What better way to revel in the beauty of a garden than to recreate the vibrancy of seasonal flora? Embroidery is an age-old skill that can capture variations of light and depths of color, and the resulting artwork makes exquisite framed décor.
By Kazuko Aoki
March / April 2018
Photo by Josui Yasuda
• Lavender flower pattern
• Tracing paper
• Transfer paper
• One 12-by-15-inch piece linen fabric
• Craft stylus
• One 12-by-15-inch piece single-sided, medium-weight fusible interfacing
• DMC embroidery floss No. 25 (368, 320, 210, 553, 3746, 3045, 646)
• DMC embroidery floss No. 5 (368)
• French embroidery needle No. 3 or 4
• French embroidery needle No. 7
• Thin sewing needle
• Embroidery frame (optional)
Illustration by Satomi Dairaku
1. To transfer the lavender pattern onto linen, first copy the pattern on tracing paper. Next, layer your transfer paper, the tracing paper with the pattern, and then your cellophane onto the side of the linen on which you’ll be sewing. Use a craft stylus to trace and transfer the pattern onto the fabric. Apply the single-sided fusible interfacing to the reverse side of the fabric before embroidering.
2. Embroider stems, flowers, and then leaves. Work the pattern from top to bottom, trying to keep the flowers centered. Aim for curved lines, as opposed to straight ones, to give a natural look. For flowers, work the embroidery from the outside toward the center. For petals, start from the middle, and then finish each side. Add pistils and stamens last.
3. When complete, stretch the embroidered fabric on a circular hoop or, for larger projects, a rectangular frame to neatly finish your product.
For DMC No. 5, embroider with a single strand. DMC No. 25 is sold loosely plied in six strands, so first cut it to the length being used, and then pull out the number of necessary strands and reassemble them. Embroider DMC No. 25 with three strands, unless otherwise noted.
To achieve the best results, choose a sharp needle. For a single strand of DMC No. 5, use the French embroidery needle No. 3 or 4. For DMC No. 25, use the thin sewing needle when there’s a single strand, and the French embroidery needle No. 7 when there’s two or three strands.
For instructions that use the term “variegated,” embroider with two or more colors threaded onto the same needle.
From Embroidered Garden Flowers by Kazuko Aoki, © 2017 by Kazuko Aoki. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boulder, CO.