Basic Embroidery Stitches for Small Flowers

Which embroidery stitches can you use to create easy embroidered flowers? Or leaves? If you are just learning the basic stitches, 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 hand embroidery stitches that you can use for this purpose.

You will find ideas for easy flower embroidery that can be placed around the neckline, on the sleeves or pockets of your tops. Why not add a row of tiny flowers alongside the outer seam of your jeans? Or decorate the opening of a pillowcase with a riot of embroidered flowers. 

I have also included videos showing how to form the stitches.

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


Detached chain embroidery stitches

Let's start with the simple 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  simple flowers.

You may like to use three, five or more, detached chains to create the petals, and add French knots in the center. In fact, chain stitch embroidery is simple enough that you can add them to any of your embroidery patterns without needing a printed outline. 

lazy daisy stitch flowers

You can also use a detached chain stitch as a complete flower on a stem. Grouped together, they can resemble a bunch of tulips.

Or why try embroidering flowers 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 of embroidery floss 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 for tiny embroidered flowers

french knot flowers

I used French knots for the centre of the embroidered 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 four or five together in a ring, with a central knot in a different colour of embroidery floss and you have forget-me-knots or other small flowers.

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

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.

We can use a combination of stitches to embroider flowers.

In the photograph, above, I used detached chains for petals and simple leaves, along with stem stitch for stalks as well as French knots. 

So at this point we have learned how to sew a flower using three basic embroidery stitches. Simple so far?


Fly stitch flowers and leaves

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 calyx for detached chain rosebuds. You could also add a fly stitch to the tip of the chain for added effect.

A fly stitch consists of a straight stitch that is pulled into a V shape by an additional stitch that can be of any length. If you keep it really short it is hardly visible, whereas a longer tie down stitch can form a stalk for your flower. A pretty versatile stitch don't you think?

Arrange several long-tailed fly stitches in a circle with the tails meeting in the center to create a different embroidered flower. Space the stitches apart and you end up with 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 covered with berries by chaining fly stitches together for the length of the branch. Then add French knots for the berries.

I hope this page has given you some ideas when considering designs for hand embroidery of flowers.


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