Monday, 12 July 2010

Flower Sandwiches

HAVE been embroidering hydrangeas from the garden, using a technique I once read about in the Embroiderers Guild magazine Stitch.

Basically you sandwich the flowers between a layer of cotton or calico and a layer of chiffon, then embellish them with stitches or beads.

You need:
  • Two large sheets of baking parchment (this is essential if you do not want to wreck your iron and ironing board, and it is useful if you have an old unwantd iron).
  • A piece of cotton or calico.
  • A piece of chiffon.
  • Flower petals.
  • Two pieces of Bondaweb cut to size.
  • Felt or wadding and backing fabric.
  • Needle and thread.
The method is dead simple:Place the calico or cotton on one sheet of baking parchment and place the Bondaweb on top, then a sheet of baking parchment.
  • Following the instructions on the pack, iron the Bondaweb, then peel off the backing.
  • Arrange flowers, petals or leaves face up on the top, then cover them with the second piece of Bondaweb and the baking parchment.
  • Iron, according to instructions.
  • Peel backing off Bondaweb, cover with the chiffon, then the baking parchment, then iron again.
At this point I usually tack the layers to a piece of wadding and backing fabric or some felt (which I much prefer) because it gives a nice quilted effect when you stitch, but you don't have to do this.

The stitching really is the fun part.  You just delve into your stash of threads of do your own thing. 

In the original article vertical rows of running stitch  were used as a background, but I like the effect of backstitching around the edges of the petals, then following the outline with several rows of running stitch.

You can add French knots, straight stitch, any other stitch you like, or even small beads.

And you can be just as creative with threads. I like space dyed threads for this, in purples, reds, pinks or blues, but green is effective as well - it gives an impression of foliage.  But you can use any colour and thickness that pleases you, or use up a variety of oddments.

The same applies to your fabric.  You can use any colour of cotton and chiffon, and can even paint or print on them.

I experimented with satin and net, but didn't like the effect.

You don't have to use hydrangeas, but the flowers do have to be fairly flat and not too fleshy.  Last year I used rose petals to make a wedding card, and small interestingly shaped leaves look fantastic, especially ferny looking ones.

Flowers do have a tendancy to change colour in the process - my beautiful sky blue hydrangeas turn purple  - and they fade a little over time, but they are such fun to do.

I must admit I am not sure my methods are correct, and my stitching is very uneven, as I am self-taught, and learn from books and from working on my 'fiddle faddles'.

However, proper details are available on the Embroiders Guild website at (

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