Example 1

I began by ironing my transfer onto my chosen fabric (see 'Using a fabric transfer' for information on how to do this).


Start off your stitching using the method shown on the 'Embroidery - getting started' page.  Choose the colour that you want to use for part of the design.  It is personal preference as to which part to start with.  I chose a shade of green to start sewing the stems.  For this I have used a stem stitch, shown below.

Work your way along each of the stems, taking care to keep the back tidy too.  Try not to make big 'jumps' between areas which will leave a long length of thread crossing the back of the fabric.  If the next part you want to sew is a bit far away then end the current thread and restart the thread as you did before in the new area (example shown when sewing the grass further down this page).

Keep going until you have completed all of the part you chose to sew (the stems in this demonstration).

Next I chose a darker shade of green to sew the grass.  I used a back stitch for this.

Below I have shown how I have finished off the thread on the back.  The thread is woven through the threads on the back of your work so that no bulky knot is required. 

Thread it through several times and then cut the thread so that there is only very little tail left.

Once all of the grass was complete, I chose a lighter shade of green for the leaves.  For these I used a chain stitch, having just a single chain link for each leaf.

Work your way around all of the leaves using this method.


I decided as I was sewing that the leaves would look better 'filled in', so I filled each leaf with a very basic satin stitch.

The difference between the two leaves can be seen below, where one is filled (shown on the right) and one is left empty (shown on the left).  I preferred the one that was filled and so continued sewing the rest of the leaves, filling them in as I did.  It is perfectly fine to change your mind with your embroidery to improve it as you go along.  You don't have to stick to your original stitching plan, or even to the original pattern if the transfer isn't quite how you want it. Be brave and 'freestyle' if your creativity compels you to deviate from the map!

I continued with this until all of the leaves were sewn and filled.

For the flowers I chose a bright orange for the petals and filled them with satin stitch.  I deviated from the pattern slightly as I sewed because it made the petals look neater, rather than trying to squeeze the stitches into all of the drawn petals.  This is fine to do as the transfer will disappear when either washed or ironed (depending on the type of transfer), so you won't see any of the lines of drawing that you don't cover with stitches..

To finish the piece, I filled the centre of each flower with satin stitch using yellow thread and then used chain stitch to follow the wavy lines at the bottom to depict the soil.


Example 2

For this next example I have chosen a slightly more complicated design of a butterfly.  It uses most of the same basic stitches as shown above but shows how they can be used to fill a more detailed pattern.  I began, as before, by ironing my chosen design onto the fabric.

For the narrow arch of the top part of the butterfly wing I have used a blanket stitch with a dark navy blue thread.  I then continued by outlining the lines of the rest of the top of the wing with a simple back stitch.

Once the outlining of the top of the wing on the left was complete I started on the blanket stitch on the top of the right wing. 

Once the whole butterfly had been outlined with back stitch I used stem stitch to sew the butterfly's antennae and then satin stitch to fill the body space.  The body has been done with a royal blue colour thread.

To fill the teardrop shape on the top part of the wings I used a derivation of chain stitch, using the 'leg' of the blanket stitch to loop the chain into, as shown below.  I chose a very pale blue for this.  I brought the needle up through the fabric at the bottom of the shape...

 ...looped the thread through the 'leg' of the blanket stitch...

...and then pushed the needle back into the fabric where I had brought it through at the beginning of the stitch.  I continued to work my way along the teardrop shape until I had filled the space.

In between the back stitching in the middle section of the top part of the wings I filled the gaps with satin stitch, using a slightly darker shade of pale blue thread.  This did cause the problem of covering up the butterfly spots in this section.  In order to keep it simple for demonstration purposes, I have chosen to go over them rather than satin stitch around them, which would have been possible, but more fiddly!  We can use the original pattern to see where they were later so that the spots can be added on at the end.

I continued with this until all the gaps in this section were filled.

Using different shades of blue in the different areas of the butterfly's wings I filled all of the other areas with satin stitch.

To add more detail I referred back to my original transfer pattern for where the spots on the butterfly's wings should be and sewed french knots on top of the satin stitch wherever a spot was placed.  I used a contrasting shade of blue for the french knots to the shade of the thread used on the satin stitch beneath them.

I continued filling in the spots until I was happy with the completed look for my butterfly.