stitching tutorials

A simple stitch guide


Free stitch guide

I have created a simple stitch guide that will be sent out with all my patterns.  It contains the main stitches that I use in the patterns and drawn diagrams of the stitches.

I have added this stitch guide to all my patterns on Etsy but you can grab it for free here 

The guide is a basic stitch guide to the stitches I use most often in the patterns.  For some of the stitches (such as french knots!) it might still be useful to look at video tutorials on youtube and to use the guide as a reminder. 

I hope you find the stitch guide useful

spring stitching on grey days

New cover

Earlier this week I decided to spruce up my spring bunny girl pattern and restitch her.  I've changed the pattern ever so slightly and added extra photos and more instructions.  She really is very simple to stitch, almost completely back stitch with just one thread.

Outlined in grey

in fact I rather liked her at this stage just outlined in grey.  I think you could quite happily just stitch her like this or go in the opposite direction and add an appliqued dress.

So, with Easter on the way and beautiful pink tulips in my workspace (and an awful lot of grey outside!) I decided to do a little spring stitching

Spring stitching

I dived right into pinterest and looked for cute tutorials for my stitchy project.  Needless to say this whiled away quite a bit of time.  I looked at book covers and drawstring bags (all added to my cute tutorials board) and decided on this lovely simple drawstring bag tutorial by S.O.T.A.K handmade  (She also has some beautiful patterns in her shop).

The tutorial was beautifully simple to follow, I made a couple of small changes simply because I wanted a smaller bag.  So my  measurements for the main fabric and the lining pieces were 6" x 7" and my measurements for the casing were 6" x 4".

I used a 1 cm seam allowance (just under half an inch) because it's clearly marked on my sewing machine and I like to make things easy for myself.  I didn't make the tag and just used my embroidered piece (centred and cut down to 6" x 7") as the front of the bag.

Spring stitching bag

and I now have a lovely little drawstring bag to pop mini Easter eggs into or perhaps a cute little sewing bag for my summery outdoor stitching?  

Bunny main pic

after all I could always make another little bag with these little bunnies on for the Easter eggs...

I hope you're enjoying some spring weather and spring stitching


ferns and flowers and unicorns

Flowers and ferns

of all the things I love to stitch flowers are probably top of my list!  I love the way the simplest combination of stitches and colours can become something lovely.

My unicorn is frolicking  amongst ferns and flowers in my newest embroidery pattern and I thought I would share a very quick and simple tutorial for both

First the flowers

Flower centre 1 small

First I drew a small circle and eight lines radiating outwards evenly.  Then I filled the centre with two strands of pale pink thread and satin stitch

Flower centre 2

Once the circle is full it's time to add the petals

Flower petals

Just stitch single straight stitches all the way around the centre using 2 strands of light purple thread

Flower petals 2

Then pop more a straight stitch in each gap.  I've done this in a different colour so it's clear but they are just as nice all one colour.  I stitch the stalks using a single strand of a soft green to give a delicate look to the flower (more weed like)

Fern 2

For the fern stitch begin with a single back stitch and bring your needle up at the top of the first leaf

Fern 3

Take your needle back down at the base of the back stitch and bring it back up at the tip of the opposite leaf

Fern 4

Take your needle back down at the base of the back stitch and bring it back up a stitch length below to start the next fern

Fern 6

Repeat the stitching for each fern, creating a back stitch for the stalk and then stitching each leaf in turn as you did for the first one

Fern final

Fern stitch is one of my favourite plant stitches.  I usually use 2 strands of thread and my stitches are about 2 - 3mm long.  It's nice to add some french knots in between some of the leaves in a different colour

French knot fern

here I added a different green but pink or red flower buds would be lovely too.  I used 2 strands of thread and made a single french knot for each bud.

I think ferns with flower buds would make lovely borders for embroideries framed in the hoop.  You only need to draw the curved line of the stalk and then keep the leaf stitches the same size as your stalk stitches at roughly a 45 degree angle from the stalk.

And here is a pic of the whole unicorn dancing in amongst the flowers and the ferns

Unicorn main picture

The pattern is available in my Etsy shop now and I will be ordering some pre printed fabric panels for stitching in the next couple of weeks.

I hope you have a lovely weekend with bits of time for a little flower stitching



sprucing and long short stitch


This week I decided to spruce up my winter fairy pattern ready for the colder weather (hopefully not too soon!).  I wanted a filler stitch for the blue embroidered version of the fairy and decided on long short stitch.

Long short stitch is often used for colour changes in embroidery (as I'll show in a sample below) but it's also useful for areas that are too big for satin stitch such as my fairy's dress.  I love the repetitive nature of stitching the dress (not least because I am reading slow stitch by Clare Wellesley - Smith at the moment).

So here is a little tutorial for this simple filler stitch

Long short stitch 1

It begins with the foundation row.  Simply alternate long and short stitches along this row.  The long stitches should be about twice as big as the short stitches.

Long short stitch 2

That was the most difficult part.  Now simply stitch long stitches above the short stitches, leaving a gap between each as above.

Long short stitch 3

and you just continue in this way 

Long short stitch 4

until you are done.

If you are stitching a curved shape you begin in the same way

Curved long short stitch

with your long short foundation row

Curved long short stitch 3

as you continue you curve the stitches slightly at the edges so they meet at the top acting like one stitch for the next row.

Curved long short stitch final

This way you can follow the curve of the edge with the stitching.

I love the effect of this stitch, it's so like knitting, my next favourite type of stitching.

For those who have the winter fairy pattern these are the blues that I used for the blue fairy

DMC 3760 dark blue

DMC 747 paler blue

DMC white

DMC S415 and DMC E168 for the sparkly satiny wings

DMC 3799 for the face etc.


how to mount mini embroideries

Mini frame finished

Today I'm sharing a quick guide to framing your tiny embroidery in your mini frame

It really is very simple.

First of all you will need:

your embroidered piece

a piece of felt (about the size of the pendant/frame)

a piece of bondaweb (the same size)

embroidery thread or other thick thread

a needle with a large enough eye for six strands of thread

ribbon to hang it


Blog mini frames 0

I placed the pendant over my embroidery (making sure I had it nicely centred) then drew around the pendant.  Next I cut the circle (ish) shape out.

I used the embroidered piece as a template and cut the bondaweb and felt to the same size and then ironed the embroidery to the felt using the bondaweb (creating a sandwich)

Mini frame 2.5

Next I popped the frame over the embroidery/felt sandwich and used my frixion pen to mark all the holes (make sure it has marked on the linen).  Again make certain that the embroidery is sitting exactly as you want it.

Mini frame 1

You should be left with a nice circle all the way around the embroidery

Mini frame 2

Next trim your linen/felt sandwich to about 0.5cm outside the marks as above

Mini frame 3

Finally the stitching

I left a tail at the back of about 2cm and brought the thread through to the front.  Work in a back stitch and catch the tail at the back of the work so it is woven into the back of your stitches.  Once you get to the end of the stitching weave your thread end back through a few stitches and cut.  This leaves the back nice and neat.

This girl's head has rounded ears in the final pattern and these are the colours 

I used 

DMC 452 light brown

Anchor 381 dark brown

There will be a super giveaway here in connection with this pattern coming soon



Jacobean couching and a christmas tree

Blue green main pic

'putting up the tree' christmas embroidery pattern is finally finished!  

Lots of stitches in the tree and there is a separate pattern with just the tree

There are lots of notes and a guide for the more unusual stitches

It's available in my shop 

So I thought I would pop a tutorial for the Jacobean couching stitch here

Jacobean couching 2

 I love the look of this stitch, like a sort of garden trellis or those old leaded windows.  And it's really very simple

Jacobean couching 1

You can see that I have marked a diagonal grid pattern, so first do all the stitches in one direction as above

Jacobean couching 1a

Then make your stitches in the opposite direction crossing the ones underneath

Jacobean couching 2

finally pop a little stitch in a contrasting colour over each point where the purple threads cross

simple but effective

Tomorrow is the last of the stitches, the sheaf stitch.


open cretan stitch

Open cretan tree

As you may know, I am busy stitching a Christmas tree for my Christmas pattern.  It is a Christmas tree of many stitches (well quite a few).  It uses the herringbone stitch (tutorial here), you can see the herringbone at the bottom of the picture with french knots in the gaps.  Today I am showing you another of it's stitches, the open Cretan stitch.

Open cretan tree 2

For the tutorial I have used red thread as I thought it showed everything more clearly on a white background.  So here we go...

Open cretan stitch main

I popped crosses in the spaces in orange.  

Open cretan stitch 1

To begin the stitch you need to come up through the fabric about a third down your space (a in the picture below)as above.  Then pop your needle back through the fabric on the base line but a little further along (b in the picture below)

Open cretan stitch 2

Next bring your needle up directly above the spot where you took your needle down but about a third upwards as in c above

Open cretan stitch 3

Now you're going to take your needle back down on the top line (but a little further along as in d above) but you need to catch the loop of your previous stitch as above so make sure your thread is on the left of the stitch.

Open cretan stitch 4

Now bring your needle up directly underneath the point you took it down but about a third of the way below (as in a above).  Now you just continue in the same way along until you reach the end of your row.

Open cretan stitch end

and fill your gaps with crosses or french knots.

Hope these instructions are clear, it sounded much simpler in my head!  As always.

The Christmas pattern is on it's way, hopefully next week.  You can follow my progress on my Instagram account @lilipoposketches


Fancy herringbone for a tree

Fancy herringbone main 1

Yesterday was the first proper day that I could sit down with a nice cup of tea and try out some stitches for the new Christmas pattern that I'm working on.  I would like to add that the cup of tea came after a VERY cold sea swim that I was talked into!  Hence the quiet afternoon with hot drinks.

Fancy herringbone main

and I found a stitch or rather a combination of stitches that I rather liked.  I don't use herringbone stitch very often as mine always seems to look a little loose but this time I bound the cross overs with little stitches to make it look a lot neater.  And I love the effect of using a different colour.  Simple but pretty.

So here is a quick herringbone tutorial in photos.  The main thing is keeping it all even, mine is stitched on a curve because that's what I need it to do in the pattern but of course you can stitch it straight.

Fancy herringbone 1

Fancy herringbone 2

Fancy herringbone 3

Fancy herringbone 4

Fancy herringbone 5

Fancy herringbone 6

Fancy herringbone 7

Fancy herringbone 8

I think I have neglected this pretty stitch.  I added it to the base of the tree and popped a few french knots in for good measure

Fancy herringbone end

It would make a beautiful border for a dress too.

Now I'm going back to my battered and worn copy of Anchor's 100 embroidery stitches to find more fun for the afternoon.


beginning stitching - stitching

Main pic

So you have gathered your materials and traced the pattern and you've chosen your colours.

Now it's time to start stitching.

This post has quite a few links to other tutorials for the actual stitches but a short note about beginnings and endings

Beginnings 1

when you take your first stitch leave a tail about as long as your needle

this will be woven into the back of your stitching as you stitch

Weavings beginnings

You just catch the tail on the back of your work as you stitch your first few stitches as above.

Weaving collage

when you finish make sure you have a couple of inches of thread left and weave the thread through the back of your stitches as above.

Back stitch

I have tutorials for the following stitches on the blog, just click on the stitch to be transported


chain stitch

french knots

I also have posts on how I applique the dresses

 if you are making lavender girls I have a tutorial in two parts here and here

and if you want to frame your embroidery in a hoop here is a tutorial

I will be doing more stitch tutorials on Tuesdays beginning next week with stem stitch.

I also really recommend these you tube videos made by the fabulous sublime stitching


Beginning stitching - transfer your pattern

Transferring patterns main

This post answers the question I am asked the most - how do I transfer the pattern onto my fabric.

The photos in this post are a little dull I'm afraid, no pretty colours.  Not helped by a grey wet summery August day!!

If you buy a pdf embroidery pattern from me you receive a file that you print out onto paper consisting of pattern notes (stitch guide and colour guide) and the pattern itself. You can just print the pattern and keep the notes on your computer if you prefer (some of the notes have a lot of photographs that you may not want to print out).  

Transferring patterns 1

The pattern will be printed on A4 or letter size paper and look like the picture above.

If you would like the pattern to be bigger (or smaller) then simply photocopy it at a larger or smaller size, eg. 150% for it to be one and a half times bigger or 75% for it to be three quarters the size.

Once you have the pattern the size that you would like it you will need:

a removable pen

a light source (a window or a lightbox)

masking tape


The pen I use is a pilot frixion heat removable pen.  I use this because it is really a ballpoint pen and so much easier to trace the details with.  At the end it irons away.  Always test your pen to make sure it does remove cleanly from the fabric!  

There are other methods and pens available and I will be doing a post on those in a couple of weeks but today I wanted to focus on the method that I find works best for me.

Transferring patterns 2

This is the fabric placed over the pattern.  As you can see, if you are using a white fabric you can just about see the pattern even without a light source.  

Transferring patterns 3

If you don't have a light box then you will need to tape the pattern to a window.  I usually say a bright sunny window but as you can see, from this murky picture, today is not a bright sunny kind of day!

Transferring patterns 4

Next tape your fabric over the pattern, placing it carefully where you want the pattern to be.

You can see the design a whole lot better even though it is definitely not a sunny window!

Transferring patterns 5

And now the achy arm bit, you trace the design onto your fabric using the pen.  I use quite light short strokes so it doesn't pull the fabric too much.  If your arms are very achy I would recommend missing out the lines on the legs and winging it later!

Transferring patterns 6

but this is what you end up with, a fine tracing of the pattern all ready to be stitched up.

It is easier to see the design using white fabric if you are using a window on a dull grey day.

The fabric I used here was Robert Kauffman essex linen in white.

Transferring patterns 7

This leads to the best bit of all (and a little bit of colour).  You get to choose the colours!  

The pattern comes with a colour and stitch guide to the colours and stitches that I used to create the picture in the photo.  But you might want red hair instead of black hair, and your favourite colours might be very different to mine.  Choosing the colours is without doubt my favourite part.  This girl's dress could be stitched over and again in a rainbow of colours!

(The pattern for this girl and her pumpkin holding friend will be in my shop later this week hopefully!)

Next week beginning stitching and finishing off