stitching tutorials

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

Beginning stitching - Gather your materials

Gather 1

One of the reasons I love stitching is that it requires so little to begin.  At it's most basic you need fabric, a hoop to hold the fabric, thread and a needle.  But those few things can range from being very practical and simple to being very beautiful, embellished and still practical.  And of course there's the storage!

This post is all about what I use for stitching and transferring so it's very much about my own preferences.  It covers everything you would need to make up my patterns.

Gather 2 threads

I have to start with threads as they are my favourite thing.  I love the moment when I have a new project and I can stand in front of the thread stands in our local sewing shop and choose colours!  It's my happy time.

For my patterns I only use stranded cotton, either DMC or Anchor (or both).  If you can only get hold of one of these brands there is a converter here that gives similar colours in both DMC and Anchor.

I keep all my stranded cottons wrapped around card thread holders with the numbers written on them.  I even have them sorted into colours (what can I say?  I like to be organized!).  The threads are in (unattractive but practical) plastic thread storage boxes that I can stack away in a cupboard.  

There are lots of prettier methods of storage over on pinterest, but I find this works for me.

Gather 3 threads

And sometimes I've been lucky enough to have been gifted some luscious threads in beautiful boxes to add a little beauty.  

The bright box is full of perle cotton no.8.  This cotton is thicker and plied together rather than stranded (although you can untwist it and use separate threads)  I find this good for bold embroidery, like the stitching on the box.  I don't use it in my patterns because I like to use finer threads for all the detail.  But it is beautiful for writing.

The other box contains some lovely vintage (1960's) linen threads that my partner found in a shop in Falmouth.  I love linen thread because I love the matte effect, but it is not as smooth as cotton and therefore a little more difficult to work with.  DMC did do some beautiful linen threads but sadly they have discontinued them. 

Gather 4 threads

DMC do also do speciality threads, glitter threads and satin threads.  Both of these have their difficulties (to put it politely) and can make stitching a little bit sweary and less relaxing than usual.  But it is worth it for the effect (sometimes).  The satin thread is slippery whereas the glitter thread is not smooth and can catch as you're stitching.  The trick really is to cut the thread a lot shorter than usual and go slowly. 

Gather 5 threads

For the patterns you will only need DMC or Anchor stranded cotton

Gather 6 threads

This stranded cotton is six strands of thread that you can separate into single, two, three etc. to have control over the thickness of line that you stitch.  The patterns mostly use two strands of thread but there are places where I just use one for a finer line and these are noted in the patterns.

Gather 7 needles

Needles are simple for me, I use a no.7 crewel needle for all the patterns.  I love the ones with the gold eye (I don't know why!) but I have many more without a gold eye.  I do have a few 8s and 9s but I tend to favour the 7s.

Gather 8 needles

and then there are the places to put your needles... I have numerous needle cases because I like embroidering them but I could only find this one to photograph!  I also have endless pin cushions because I love using up scrap fabrics.   Pin cushions are also a good place to practice a bit of stitching, whether it's simple straight stitching or more complicated knots.  

I also have this lovely metal needle keeper that I pop in my sewing basket with spare needles in it.

Gather 9 pins

I use two types of pins.  The long (I think they are quilting pins) pearl headed ones for most fabrics and these fabulous merchant and mills fine pins (I think they are meant for butterflies!!) perfect for delicate fabrics like the liberty tana lawn that I use for the lavender girls' dresses.

Gather 10 tools

I use two small pairs of scissors, mainly because I found the silver ones too small to cut the dresses out for the applique.  So the little silver ones are thread snippers and I use the fiskars 5" scissors to cut out the fabrics for the embroidery.  

The pen I use for transferring the patterns is a pilot frixion.  I have written about it before over here along with other pens that I occasionally use.  The reasons that I like it are that it is heat removable (it irons away after stitching) and it has a fine line for the details.  I have noticed that sublime stitching has created a fine transfer pen but at the moment I can't get hold of it in England.  I'd love to hear from anyone who has used it though.

Gather 11 hoop and fabric

  Hoops and Fabric.  My preference is for a wooden hoop, I do have some plastic ones but if I leave the fabric hooped up overnight accidentally (!) they tend to leave a mark that is difficult to remove.  And I like the feel of wood a lot more.  I usually use between a 4" and a 6" hoop depending on the size of the embroidery.  I don't especially like using a bigger hoop, I would rather move a smaller one around the work.

The two fabrics I use are Robert Kaufmann essex linen in natural which I buy here and cotton calico which I buy here

They are both medium weight fabrics and are not specifically for embroidery.  The calico needs a couple of washes to soften a little but adds a lovely texture to the work.  I tend to favour the linen cotton mix partly because of the colour, it really makes the thread colours pop.  

You can use any medium weight fabric that is smooth to stitch on.  You just need to make sure your stitches don't pull on it. 

I also use liberty tana lawn prints and bonda web for applique.  I have a post here to help with appliqueing the dresses.

Next week I will be looking at transferring the pattern to the fabric.  Please feel free to share your own tools and materials in the comments I love finding out what other stitchers use!

If you are in the UK you can buy threads, hoops and needles from sew and so if you are not lucky enough to have an embroidery shop nearby.

I buy liberty scraps for applique from very berry fabrics on folksy and larger pieces of liberty from Alice Caroline on Etsy


Friday tutorials - lavender girls - putting it all together


What you need to turn them into lavender girls:

an embroidered girl on a 16cm x 8cm rectangle of linen or cotton

a backing piece in the fabric of your choice 16cm x 8cm (I use the same fabric as the dress)

toy stuffing or kapok

dried lavender

string or ribbon to hang her up


Take your printed backing piece and place it right side up on the table.  Mark the centre of the top (short edge).  Place your folded piece of string (loop facing down as in the picture).


Next place your embroidered piece on top of the backing fabric with the right side facing down


At this point I stitch a few times backwards and forwards over the string to fix the string loop in place.

3 sides

stitch around three sides (leaving the bottom open for turning).  Use about a 1cm seam allowance.

Turn and stuff collage

clip the corners close (but not too close to the stitching).  Turn the girl the right way around and press her gently.  

To stuff the girl use small amounts of toy stuffing layering it with the dried lavender.  I use about 3 teaspoons of lavender.  Stuff her quite firmly then turn the hem under and slip stitch the bottom closed.

Final lavender girls

Your lavender girl is finished.

All these instructions are included in the pattern which is available here

these make sweet little presents 

or you could stitch her onto a book cover or a little purse.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial 


lavender girls tutorial part 1

lavender girls tutorial part 2

lavender girls tutorial part 3

Friday tutorials - lavender girls - stripes and shoes

Shoes and fern

Long stripy socks are an absolute necessity, even in summer (well, an English summer!).  They are very simple to stitch

Long socks tut collage

I use two strands for the outline of the legs and then switch to one strand for the stripes.  I outlined the summer girl's legs in Anchor 68 using back stitch.  Then I took a single strand of Anchor 68 and made single stitches across her legs for the stripes.  Next I took a single strand of DMC 304 and popped single stitches in between the stripes.  Then, because there was still a little space I popped single stitches in DMC 842 in between the red and the pink.  Lovely stripy legs.

Winter tights stripes

For the winter girl I stuck to two colours just DMC 304 and DMC 842.  And she is wearing tights rather than long socks so the stripes go all the way to her dress.

Winter top

The winter girl's top is stitched in exactly the same way as the tights.  Two strands of DMC 304 for the outline of the top and then single strands of DMC 304 and DMC 842 for the stripes.  The chest stripes are back stitched rather than being single stitches.

For the shoes

Shoes collage

Two strands are used for the shoes and boots to make them bulkier than the legs.  I outline the shoes with back stitch then fill them in with the same.  For the boots I used DMC 779 for the outline and then DMC 842 for the inside.  The shoes are DMC 304.

Next week the finishing touches and putting it all together as a hanging lavender cushion.


lavender girls tutorial part 1

lavender girls tutorial part 2

lavender girls tutorial part 4

Friday tutorial - lavender girl hats and hair and faces

The hats come after the dresses and I often outline them in the same colour as the dresses, as I have here.  There are two hats, a winter hat with a pompom on top and a summer tie hat.

The winter hat has ribbing and little crosses and vs on it that you can choose to trace if you want to.  The summer hat is left blank for you to stitch as you wish.

The first step is simply outlining the hats using two strands of thread and backstitch, one of my favourite stitches!

For the pink I used Anchor 68 and for the red I used DMC 304.  In both cases I keep my stitches fairly small and make sure that they meet perfectly.  If they don't I undo and restitch.

The ribbing is just straight stitches and I popped a couple of red straight stitches on the pompom.

Cross stitch

I worked the crosses by stitching a single line in one direction then coming back and crossing them.

The vs are done in the same way as the crosses but in cream DMC 842.  I also added a couple of cream straight stitches to the pompom.

Pink hat stitching

I backstitched the outline of the pink hat and then the fun part

Pink hat french knots

I started by adding a few french knots, really my favourite thing for embellishing!  I have a tutorial over here for french knots 

Then I added some more french knots in DMC 304 and some straight stitches to fill the hat

Summer hat

The hats are one of my favourite bits to stitch.

And so onto the hair

Hair tut collage

For the summer girl I used DMC 842 and for the winter girl I used DMC 779.

I use two strands of thread.  I start by outlining the top part of the hair in back stitch (first pic).  Next I fill the area with back stitch (second and third pics). The plaits are little v stitches that lead down to the bottom of the plait.

Plait close up

Here is a close up of the stitching.  The bottom of the plait is three stitches spreading from the base of the plait.


Once all the plaits are finished I can't help but embellish a little more.  The summer girl has DMC 304 french knots in her hair while the winter girl has single stitches to make hairbands and a hair slide (this is great if you really don't like french knots).

For the faces and necks I use a single strand of thread as it adds a bit of delicacy to the stitching.  Stitching with a single thread really has to be neat as it can easily look wonky!  Again all of this is done in back stitch, although you could use stem stitch and have a slightly thicker line.  Sublime stitching has a lovely stem stitch tutorial


This is an arm being back stitched.  And don't forget (as I invariably do) to stitch the top of the summer girl's legs above her long socks.

I use two strands for the eyes because I find that one strand can get a little lost with such tiny stitches.

Next Friday stripes and shoes

lavender girls tutorial part 1

lavender girls tutorial part 3

lavender girls tutorial part 4