There's a bright, bold, and beautiful embroidery trend now: fresh and modern florals. If you've wanted to learn how to stitch these full flowers, you can! They are versatile and straightforward, and you'll love adding them to your work.
Even though these bold displays have made a stitching splash again in recent years, they aren't exactly new. Embroidery artists have been stitching similar designs for hundreds, or even thousands, of years. Be inspired by embroidery from other eras or cultures. Embroidery from Mexico is an excellent source of inspiration for these colorful and modern stitcheries, as is embroidery from the 1970s. Look for patterns that feature large flowers, or create your own. Grab your fabric, needle, and some brightly colored floss and start stitching.
Equipment / Tools
- Embroidery hoop sized for practice cloth
- Embroidery needle, size between 1 and 5
- Small sharp scissors
- Pencil or water soluble pen
- Small square of cotton fabric for practicing
- Six-strand embroidery floss
Start by sketching out a few flowers on your practice cloth. You may want to work on paper first, then use a transfer method to get the flowers you like on cloth. If you're confident, draw right on the fabric. The markings should end up covered, but you can use a water-soluble pen to be safe.
To draw a flower like the one shown here, imagine drawing around a circle with wavy lines. It's a bit like an amoeba. Add another similar shape inside the first, then draw a small circle or oval in the middle. Don't worry about precision.
Place the fabric in the hoop. Cut a 12 to 14-inch length of six-strand embroidery floss, separate it into two strand of three, and thread one strand through the embroidery needle. Knot the other end.
Stitch the Outer Ring
Each section of the flower forms a ring, so choose one to start on. Although the sample shows working from the outside in, you can start in the center if you like.
- Stitching perpendicular to the drawn pattern lines, work satin stitch to fill the area.
On the curves, you'll find that you won't be able to fill the area with only straight lines going across the ring. In these areas, stitch a "fan" and fill in with satin stitches that are a little shorter, that overlap, or that hide under previous stitches. The result is similar to the long & short stitch variation of satin stitch.
Again, precision isn't necessary. If a stitch looks off, pull it out, but when you look at the overall stitching, little mistakes won't be noticeable.
Stitch the Next Ring
When you've finished the first ring of stitching, it's time to add another. Follow the same process as for the first ring, but try adding something extra: connect the two circles of stitching with a bit of detail.
- As you stitch, every so often, make one of your satin stitches a little longer, extending into the first ring.
The overlap of threads helps connect the sections of the flower, similar to how real flowers often look. If you want the sections to blend into each other even more, add more of these overlapping stitches.
For more definition instead of blending between the sections, or if you want your flower to be especially bold, try outlining each section with backstitch in a dark color.
Stitch the Center
Fill the middle of the flower with more satin stitch, or try a bunch of french knots for a different texture. The knots in the sample were made more loosely than usual, so they have a slightly loopy look.
Add a Leaf
Draw a simple leaf shape to one side of the flower. Make it a partial leaf, as though it is poking out from behind the flower. Draw a line down the center of the shape.
- Stitching from the outside of the leaf to the centerline, work satin stitch along one side of the leaf, then the other.
Ideas for More Flowers
Now that you've stitched one flower, you can try altering the shape. Add more rings, rings of different sizes, or even have only one small ring and a large center. Mix in some lazy daisy flowers or other flower styles, and you'll be creating magnificently embroidered florals in no time.