Sunday, 12 February 2012

Spreading the love : Embroidered heart tutorial

I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day. I'll be honest. My cynical side can't help but think it's evolved into a clever marketing ploy that creates unrealistic expectations of love and romance. But I'm happy to give a nod to the essence of the day and a hand-crafted token of love isn't exactly buying into the corporate swindle, so I've put together a hand-embroidered card tutorial to give the day its dues. And the heart design is in no way limited to card, or even Valentine's Day. It's got legs - in ad industry speak - and can be used in myriad ways to spread a little love. 


6" square, plain white card
Embroidery design, printed and cut to size
DMC six-stranded cotton embroidery floss: Red (304), pink (605), grey (168) and white (B5200)
Needles: embroidery (size 8), milliner (size 9)
Cutting mat
Embroidery scissors
Masking tape 


1. Print the design at 100% (no scaling) and cut to size. Place the card flat on a cutting mat and position the design over the front of the card. Tape in place with masking tape.

2. Use the pin to prick holes in the card according to the dots on the design. Use a thimble to save your finger. 

3. Start each new thread with a small knot and end by threading it away on the back of the card. Stitch the outer heart in stem stitch, using four strands of red (304) DMC embroidery floss. Embroider it as a stab stitch, holding the card firmly between your thumb and forefinger and as close to the hole through which you're stitching to stop the card from bending.

4. Use an awl to make the holes of the inner heart a bit bigger before embroidering it in back stitch, using six strands of pink (605). Hold the card as before to stop it from folding and embroider as a stab stitch.

5. Use three strands of grey (168) and two wraps each to make the French knots, using the pattern as a guide.

6. Stitch the remaining French knots using three strands of white (B5200).

Click on the image below to get the full-size pattern, save to your hard drive and print from there. 


Moonsilk Stitches said...

Lovely-thanks! I love the elegant design. to prick--push the eye end of a large needle into an old wine cork. Saves a lot of wear and tear on your hands. I generally begin my paper embroideries by taping the thread to the back. Then when I cover the back of the work with a fold over of the card, it lays flat.

Cheryl Marie said...

Thank you so's really quite lovely. I love simple and clean designs.

Hanna Samuel said...

Thanks for your spreading the love; its really very beautiful embroidery digitizing heart tutorial.. easy to understand and creative work. Thanks.