Friday stitching tip: try a new embroidery stitch on printed fabric

I’m starting a new series for the blog: Friday stitching tips! One simple little something to try over the weekend, or whenever you feel like taking a needle & fabric in your hands.

This week: try a new embroidery stitch using printed fabric. Getting started learning a new embroidery stitch can be daunting if you don’t have a sampler with detailed instructions on hand. (Come to think of it, learning new stitches can be daunting even if you DO have a sampler with detailed instructions…) I get held up by things like having to decide what colors to use, what shape to stitch, and so on. Decisions that aren’t exactly complicated but that make me put off starting to play with a new stitch because, well, they’re just a couple of decisions too many. And there you go: I have stitcher’s block!

Here’s an easy way I found to get past that block and get going with stitching: use fabric with a colorful print already on it. Quilting-weight cotton is an ideal choice for a lot of embroidery, and there are so many gorgeous, colorful, inviting patterns on them. All you need is a little scrap of fabric, just big enough to  fit into your embroidery hoop comfortably (if you use one).

open chain stitch practice

See? All I did was grab a bit of fabric (less than a quarter of a fat quarter), find some DMC floss in colors that match, and I was set to try this stitch.

large-written stitch backwards

I’d been meaning to give this stitch a go for quite some time – it’s called the “large-written” stitch in Hungary, a kind of wide-open chain stitch. You can find instructions for this stitch here. (Yes, yes, I know, in the picture I’m doing it backwards. I’ll have to post a tutorial about how to do this kind of open chain stitch backwards – Jenny Hart has one on how to do the regular chain stitch backwards – the truth is, I’ve found it’s easier that way!)

embroidery stitch play


The print on this fabric worked well for this kind of stitch: simple circular flowers. If you’d like to give this stitch a go too, Spoonflower has some prints that would work pretty well with it – like this one, a steampunk-style design with bicycle parts. Or you could try some of Kaffe Fassett’s prints (scroll down the page for large circular flowers).

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