stitching tutorials

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

Friday tutorial - lavender girls transferring and appliqueing

Dresses stitched

I often get asked about the materials and pens I use so I am going to start with what I use for the lavender girls.

Firstly the fabric is Robert Kauffman Essex linen in natural (this is also rather nice in linen colour, a sort of off white).  I buy this fabric from celtic fusion fabrics in the UK.  They are always super quick to send it out.

I use a no.7 crewel needle to stitch with, the eye is just big enough to save my eyes but it's still fine enough for the stitching.

I use a 4" hoop and move it around but you could use a bigger hoop if you wanted to.  My preference is for wooden hoops as they don't seem to mark the fabric as easily.

Transfer pattern

I am lucky enough to have a fancy lightbox these days that is huge and flat and evenly lit but I used the window (aching arm) method for tracing for a long time and then a cheaper crafting light box that worked well. 

To transfer you place the pattern over the light source and your fabric over the pattern.  If you are using a bright window just tape your pattern to the window and tape the fabric over that.

I use a pilot frixion pen that is heat removable.  I have a post on pens here

Then just trace the pattern

Pattern transfer 3

I traced these girls into the centre of rectangles that measure 16cm x 8cm as I made them up into hanging lavender cushions.  I also trace the dress patterns to make the dresses.

Dress cutting

For the dresses cut a rectangle of the dress fabric a little bigger than the dress and apply bondaweb to the back.  Peel off the backing and cut the dress out using the pattern.  I have a tutorial on dress applique over here

For these two girls I used valeria red mitsi and Katie and Millie liberty tana lawn which I bought from Alice Caroline on Etsy as fat quarters.  If you would prefer smaller pieces of liberty then I highly recommend very berry fabrics on folksy, she is a lovely friendly and helpful lady.  You can even buy bags of scrap fabrics to make lots of different dresses.

Pin dress

Next pin the dress in place and stitch it.  I used Anchor 68 pink to stitch it down.  For the winter girl's dress I used DMC 304 red.

Stitching dress

I don't iron the dress until the very end because my pen disappears with heat!

Next Friday we will stitch the hat and hair.

Please feel free to ask any questions about the process or materials.

The lavender girl pattern is available to buy here


lavender girls tutorial part 2

lavender girls tutorial part 3

lavender girls tutorial part 4

pocket robot mini tutorial

Both dolls frosted

this really is such a simple tutorial, then I promise, less robots.

I used robert kauffman essex linen in linen

They are made using my robots pattern, available here

Firstly I enlarged these by photocopying the pattern at 110%  but that's not necessary if you would like smaller robots


Next I stitched up the robots using the same colours as the pattern but switching them around a little.  I also added three little eyelashes to each of the girl's eyes.  And I appliqued the patch rather than stitching a panel on her chest.

Tutorial 1

Next I cut a rectangle around the robots about 2cm away from my stitching.  

If you have enlarged the pattern it will be roughly 18cm x 9cm for the girl and 16.5cm x 9cm for the boy.  

If you haven't enlarged the pattern then it will be about 16.5cm x 8cm for the girl and about 16cm x 9.5cm for the boy.

Make sure your robots are central.  Of course you could trace your robots into rectangles before stitching, rather than working backwards like me!

I cut backing fabric to the same sizes from these beautiful organic cottons from celtic fusion fabrics.  The red is a carolyn gavin fabric and the gold is by cloud 9.

Tutorial 2

I popped the backing and the embroidered piece right sides together and machined around the edges (using the edge of the foot as a guide) and left about an inch gap at the base for turning the right way around and stuffing.  Then I clipped the corners as you can see on the boy to make the corners easier to turn out.

Tutorial 3

Turned the right way around, pressed and ready for stuffing

Tutorial 4

Now just stuff with toy stuffing.  I use small amounts at a time (partly because the gap is only an inch) because it's easier to mold once finished.  I stuffed them quite firmly, making sure there was enough stuffing in the bottom corners.

Tutorial 5

finally I slip stitched the gap closed

Both dolls

a cute little gift for a child with an enjoyable couple of hours of embroidery :)

If you don't find embroidery enjoyable (??!!)  I have some that I have hand stitched available in my shop to buy

I will be doing kits for these in the next couple of weeks too (so there will be at least one more robot post!)

Hope you have a happy stitchy weekend


different colours same caravan

Full caravan

so I have spent a few lovely days listening to woman's hour and midweek along with lots of crime stories on the radio stitching away at my caravan.  

I had forgotten how long it takes to stitch but also how relaxing it all is.  I love dawdling over choosing colours and I'm really happy with this softer version.

Caravan chimney and vine

I love stitching the vines and leaves, I love drawing vines, leaves and flowers so stitching them feels like drawing with colours.

Caravan flowers and ferns

So here is the colour list for those who have the pattern (if you would like the caravan pattern it is available to purchase here).

Colour guide

DMC 3813 blue green - caravan outline, leaves on vines, flowers on caravan door

DMC 224 dusky pink - bands across caravan

DMC 745 yellow – door and window frame

DMC 648 soft beige - vase

DMC 822 stone – curtains and curtain pattern

Anchor 264 soft green – plant stems in vase and some grasses and flower stalks

DMC 772 darker soft green – ferns and some grasses

DMC 758 salmon pink - heart

DMC 962 darker pink – flower and bird

DMC 761 lighter pink – flower and bird and flower centres on door and chimney

DMC 958 stronger blue green – wheel and dragonflies

DMC 966 darker blue green – track under the caravan wheels

DMC 761 pale pink – bunting

Caravan window and vine

I realise that I've only used one anchor thread in amongst all those DMC threads!  You could swap it for a DMC soft green or just use the same green as the ferns if you can't get hold of anchor threads.

On Friday I will put the preprinted samplers into my Etsy shop (only a week late!).  These are printed onto a quilting weight (medium weight) cotton in white.  The lines are grey and clear but are covered easily using two strands of thread.  They come with the two colour guides but no threads, hoop or needle.  I will pop more info on here when I list them.

I hope you are all getting in a little relaxing stitching time.

And now back to beautiful spring time dog walking 

Dog walking

and stitching rainbow colours of hair

Goth girl pink



stitch along book cover - final post

Notebook cover pic 7

finally!  the final post of the stitch along.  I hope you enjoyed the embroidery and I hope it has encouraged a few people to try a bit of embroidery too.

These are the instructions for the book cover.  There are lots of tutorials out there for book covers and lots of Japanese magazines and books that contain instructions for various versions (I get my Japanese craft magazines from here)  but this is how I like to cover notebooks.

These instructions are to cover a small moleskine pastel cahier (9cm x 14cm)

Once you have stitched your girl cut the top and bottom inch that you marked off.  So that you are left with a rectangle measuring 16.5cm x 33cm.

Next cut a piece of medium weight interfacing the same size as your embroidered piece

Notebook cover pic 1

and iron it onto the back of your embroidered piece.

Notebook cover pic 2

Next I fold the fabric around the book to make sure that I am happy with where I need to fold it and mark the folds for the flaps and the centre back of the cover.

Notebook cover pic 3

Now turn the two short edges in by 1cm and hem them.

Notebook cover pic 4

Now cut a piece of lining fabric (I like this to be pretty even though you can hardly see it in the book!) 16cm tall x 15cm wide and hem the two edges with a 1cm seam allowance so it should now measure 16cm x 13cm.

Notebook cover pic 5

with the right side of your embroidered piece facing up fold the flaps in and pin them.  (Your flaps are folded onto the right side if this makes sense!)

Next lay your lining on top (with the right side facing down) centring it with the mark you made for the centre back on the embroidered piece.  And pin in place.

Now stitch right across the bottom with a 1cm seam allowance.  Then stitch right across the top with a 1cm seam allowance

Notebook cover pic 6

And trim your seam to about 0.5cm neatly.

Now you have to turn the whole thing out and press it, pushing the corners out gently.

And finally slide your notebook in.

Notebook cover pic 7

I'm sorry the pictures aren't quite as bright as I would have liked but the sunshine seems to have left for now!  

I hope you enjoyed the stitchalong and don't forget there is a hashtag that I keep forgetting to use over on instagram #lilipopostitches

Well I'd better get on and start filling that christmas list notebook!!


1-the pattern

2-transferring the pattern

3-stitching the hat

4-stitching the hair and face

5-stitching the dress

6-stitching the tights

7-you are here

stitch along stripey tights


I started with her boots here.  Two strands of Anchor 169 and backstitch all the way around.  If you are doing the red girl then the boots outline is two strands of Anchor 360 brown.

Boots outline

Next two strands of Anchor 168 and fill those boots with back stitch.  The brown boots are filled with beige DMC 452.


Still using two strands of Anchor 168 outline her legs.   The red girl has a red outline to her tights, two strands of red 304.

Legs outline

Now to make the stripes


I took two strands of Anchor 928 and made single stitches up the legs evenly.  For the red girl the first stripes are red DMC 304.

Full stripes

Now take two strands of grey Anchor 398 and pop stitches inbetween the first ones to make stripes  The second stripes are ecru on the red girl.

Double stripes

And that's the girl done


Although I still have a couple of lists to pop in at the bottom where I forgot to draw them!

I hope you've had fun stitching her.

Next Sunday I will pop the tutorial for making the book cover.


1-the pattern

2-transferring the pattern

3-stitching the hat

4-stitching the face and hair

5-stitching the dress

6-you are here

7-making up the book cover