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Freestylin' Embroidery

Now, I know lots of you will have some cotton yarn and a sensible needle tucked away somewhere.  Today's lesson is using them for a bit of brave-up and get stuck in, free style hand embroidery.  This is something I first did to patch up a teeny moth hole, and very quickly became heavily addicted to.  If it's your first attempt, I heartily recommend going to a second-hand store and grabbing a t-shirt for tuppence.  That way you won't worry so much about making mistakes and can just enjoy the process.  Although, I thoroughly adovcate this as a way to live generally: buy second-hand and customise away.  You get a serotonin buzz from creating something you love AND it's better for the planet as it reduces waste and stops the need for more acrylic nonsense to be churned out.

This is a little lesson to show you how to make a flower, it uses a bit of chain stitch and some nice, long stitches. The flower however, is just a suggestion, do take the time to experiment yourself, once you've got the knack of it you can make almost anything.

You will need:
Colourful thread and a suitabley sharp needle
Small scissors
A gel pen - yep!

Start by sketching your design on your garment.  I use gel pens as they'll draw on any colour and come out in the wash.

We're going to work the central circle using a chain stitch.  So choose your colour, thread up your needle, tie a knot if you like and insert it from the back.  Now make a little loop with the thread and hold it in place with your thumb.

Insert the needle into the hole you just came out of - front to back this time.
Then poke through the material a bit further along, making sure the tip of the needle cover the end of the loop.

Pull your needle all the way through and you have made the first chain.  Make another loop, and repeat.

Once you've completed the circle, pick a yarn colour for the inner section of the petal.  Insert your needle from back to front, using the edge of your circle as a starting point.  Insert back in around about 1/4 of the way up your petal.

Now, turn your work over and insert your needle side of where you last went in, like so:

This will stop your work from getting all scrunched up.  Keep going, varying the height a of your stitches a little.

The back should look like this:

Once you've completed your inner stitches, pick another colour and repeat this technique to create the outer stitches of the petal.

It should start to build up to look a bit like this:

When you've finished, add a few, little stitches in the middle, and you'll have all the skills to cover your reclaimed top, like this:

And then you can do this!


  1. This is awesome! Thank you for sharing this inspiration and instruction ;-)

  2. Thank you for the inspiration and kick-start! I bought a cheap, but very plain, sweatshirt to keep warm on a school residential recently and would love to make it more wearable. The stormtrooper design looks just the ticket, where did you find it?
    Thank you