Simple Embroidery Stitches for Small Flowers

Which embroidery stitches can you use for flowers? Or leaves? If you are just learning embroidery, you might feel there are so many you don't know which ones to choose. 

I am here to help you. This page introduces some simple stitches that work well for small floral projects. Not only will you find ideas here but also videos showing how to form the stitches.

You will find links to more stitches in the stitch index.

Detached Chain Stitch

Let's start with the first stitch I learnt as a child, detached chain (also known as lazy daisy stitch).

Each detached chain forms a petal shape and we can put them together, with points touching in the center, to form a simple flower.

You may like to use three, five or more, detached chains to create the petals, and pop some French knots in the center. In fact, these are simple enough that you don't even need a pattern traced onto the fabric!

lazy daisy stitch flowers

You can also use them by themselves as a complete flower on a stem. Grouped together, they can resemble a bunch of tulips.

Or why not place them on either side of a central stem, to create a sprig of lavender or an ear of corn?

You can also place one detached chain inside another larger one. Using different colours can give an interesting effect as shown in the large flower at the bottom of this padded satin stitch initial.

For something a little different, look at my lazy daisy strawberry tutorial.  

French knots

french knot flowers

We used French knots for the centre of flowers above, but we can also use them in various ways to create the flowers themselves.

One french knot will work for the smallest flower in a design. Put them together in a ring of four, five or more and you have forget-me-knots or other small flowers.

Place them randomly along a stem or branch, and you have blossoms.

Mass them together around a stem and you can produce flowers such as bluebells or grape hyacinths.

A variation on the normal French knot embroidery stitches are French knots on stalks. Not only do these produce realistic stamens in the center of flowers, but you can also use them for the flower itself. Arranged in a circle with the knots to the outside, you end up with a passable representation of an aster.

In the photograph, above, we again use detached chains for petals and also for simple leaves, along with stem stitch for, well, the stems of some of our flowers.

So at this point we have used just three basic embroidery stitches and created a variety of flowers that we can use in future projects.

Fly stitch

Let's add another one to our library, this time Fly Stitch. I commonly use this for the greenery in a floral embroidery. It makes wonderful caylx for detached chain rose buds, but did you know you can pop another fly stitch at the tip?

The "tail" of a fly stitch can vary in length from just long enough to tie down the "V" shaped section to creating a stalk below the V. Arrange several long-tailed fly stitches in a circle and you have a pretty flower. If you space the embroidery stitches apart, you can create a dandelion clock.

fly stitch flowers

Why not vary the size of the fly stitches themselves and enclose each one in a bigger stitch to create the leaves at the base of a plant. Add a backstitched stem and pop a lazy daisy flower at the top.

Or create a spiky branch with berries on it by stitching one atop another for the length of the branch and add French knots, with from one to three wraps, for the berries.

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