Embroidery for Beginners: How to Embroider Letters [+ FREE Template!]
If you read our earlier post on embroidery and how to get started, and now you want more… then you’ve come to the right place! If you’re keen to learn how to embroider letters, then read on to discover exactly how to master a number of essential stitches that will enable you to do just that!
This article delves straight into learning how to sew solid lines with backstitch, how to embroider flowers and leaves with a simple lazy-daisy stitch, and how to fill in areas with the beautiful satin stitch. We will also be using the French knot from our first article on how to embroider, to add pretty details to the floral design!
Guide to Embroidery Stitches
Before we begin the project, here’s a guide for the stitches we’ll use. This section will be your project key. Here, I’ll take you step-by-step through how to complete a backstitch, a lazy-daisy stitch, and a satin stitch, enabling you to produce a bloomin’ great piece of embroidery!
1. Backstitch: For Lines & Outlines
This is a fantastic and easy-to-work stitch wherever you need a solid line.
To sew backstitch, bring the needle from the back to the front and sew a single stitch (top left), then insert the needle back into the hole where the thread came up (top right).
Bring the needle back to the front of the fabric a stitch-length away from the end of the previous stitch (bottom left), then insert it back into the hole at the end of the previous stitch as before (bottom right).
Backstitch is really versatile and can be sewn with any number of strands to make delicate thin lines or really thick ones. I generally use three strands for lettering and two for outlines.
2. Lazy-Daisy Stitch: For Leaves & Flower Petals
I love this stitch! It makes really sweet petal and leaf shapes and is so simple to sew.
First, bring the needle from the back to the front of the fabric at the pointy end of the petal (top left), then insert it back into the same hole, leaving a loop of thread (top right). Next, bring the needle up at the rounded end of the petal, making sure that it’s inside the thread loop (bottom left), and take a tiny stitch to anchor the loop in place (bottom right). Don’t pull too hard when sewing your anchoring stitch or you might pull the petal out of shape.
3. Satin Stitch: For Filling Areas
The satin stitch is my absolute favourite. It’s quite time-consuming and uses a lot of thread, but is so beautiful that it’s totally worth it.
It’s important to use an outline when sewing the satin stitch to make sure that your edges stay even. Personally, I prefer to sew over the outline stitches to hide them, but you can sew inside the marked area if you prefer.
Satin stitch is simply a series of parallel stitches sewn very close together. The result is a smooth, raised block of solid colour that is really gorgeous!
For This Project, You Will Need:
- Embroidery threads
- Embroidery needles
- 6″ wooden embroidery hoop
- Plain cotton fabric (I’m using white quilting cotton)
- Water-erasable fine tip fabric marker
- A copy of the design, printed at 100% [download here]
First, tape the paper copy of the design to a window and transfer it onto your fabric using the water-erasable pen.
Loosen the screw on your embroidery hoop, remove the outer ring, and place the fabric over the inner ring. Replace the outer ring and tighten the screw.
You want your fabric to be drum tight in the hoop, so gently pull on the edges all the way around before the screw is fully tightened.
Choose any colours you like to complete your design — that’s the fun of embroidery! I used a pretty coral pink for the word ‘bloom’, but you can use anything you want.
The outlines, writing, and plant stems are all sewn using backstitch. I used two strands for the outlines in the word ‘Bloom’ and three for the rest of the lettering and the stems. (See ‘Backstitch’ in the stitch guide above for more information on how to complete this.)
When you get to the end of a section or near the end of your piece of thread, bring the needle to the back of the work and sew through one of the stitches on the back (but not the fabric). Make a loop in your working thread and sew through that as well. Pull tight to make a knot.
Once you have finished the ‘Bloom’ outline, it’s time to fill it in with satin stitch.
This is simply a series of parallel stitches sewn very close together that result in a beautiful solid block of colour. (See ‘Satin Stitch’ in the stitch guide above for more information.)
Sew the flower petals and leaves with the lazy-daisy stitch (see ‘Lazy-Daisy Stitch’ in the stitch guide above to learn how to perform this stitch). Add French knots to the centre of the flowers and the dots near the stems.
To complete these French knots, first bring the needle and thread through to the front of the work. Then, wind the thread around the needle two or three times. Pull on the thread so that the knot sits against the fabric and insert the needle through the fabric a couple of threads away from where you originally came up. You should be left with a nice round knot.
When you’ve finished stitching your whole design, you can remove the visible marker pen by simply spraying with water or dabbing with a damp sponge — it disappears like magic!