A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Embroidered flowers

I picked up a book called The Art of Embroidered Flowers from the "free" table at my quilt guild meeting a couple of months ago.

It was written by Gilda Baron, who I googled and found out she had recently died.  There are several YouTube videos out there that she had done, showing demonstrations of her techniques, and this book is wonderful.  I'm sure most of you already have all the materials necessary to try some of these techniques.

I had already painted some pieces a few years ago using an assortment of Dynaflow and Jacquard fabric paints, so I dug them out and finally put them to use for this project:

First I drew some lines using fabric markers:

And of course heat set with an iron.

For a backing, the book recommended just using batting (wadding) but I have found it not to be stiff enough in the past, so I used some pretty heavy pellon interfacing.  I didn't use a hoop, but some people feel more comfortable using one, it's really not necessary if your stabilizer is sturdy.  

Then I started free motion stitching some lines to suggest grasses using an assortment of threads (rayon, cotton, polyester):

For the blue background, I painted some bubble wrap with purple paint then pressed it onto the fabric, then stitched some vertical lines: 

And finished them both off with some simple hand stitching, mostly french knots and flowers.

There was some minor puckering on these, so I asked my friend Jenny Williams (an extraordinary thread sketcher) what I could use for backing to eliminate some of that problem.  She suggested regular cotton duck, so I tried that for my next ones.  It was a lot easier to do hand stitching through than trying to get a needle through the pellon.

Also, if you're doing a lot of lines, it's smarter to add some zigzag stitches in first, as they fill up the background a whole lot faster than straight lines do.

Here are two more simple techniques from the book, using a zigzag stitch to suggest a flower like delphiniums or larkspur:

And cutting out  some little circles, which I glued to the piece before stitching--

Then took to my machine and made a quick series of zigzags which I later clipped--

With some french knots added:

And I tried out a different stitch for foliage here:

Just need to add a few french knots--

Next time I'll show you an easy way to finish them for framing.


  1. I have a series of DVDs from Colouricious a UK based company that Jamie Malden sells blocks for block printing and fibre art supplies.
    She created one season of a tv show and several videos of different UK artists. Gilda Barons was one of the artists.
    It is a great inspirational series and it is often on sale. I did buy it on sale and it is a great resource. Good for a guild or individual. Shipping was reasonable too!
    I love Gilda's work. Sorry to hear of her passing. What a great find to get her book.
    Love your creations.
    I need to try this some day soon.

  2. I was a hand embroiderer prior to taking up art quilting. The techniques shown here are so very close to my current working focus, I just can't wait to try them. Very nicely done.
    Pat F in Winnipeg

  3. So timely! I have my computer set to cycle through photos from a different trip each month. This month was Yellowstone. The one that popped up today is of the landscape ravaged by fire but now the lavender flowers have covered the field. I was just wondering how i was going to make those flowers! And you happened!

  4. I have this same book and have referenced it often. Your pieces turned out LOVELY!!!!! Very nice!!!

  5. Thanks, everyone who commented. These pieces were surprisingly easy to make, and a lot of fun trying out different looks, colors, and variations!


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