wooden emboidery box for organising all your hoops, fabrics and threads.
An extra special treat - a selection box of the best needles in the world!
If you're not sure what to get, we've put together carefully curated sets of our loveliest products.
And the perfect gift for those who like trying new hobbies - the Sashiko embroidery gift set.
If you're looking for some little treats that will fit into a stocking, we've got you covered too!
The best needle threader ever!
And some mini kits, like this sweet embroidered rainbow necklace kit.
Have you heard of Bargello? It's a a needlework technique dating back to Florence in the 1600s (it's also known as Florentine embroidery). It saw a massive revival in the 1960s and 70s, where the trend saw this stitching on clothes, interiors, tablecloths and bed linens. Groovy! In the last couple of years it's seen a revival. If you want to have a go at this addictive craft, Nerissa Pratt has just released a beautiful book, called Bargello, which will teach you all you need to know to get started.
I've been sent a copy of the book to review. The first thing I was drawn to is the gorgeous, fresh palette Nerissa uses. The book assumes you are a complete beginner and takes you through all the steps to get started. The good news is that you don't need many supplies - some tapestry wool, a needle, plastic canvas or tapestry canvas will get you well on your way. There are 17 lovely projects to choose from but I would say that this is more than just a project book - Nerissa also covers the importance of swatching, how to choose colours and designing your own patterns.
There are no bell bottom flares or embroidered waistcoats in this book! All the projects make useful, practical and beautiful items, like bags, cushions and wall hangings. There are also some inspiring upcycling projects that are definitely on my list to make.
We have a copy of this lovely book to give away - just leave a comment below or on our Instagram post about the book, before 29th November 2021, when we will draw winner at random and will announce it on our Instagram page on 30th November. Good luck, groovy friends!
All but first image are taken from Bargello by Nerrisa Pratt (£15, Quardrille), photography by Sarah Hogan.
Add some handcrafted Scandinavian flare to your tree with these adorable embroidered felt ornaments! Celebrating our favourite craft, they feature little embroidery thread bobbins and a sparkly embroidery hoop fit for Christmas.
What stitcher doesn't want these ornaments for their festive decor?!?
With thanks to Mollie Johanson for this tutorial.
It can be tricking cutting small felt pieces or stiff materials like our glitter felt, so for this project we recommend using freezer paper. For this technique you trace templates on the paper, the iron the paper onto your felt. Instead of fiddling with a pinned on paper that moves or felt pen lines that are not always easy to remove, the freezer paper holds in place until you peel it away. So simple!
With a few basic stitches, you can whip up a whole batch of these sweet little decorations for yourself or a friend.
Tools and Supplies
- Freezer Paper
- Wool Felt (we used Strawberry Field, Artichoke, and Brand Spanking White)
- Gold Glitter Felt
- Tissue Paper (optional: Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy or wipe-off pen)
- DMC embroidery thread (we used 321, 892, 3820, 470, and ecru)
- Embroidery Scissors
- Embroidery needle
- Extra-Long Brad Paper Fastener
- Hi-Tack glue
- Scandi Folk Craft Ornaments Pattern PDF - download here
Print the pattern page, then trace the pieces on the non-shiny side of the freezer paper, grouping them by the felt colors you're using. You will need one rectangle and two bobbin pieces for each embroidery thread bobbin ornament. You will need two hoop pieces, two circles, and one tree shape for each embroidery hoop ornament.
Iron the freezer paper onto the felt. If you're using glitter felt, iron the freezer paper to the back of the felt, not the glitter side.
Cut out all of the felt pieces on the traced template lines. Peel away the freezer paper.
Step 4 - Make the bobbins
To make the embroidery thread bobbins, trace the embroidery designs onto tissue paper. You only need to embroider one bobbin piece for each ornament.
Use three strands of embroidery thread and satin stitch for the little hearts, lazy daisy for the leaves, and French knots for the dots (you can find instructions for these stitches here). Tear away the tissue paper.
Note: You can also transfer the design by drawing it directly onto the felt using a wipe-off pen, or you could use Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy (if you use Solvy, don't forget to pre-shrink the felt before you cut out the pieces!).
Hold the stitched bobbin and the plain bobbin together and whip stitch around the edges with matching thread.
Wrap the rectangle around the bobbin and stitch the ends together with matching thread.
Cut a piece of matching embroidery thread that's a little longer than your full arm. Tie a knot in one end and thread a needle on the other end.
Bring the thread up through the back of the wrapped bobbin.
Gently wrap the embroidery thread around the bobbin, just as you would on a regular bobbin.
On the back, stitch through the wrapped felt and secure the end with a knot hidden under the felt.
Thread a needle with three strands of embroidery thread about 20cm long. Slide the needle through the back of the bobbin, going through just one layer of felt.
Tie the ends of the thread together at the length you want the ornament to be, then trim the ends.
Step 5 - Make the embroidery hoop
Stitch the tree onto one circle of felt, using three strands of embroidery thread and running stitch around the edge.
Trace the tree embroidery designs onto tissue paper and place the tissue on top of the tree and circle. The heart should sit on the top of the tree.
Embroider the designs using three strands of embroidery thread. Use satin stitch for the heart, lazy daisy for the leaves, back stitch for the stem, and straight stitches for the stars.
If you want to customize the back of your ornament, you can add a date or a message to the second felt circle.
Tear away the tissue paper.
Place the stitched circle centered behind one of the glitter felt hoops. Stitch around the inside of the hoop and through the felt circle using tiny whip stitches. Repeat with the second circle and hoop.
Hold the two hoop pieces together with the wrong sides facing each other. Stitch around the outer edge of the hoop with whip stitch. Stop when you get to the top tightening bracket area.
Use craft glue to hold the paper fastener between the felt layers that make the bracket. This makes the tightening screw that embroidery hoops have.
Finish whip stitching around the top of the bracket area.
Add an embroidery thread hanger in the same way you did for the thread bobbins.
Now you have a set of embroidery-themed ornaments to hang on your tree or give to a friend! They also make adorable gift toppers, which you really could use any time of the year.
You can easily customize the ornaments by using your favorite colors of felt and embroidery thread on the bobbins, or changing out what you stitch inside the embroidery hoop.
Do you want to show your wardrobe some love? Do you want to give new life to worn items? Learn how to embroider on your clothes with this easy project! We'll show you how it's done, with top tips to help make sure your designs stay beautiful for a long time. With thanks to Mollie Johanson for this tutorial.
Just a few simple stitches can customize a cuddly hoodie. Embroidered clothes are a common find in shops, but it's so much fun to craft your own special pieces. From complete beginners to seasoned embroidery pros, everyone can have a go at making their own bespoke creation to wear.
We have a star design for you to start with, but you can use your favourite embroidery pattern with this tutorial as well. Just be sure to choose embroidery thread that's a similar fibre to what you're stitching on, and then secure those ends so your bespoke clothes last for a long, long time.
Tools and Supplies
- Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy
- Pre-Washed Clothing Item
- Embroidery Hoop - a 5" hoop works well for this design
- Embroidery Thread (we used 892, 3340, and 3820)
- Embroidery Scissors
- Embroidery Needle
- Filled Star Pattern PDF - available to download here
The easiest way to embroider a pattern on clothing is with Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. This is a self-adhesive stabiliser that you can print your design directly onto. You stick the printed design onto your fabric, stitch over the top and then you can remove it with water. Magic!
Fabri-Solvy is quite an expensive product so this handy method will help you use every little bit of it. Print the embroidery pattern on printer paper, then cut a piece of Fabri-Solvy that's a little larger than the embroidery design. Tape the Fabri-Solvy to the printed page on top of the design, then print it again, making sure that you print on draft mode. You now have the design printed onto your Fabri-Solvy.
It's no problem if you don't have any Fabri-Solvy; you can freehand fill the star, or any other shape, onto your clothes. Simply cut out the shape template and trace around it on your clothing item with a water-soluble marking pen.
When embroidering on clothing, it's important to consider where the embroidery will be when you're wearing it. It can even be helpful to try on the item and place the embroidery pattern exactly where you want it. With the Fabri-Solvy, you can peel off the backing and stick it in place.
Once you're happy with the placement, loosen the screw on your embroidery hoop so that it can easily slide over the clothing you're stitching. If you're stitching something stretchy, be careful not to stretch the material when placing it in the hoop. Some items with heavy or stiff fabric (such as denim) may not need an embroidery hoop as you work.
Tip: Fabri-Solvy acts as a fabric stabilizer, but if you are stitching on a thin fabric or something with a loose knit you can also add a layer of lightweight stabilizer behind your embroidery so that your stitches stay in shape.
How you start and end your thread on clothing embroidery really matters because you don't want the stitching to come undone in the laundry. To make the thread secure, use knots and weave the tails.
To do this, start with a large knot that has a tail that's about 3 cm long. Start your first stitch by going through the fabric from back to front.
As you work your first few stitches, be sure that the back of your embroidery stitches are working over the starting tail. This helps hold everything in place.
Likewise, when you end a thread, tie a large knot close to the back of the fabric, then weave the tail through the back of several stitches before trimming it off.
Embroider away! For the filled star, we used lazy daisies, star stitch, and French knots. You can find easy stitch tutorials here.
One thing to consider when choosing stitches for your embroidered clothing is how delicate the stitches are. For example, longer satin stitches won't hold up well when they go through several wash cycles. This is also true for any stitch that has lots of large loops or loose elements. Small, sturdy stitches are a safer choice!
To remove the Fabri-Solvy, place it in a basin of warm (not hot!) water. Let it soak for a while until the Fabri-Solvy dissolves. If there are any little bits left under stitches, you can blast them with a bit more water.
Squeeze the excess water from your clothing (don't squeeze the embroidery though!) and then hang to dry. It can take a while for dense areas of embroidery to dry, but they'll get there!
If it needs an iron, you can pop a towel over the top of your embroidery so that the stitches don't get flattened. Your embroidered clothing is ready to wear!
To care for your hand-embroidered items, it's best to wash on the delicate setting with cool water. Of course, you can also hand wash clothing that you want to keep in the best condition possible. That said, for everyday embellished items, you can just toss them in with a regular load of laundry and they usually fair pretty well.
Once you've started embellishing your clothes you may find it hard to stop. There's really no end to the ways you can customise things. You can even use embroidery to cover stains or small holes. Grab a new hoodie or a tired pair of jeans and start stitching!
Keep your Snipsters safe and protected with a handmade scissor keeper! Embroidery scissors are a vital tool for embroiders, cross stitchers, and hand sewing fans, so keeping them in good condition while protecting your project from sharp points is so important.
With a few embroidery stitches and some felt appliqué, you can make your own embroidery scissors cover.
The Scandinavian styling on this felt case is inspired by our Snipster Heart embroidery scissors, but other scissors of similar size (such as small stork scissors) will also fit. You can also enlarge the pattern so that your scissors fit well within the smaller template piece.
To make it easy to mark the embroidery pattern and cut out the small felt pieces, we used Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy, which is a great tool to keep handy for any embroidery projects.
Tools and Supplies
- 1 sheet of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy
- Sticky tape
- 100% Wool Felt sheets (we used Petroleum, Popeye's Gal, Sorbet, and Brand Spanking White)
- 5mm scallop edged scissors (optional)
- DMC Embroidery thread (we used 892, 472, 3820, and ecru)
- Embroidery scissors
- Embroidery needle
- Scandi Folk Scissor Keeper Pattern PDF
Print the pattern page on regular paper. Next, cut a piece of Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy that's a little larger than the embroidery design, then tape it over the pattern. Run the pattern page through your printer again, this time making sure that you print on draft mode.
Cut out the smaller scissor keeper template and pin it onto felt. Use scallop scissors to cut out the piece. Cut close to the template so the scallops show around the pattern piece.
Cut out the larger scissor keeper template and cut two pieces out of felt. Next cut one of the pieces apart on the line. Set all these pieces aside.
Trim away the excess Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Next, cut out the three large and two small flower shapes. Be careful not to cut through any of the rest of the pattern, which you'll use for the embroidery.
Peel and stick the embroidery pattern onto the smaller scissor keeper piece. Peel and stick the cut out flower shapes on the other felt pieces.
Cut out the felt flower pieces. Place the three large pieces in the spots where they were on the pattern. Set aside the small flowers.
Use three strands of embroidery thread for all the stitching. Embroider the long lazy daisy stitches on the large flowers. Stitch the stems on the flowers with chain stitch for the main stem and back stitch for the smaller stems.
Use fly stitch to form the scallop-shaped petals on the small flowers. Stitch the small leaves with lazy daisy stitch and work the tiny dots with French knots.
After all the embroidery is finished, soak the felt piece in cool water to dissolve the Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. It's important to use cool water so you don't shrink the wool felt.
Stitch down the edges of the felt flowers with small whip stitches.
Layer and pin the embroidered piece, the solid larger piece next, and the split larger piece on the back.
Thread a needle with three strands of embroidery thread and tie a knot. Come up through the top two layers of felt so the knot is hidden between the layers.
Stitch around the scalloped piece with running stitch, going through all three layers of felt. Keep the stitching close to the scallops.
Slide your embroidery scissors into the scissor keeper!
You can leave the top of the handles poking out, but when you are traveling with your scissors you can slip the top flap over them.
This is a beautiful accessory to make for yourself, but it's also a perfect gift to make for a crafty friend. You can make them a scissor keeper and give it with a new pair of Snipsters!
With many thanks to Mollie Johnason for this tutorial.
I'm so excited to show you our latest heirloom ornament kit - the Nutcraker Suite! Designed by me, the Nutcracker Soldier, Sugarplum Fairy and Mouse King are made with our range of top quality 100% wool felt. The have embroidered details, and sequin and glitter sparkles.
You can make this complete set of ornaments with our brand new kit, which includes a super-easy way to cut out your pattern pieces without having to transfer the design onto the felt. The kit comes in a box to store your heirloom treasures as well as a sweet Christmas card, in case you want to send them to someone special.
The kit is currently available for pre-order, shipping in the week of 4th October 2021, giving you plenty of time to enjoy making them before the big day. All pre-ordered kits will also come with some extra surprises and treats for you!
Here are 5 quick tips to get the most out of your 100% wool felt.
Do you have any top tips for using 100% wool felt? We'd love to hear them -please let me know in the comments!
If you've ever wanted to learn embroidery but aren't sure where to start we've got you covered! This is the ultimate beginner's guide to 13 embroidery stitches. With video instructions and a free downloadable pattern, you'll be on your way in no time. With huge thanks to Mollie Johanson, who produced this post and designed the pattern.
Embroidery is a delightful and easy craft to learn and it all starts with a few basic stitches. One of the best ways to jump into embroidery is with a stitch sampler. With a sampler you can try a bunch of stitches while making something to display on your wall (or make into another project).
With this sampler, you can learn and practice 13 different stitches which work up on 12 shapes. You can choose to arrange the stitches however you like and with as many or as few colors as you want. Additionally, we have four different sampler patterns for you to work with so there's no shortage of options for customizing your embroidery!
- Fabric (we used Essex Linen in Grey)
- Embroidery thread (we used DMC Ecru, 415, 892, 606, 740, 3828, 958, 3766, 334, and 517
- Wipe-off pen
- 10-inch embroidery hoop
- Embroidery needle (we used a size 3)
- Sampler pattern - link here
We have a kit with all the supplies here.
You will also need embroidery scissors.
Trace your sampler pattern on the fabric with a water-soluble pen. The easiest way to do this is to tape the printed pattern to a brightly lit window and then tape the fabric over it. Place the fabric in your embroidery hoop. Keep the fabric held taut, but make sure it's not stretched in a way that distorts the design.
Cut a piece of embroidery thread that's about the length from your elbow to fingertips. For this sampler, we used all six strands of thread. Hold the very end between your fingertips, squeezing it as you push it through the eye of your needle. Tie a knot at the other end of the thread. Yes, it really is okay to start and end with a knot!
Now it's time to try your first stitch! Work your way through the stitches in order, as they build on each other. You can also watch the sampler come together on video so you can see these stitches in action.
Straight stitch is the most basic stitch you can learn, and many stitches use this in one way or another. You can use this to make a single straight line (this is called running stitch - see below) or create a scattering of straight stitches to make what is called "seed stitch." Be careful not to make your stitches too long or they can easily get snagged and then pulled out of shape.
Come up through the fabric at point 1 and go back down at point 2. Repeat for each stitch.
Like a dashed line of thread, running stitch is as simple as going up and down through fabric. It's actually a lot like working straight stitches, but following a line! Running stitch is great for borders and accents, as well as forming more subtle outlines. Sashiko embroidery is a form of running stitch that has specific proportions.
Come up through the fabric at point 1 and go back down at point 2. Come up at point 3 and go down at point 4. Repeat as you follow the pattern line.
As the name suggests, when you work the back stitch, each stitch goes back in the opposite direction as the lines you're making. It's great for making outlines and you can use it on just about any embroidery pattern!
Come up at point 1 and go back down at point 2. Come up at point 3 and go back down at point 4, which should be the same hole as point 1. Repeat.
This stitch does just what it says: it splits stitches. The result is a solid outline on the front, while the back usually looks a lot like back stitch. To keep the line solid, try to actually pierce through the thread, rather than bringing the needle between the strands of thread.
Come up at point 1 and go down at point 2. Come up at point 3, halfway between points 1 and 2, splitting the previous stitch. Go down at point 4. Repeat.
Another good stitch for making outlines (or plant and flower stems!) is stem stitch. This stitch looks a bit like a tiny twisted rope and is good at handling curves. The trick is to always keep the working thread below the stitching line.
Come up at point 1, just a tiny bit above the stitching line. Go back down at point 2, just a tiny bit below the stitching line, keeping the working thread loose on the surface. Come up at point 3, just above the stitching line and halfway between points 1 and 2. Pull the stitch taut and go back down at point 4, just below the stitching line and keeping the working thread loose. Repeat.
There are lots of variations of chain stitch, including more than one way to work the basic version. And it really does look like a chain! This is the easiest method and it's sometimes called reverse chain stitch.
Make a small straight stitch. Come up at point 1 and slide the needle under the first stitch. Go back down at point 1. Come up at point 2, slide the needle under the previous stitch, and go back down at point 2. Repeat.
Lazy Daisy/Detached Chain
Similar to chain stitch, this is just one "link" in the chain. It's often called lazy daisy stitch, which refers to making a group of these as a flower. Working just one is known as a detached chain. To keep the flower petal shape, be careful not to pull the loop too tight.
Come up at point 1 and go back down at the same point, leaving a loop of thread on the surface. Come up at point 2, catching the loop of thread. Go down at point 3, tacking the stitch in place.
The way you form fly stitch is a lot like a detached chain stitch, but it's versatile and can take different forms. You can pull the first stitch tight with a small tacking stitch to make Vs, or with a long tacking stitch to make Ys. If you keep the first stitch looser you can make little scallops.
Come up at point 1 and go back down at point 2, leaving a loop of thread on the surface. Come up at point 3, catching the loop of thread. Go down at point 4, tacking the stitch in place.
These little knotted stitches often get a bad rap for being too hard, but with a bit of practice, you can make French knots! They are ideal for stitching small dots, but you can also use them to fill in an entire area.
Come up at point 1. Wrap the working thread around the needle two times. Partially insert the needle at point 2, which should be right next to point 1, but not the same hole. Hold the wrapped working thread taut (but not too tight!) around the needle as you draw it through the fabric.
Tip: Holding the working thread with your non-dominant hand helps keep the French knot tight and uniform in shape.
When you want to fill in an area with smooth, even texture, satin stitch is a beautiful choice. One thing to remember though is that if your stitches get too long, they can easily snag or even get a little loose.
Come up at point 1 and go back down at point 2. Come up at point 3 and back down at point 4. Repeat, always coming up on one side of the area and down on the other.
Tip: Often it helps keep the stitches straight if you start in the middle of the area you're filling and then work your way out on either side.
Similar to satin stitch, long-short stitch is useful for filling in solid areas. This version uses staggered stitches so you don't end up with stitches that get too long. You can work the stitches so they are uniform like bricks or with varying lengths more like sketched lines.
Start with a row of alternated long and short stitches. Fill in the gaps by coming up at 1 and back down at 2. Come up at 3 and down at 4. Repeat, working across the row.
Blanket stitch is commonly used as edging or to hold felt applique pieces in place, but it also works as a decorative embroidery stitch.
Come up at point 1. Go down at point 2, leaving a loop of thread on the surface. Come up at point 3, catching the loop of thread. Go down at point 4, leaving a loop of thread on the surface. Repeat. To end, tack down the last loop with a small stitch.
If you are using this stitch as edging on a hem, point 1 should be close to the fabric edge or through a folded hem. Instead of coming up through the fabric for point 3, come up around the edge of the material.
To add decorative scallops that look like feathery plants or scales, give feather stitch a try! There are several variations for this stitch, but one simple way to play with this stitch is to overlap it in different colors for more coverage and beautiful depth.
Come up at point 1 and go down at 2, leaving a loop of thread on the surface. Come up at point 3, catching the loop of thread. Go down at point 4, leaving a loop of thread on the surface. Repeat, working back and forth.
After you finish all the embroidery, soak your fabric to remove the pattern markings. It's important to let it fully soak instead of just rinsing so the ink fully dissolves. Gently press the embroidery between two towels to remove excess water, and then hang it to dry. Place the embroidery face down on a fluffy towel and gently iron it from the back.
Frame your embroidery in an embroidery hoop or use it to make another project. You can make a wall hanging or even sew it into a pillow!
Spool of Thread Needle Minder
- Back Stitch, Running Stitch
- Trace the circle template onto the felt piece twice. One will be the front and one will be the back.
- To embroider patterns on felt, ﬁrst trace the embroidery design onto tissue paper. Embroider the design according to the stitch guide, through tissue and felt together, using 3 threads of thread. Gently remove the tissue when you’re done stitching.
- Cut out each circle and line them up back to back. Begin stitching a running stitch around the edge, 3 mm (1/8 “) from the edge, sewing the two pieces together. When you are half way around the circle, slip one of the magnets in between the felt layers and sew the piece closed. Tie a knot in the seam and pull it through to the inside.
- Place the needle minder on top of your next sewing or embroidery project and place the other magnet behind the fabric to hold it in place.
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