Tag: hand embroidery

A Brief History of Pulled Thread Work + Stitch Tutorial

A Brief History of Pulled Thread Work + Stitch Tutorial

Hello, So today I wanted to look at a brief history of Pulled Thread work and also include a free stitch tutorial that has been taken from my Whitework Brooch kit (as seen below) so you can have a go yourself. Early examples of Pulled Thread […]

A brief History of Drawn Thread Work

A brief History of Drawn Thread Work

Hello and welcome to another post, today we are looking at the history of Drawn Thread work, a whitework technique. By definition, Drawn thread is where the weave and or weft threads have been withdrawn from the linen fabric. Patterns and designs are then woven into […]

How To Do Trailing

How To Do Trailing

Hello and welcome to another How To post,

Today we are looking at how to work trailing. In the image above it is the thick, heavy, vertical lines behind the leaf.Trailing is traditionally a whitework stitch that is often used for outlines worked as a single line. It is worked by having a number of core threads and then couching over the top of those core threads with another thread. The stitches are continuous and cover the entire core thread, unlike normal couching. Now like I said, traditionally this would have all been worked in white but that’s not the easiest colour to photograph and I wanted you to be able to see what I was doing so my core threads are in pink and my couching thread is in green. I am using a stranded cotton as this gives a nice, smooth finish, but you can work it in any number of threads, such as a cotton a broder or a silk.

For this you will need the following;

  • Stranded Cotton
  • Chenille Needle (size depends on how heavy you want the trailing to be).
  • No.10 Embroidery Needle
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Embroidery Scissors
  • Ring Frame

So lets get started.

Set up your ring frame with your fabric in as usual. If you are working a specific design, get that transferred on too.

1. Take a length of stranded cotton 15cm longer than the length of the line you will be stitching. Separate the strands and thread through the Chenille needle. In my example I am using 6 strands of stranded cotton. If you want a thinner and more delicate line then you can use less and if you need a thicker line you can add more strands. Have an experiment and play to see what you prefer. Tie a not in the end.

2. Thread the No.10 embroidery needle with a single strand of cotton and secure on the design line with a knot on the top and 3 small stitches. Cut the knot away.

3. Take the Chenille needle down on a design line about 3cm away from where you would like to start the trailing and then bring the same needle up at the start of the design line you wish the trailing to run.



4. Bring the no.10 needle up to the left hand side of the pink core threads. Make sure it is coming up from underneath the core threads and the needle is angled out towards the left at 45 degrees to the fabric.



5. Take the needle down on the right hand side, over the core threads again angling the needle underneath the threads at 45 degrees. It is this sharp angling of the needle that produces a lovely rounded effect to the trailing and stops it from looking flat.



6.Repeat the same process next to the first stitch you made. It is important that there is no core thread visible. If there is a bit of core thread visible at the start, come back and work a stitch at the start so there is no core thread visible.



7. Continue working in this same way along the length of the line. Remember to angle the needle underneath the core threads and keep each stitch next to each other to create a smooth finish.



8. When you reach a couple of stitches before the end of the line. Take the core threads down and bring the needle back up a 3-4cm away on another design line.



9. Pull the core threads tight with one hand and continue to work the small couching stitches until the end and all the core thread is covered. This will be enough to hold the core threads.




10. Turn the fame to the back and finish off your couching thread. Here I am weaving it through the stitches on the reverse.



11. Cut the two core threads from the reverse close to the couching stitches.



There you have it, a beautiful, smooth line of trailing.



TIP: You can if you wish taper your trailing as you go so it gets finer. Take one core thread at a time through the fabric before you reach the end, making sure that they are staggered so that the transition is smooth.


I hope this has been a helpful tutorial, any questions then just pop them in the comments.

Happy Stitching!



The A-Z Of Embroidery Techniques, Terms And Tools

The A-Z Of Embroidery Techniques, Terms And Tools

Hello, So I wanted to write this post to help those of you that are new to embroidery get a brief overview of some of the techniques, tools or terms that you may hear in your quest to learn more about embroidery. What I’ve come up […]

Interview with Margaret Dier

Interview with Margaret Dier

Hello and welcome to another post. This one is a little bit unusual and special as I have managed to get an interview with the super talented Margaret Dier all before her fabulous new book is released, Thread painting and silk shading techniques. Released on the […]

How to work a Stumpwork wired shape.

How to work a Stumpwork wired shape.


I’m back after what seems like quite a while a way (unfortunately not on holiday) but it has been a very busy summer of teaching so far.

Welcome to another How to….. post. This week we are looking at how to work a stumpwork wired shape.

What is a wired shape in the first place I hear you ask? Well, a wired shape is a wonderful stumpwork technique which is used to add a real 3D perspective to your embroidery. It is usually a petal of a flower or a leaf and worked on a seperate piece of fabric. It can be filled with long and short, French knots, open Fly stitch and any number of other fillings. A piece of paper covered wire is then stitched down around the shape of the leaf/petal. Once all the stitching is complete it is then cut out and applied to your main piece of embroidery.

I use this technique frequently and it is one of my favourite stumpwork techniques.

What you will need;

  • Paper covered wire. This is available in a variety of different sizes and in white and green. Click here to buy.
  • Gutermann’s sew all thread to match the colour of your sewing thread.
  • Embroidery scissors (sharp)
  • No.10 needle embroidery needle
  • Stranded cotton
  • Embroidery hoop

Before you can work the wired edge around the shape you intend to cut out make sure you have worked the filling stitch you have chosen, if any. For the images shown I have not worked any filling inside the shape, however my finished piece has chipping worked inside.

1.) With the shape you wish to create drawn onto the fabric and the fabric taut in the embroidery hoop, thread a single strand of Gutermann’s in the colour the finished edge is worked in. This can be matched to the fabric or a contrasting colour, depending on your design. Secure it close to the end of the shape that you are creating, with a knot on the top of the fabric and three small stitches. The knot can then be cut away.

2.) Lay the wire onto the design line, making sure you leave a tail of wire 3-4cm beyond the end of the design line. With your needle at the start of the shape bring it up outside of the wire and take your needle back down on the inside of the wire so that you are couching it down. When you bring your needle up and take it down make sure you do so straight.

stitching down the wire


4.) Come back to the outside edge of the wire 3-4mm away from your last stitch.

5.) Take your needle back down on the inside of the wire to create your second stitch.

stitching down the wire

6.) Continue to work along the length of the wire in the same way. These stitches should sit at 90 degrees to the wire and hold it down securely. When you reach the end, finish off the thread and leave another tail of wire about 3-4cm long.

wire stitched down


7.) Secure the thread you wish to create the buttonhole stitch with at the start of the wire. I’ve used one strand of stranded cotton.

8.) This time we will be creating exactly the same stitch but there will be no gaps.

Oversewing wire

9.) The thread should totally cover the wire and there should also be no overlapping threads which can make the finished edge lumpy. Remember to bring your needle up on the outside, straight and down on the inside, straight.

oversewing the thread


10.) Now for the final part. Thread your needle up with the same thread and secure it at the start of the shape. For this you can use one or two strands, depending on how delicate you would like it to look. i have used a single strand.

11.) Bring your needle up on the outside. Then take the needle down on the inside parallel with the first stitch. Do not pull the thread all the way through, leave a loop.



12.) Bring your needle up on the outside edge next to (but not using the same hole) the first stitch and take the needle through the loop.



13.) Pull the loop from underneath then the needle up from the top to create your first buttonhole stitch. Doing it in two stages like this helps to prevent wear on the thread.

14.) Take your needle down on the inside, again next to the first stitch and make sure you leave a loop.



15.) Bring your needle up on the outside edge of the wire and through the loop. You now have created your second stitch.

16.) Continue around the whole of the shape in this same way, making sure you keep the stitches neat. You will end up with a ridge along the outside of the shape where you have been bringing the needle up through the loop.



17.) This technique can put a lot of wear on the thread so make sure you keep the thread lengths short and change it frequently. Finishing off the thread needs to be done after it has been pulled through the loop, take the needle down on the outside to hold the loop in place. Finish the thread off. Then when you have started the new thread bring this back through the last loop so that it looks like one stitch.

18.) When all the buttonhole stitch is complete it can then be cut out. Using a sharp pair of scissors cut as close to the buttonhole edge but with out cutting the stitches. Once you have done that use a needle and run it along the edge of the shape, this will lift up any extra fibres that you will have missed the first time. You can then trim these off. Do not cut the wire, this is used to secure your shape to the base fabric.

buttonhole wired shape


There you have a lovely wired shape that can then be applied to your main embroidery or as I quite often do, use these shapes to make brooches.

The next post will be on how to apply your wired shape to your main embroidery.

As always I hope you have enjoyed this post and feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

Happy stitching


How To Mount Your Embroidery Ready For Framing – part 2

How To Mount Your Embroidery Ready For Framing – part 2

Welcome to the second part of how to mount your embroidery. If you missed the first part check it out here. Today we are looking at the herringbone stitch that attaches your embroidery to the calico covered board we made previously and the final backing […]

How To Mount Your Embroidery Ready For Framing – Part 1

How To Mount Your Embroidery Ready For Framing – Part 1

So what do you do with a piece once you have finished working it? Well there are a variety of options and today we will be looking at how to mount the piece ready for framing. For many people they do not enjoy this process […]

How to work a Raised Chain Band

How to work a Raised Chain Band

Raised Chain Band is a lovely stitch that gives a great texture to your embroidery. It is often used for stems in Crewel embroidery. For this example I have worked one band down the centre of the ladder, however you could fill the ladder with several bands so that none of the ladder is visible.


Step 1 

Begin by bringing your needle up on the left hand side at the base of your stem or line that you would like to fill with Raised Chain Band, making sure that you leave 2mm from the very base.

Raised chain band


Step 2

Take a stitch down on the line, on the opposite side, keeping the stitch at 90 degrees with the two drawn lines. Bring your needle 2-3mm above your first stitch and up on the same side that you just took your needle down.

Raised chain band


Step 3

Take your needle down on the left hand side, making sure your stitches are neat. By bringing your needle up on the same side as you have just taken it down, it helps to reduce any bulky stitching on the back. Continue working up the stem. You will notice that the angle of the ladder stitches turns with the drawn lines you are following. This will give you a nice flowing raised chain band.

Raised chain band


Step 4 

Your ladder stitches should look like this when you have reached the top of your line.

Raised chain band


Step 5

I choose to work the ladder and chain band in two separate colours, the lighter being used for the chain band, but you could use the same colour if you wish. With a new needle and thread secured into the fabric, take your needle up, slightly further away from the last ladder stitch and in the centre of the ladder.

Raised chain band


Step 6

Take your needle over and back under the first bar so that your needle is pointing towards the top of your design, leaving the thread to the right.

Raised chain band


Step 7

Pull the thread tight so that it doesn’t loop but not so tight that it distorts the position of the bar.

Take your needle back under the first bar, with your needle facing towards the bottom of the design. You will be creating a loop and you must make sure your needle sits on top of the loop.

Raised chain band


Step 8

Again pull the thread tight so you form a nice chain shape over the bar, not too tight that it distorts the bar underneath.

Raised chain band


Step 9

Bring your needle, over and under the second bar with your needle pointing towards the top of your design, just as you did in step 6.

Raised chain band


Step 10

Take you needle under the second bar to the right of stitch you just made. You will be forming a loop and you must remember to take your needle over the top and through the loop, just the same as step 7.

Raised stem band


Step 11

Continue working down the stem, repeating steps 9 and 10 until you reach the bottom of your stem. You can then take your needle down through the fabric at the base of the stem to finish your stitches off. Your finished Raised Chain Band should look like the image below.

Raised chain band


I hope you have found this tutorial useful. Please feel free to leave any comments or feedback.

Happy Stitching!


How To Work Stem Stitch

How To Work Stem Stitch

Stem stitch is often used for outlining shapes that have previously been filled with another stitch or as a single stand alone line. For this video I am working in Appletons wool on a Linen Twill. The design I am working is for a Jacobean Crewel work embroidery […]