Bullion Knot Rose Tutorial

Bullion Rose in Variegated Perle Cotton

Mollie Johanson

Overview
  • Skill Level: Beginner

If you love floral embroideries, you need to know how to stitch a bullion rose. Although made with a more advanced stitch, the bullion knot, this beautiful flower is quite simple but makes a strong visual impact. The bullion rose starts with a simple center of french knots or satin stitches, and then, you guessed it, bullion knots! 

If you haven't learned this stitch before, you should practice making bullion knots of various sizes. Be sure to try making curved bullions, where the wrapping is longer than the distance of the stitch. The example in this tutorial uses perle cotton, but you can embroider a bullion rose with standard embroidery floss, crewel yarn, silk ribbon—try whatever you have on hand and see how it looks.

Combine bullion roses with other florals, such as a woven wheel or even lazy daisies, for a stunning embroidery display. The simplicity of a single rose with a leaf or two is also beautiful. With just a bit of preparation, you'll be ready to make this gorgeous flower.

Notes

Practice on a small square of cotton or other fabric of your choice, using needles of type and size appropriate to the fabric.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Embroidery hoop sized for practice cloth
  • Embroidery needle, size between 1 and 5
  • Small sharp scissors

Materials

  • Small square of cotton fabric for practicing
  • Six-strand embroidery floss

Instructions


The bullion knot rose is composed of bullion knots which grow in size as they move away from the center of the motif. Bullion knots are wrapped stitches similar to french knots, but with a few more steps. The outer bullion knots of the rose may also be worked with slightly more wraps to create a bowed shape.

  1. Getting Ready

    Place the fabric in the hoop. Cut a 12 to ​14-inch length of six-strand embroidery floss and thread it through the embroidery needle. Knot the other end.

  2. Working A Bullion Knot

    Bring the needle up through the fabric where you want the knot to place the top of the knot (1).

    1. Without pulling the needle through to either side, take the needle down through the fabric at what will be the bottom of the stitch (2) and bring the tip up at the top (1) again.
    2. Wrap the thread around the needle tip as many times as you estimate it would take to cover the space between (1) and (2). Make the wrapping solid, but not too tight.
    3. Hold the wraps with your non-dominant hand and slowly pull the needle through the fabric and wraps. This part can be tricky if the wrap is too tight; twist the needle slightly to loosen the wraps if necessary. Continue pulling the thread through the wraps until the bullion knot starts to lay down on the fabric.
    4. Take the needle back down at the bottom of the knot (2).

    Make sure that the wrapping is smooth and tight, and adjust the way the knot lays with your fingers until you like the way it looks.

    Tip

    To form a bullion knot with a slight curve, overfill the stitch by wrapping the needle a few more times than usual. The wrapping should be longer than the stitch space.

    How to work a bullion knot
    Mollie Johanson
  3. Starting the Rose

    Start the rose by embroidering the center of the flower. You can stitch a small cluster of french knots, as shown here, or work several small straight stitches close together as when working satin stitch.

    • Bring the needle up near the center grouping and form a bullion knot that wraps part way around the center. 

    Tip

    If you're working with perle cotton or similar threads, it's important to pay attention to the twist of the thread when wrapping your bullion knots. If you find that the thread feels like it is untwisting, try wrapping the knots the other way.

    The start of a bullion rose
    Mollie Johanson
  4. Adding Petals: Curved Bullion Knots

    Add more "petals" of bullion knots around the center of the rose. Rather than having the end of each stitch meet up with the end of the previous stitch, overlap the ends slightly.

    As the flower grows, so should your stitches grow in size. Wrap the needle with more wraps to give the stitches more curve as well. You can adjust the look by altering the size and shape of each bullion knot.

    Because this stitch uses a large amount of thread, if you are working with variegated thread, it's good to pay attention to the placement of the color for each petal. For example, if you see that the next bullion knot will be the same color as a previous petal, don't stitch them right next to each other or start a new length of thread

    Added together bullion knots
    Mollie Johanson
  5. Completing the Rose

    A bullion rose can be as large as you want it to be. Just keep adding bullion knots around the shape. As you increase the length of the stitches, you may need to change to a longer needle, such as a milliner's needle.

    If you find that the stitches are lifting from the fabric more than you want, you can tack them down as you would with couching.

    Finished Bullion Rose
    Mollie Johanson