Thursday, 13 December 2012

How to ... Tips for Miniature Embroidery

Sue Bakker's Bargello Embroidery in Progress
Throughout her career in needlework, both 'real size' and miniature, Sue Bakker has been committed to raising the standard of embroidery. So she was happy to share with us her tips and hints for our miniature stitching.

  1. Frame up your work before you start embroidering. For smaller pieces use a hoop. A wooden frame with the canvas or cotton fixed along the edges with drawing pins is good for larger items. For silk gauze use a cardboard frame. Using a frame keeps your hands off the work so it is cleaner and it also helps to keep the material from pulling out of shape.
  2. Start the embroidery in the middle of the pattern. By beginning there and working outwards, the material will not distort as it could if you began stitching on one edge.
  3. For the design details, use half cross stitch. To save trailing threads across the back of the work between the designs, work every alternate stitch outwards, then fill in the gaps as you work back to where you began.
  4. For the backgrounds, use basketweave stitch. This fills in the spaces nicely and keeps the material lying flat. By stitching carefully, the back of your mini embroidery can be as neat as the front.
The back of Sue Bakker's embroidery is as neat as the front
      5. Before you get to the edges of a carpet, work the last row of the outside border, then fold the material over to the underside along this last row of stitching. Do overcast stitch to wrap the edge, then go back to complete the border in basketweave stitch and half cross stitch, working through both layers of the fabric. 
      6. For a fringe, use Surrey stitch as it is neat and not bulky.

The embroidery in the frame is done on 60 count gauze!
  Many thanks to Sue for showing us these tips. We're all inspired to get stitching now!


  1. Thank you so much for the tips, Wendy! I love the embroidery in the frame. I think it's so special!

    1. I wish I'd known about the basketweave stitch for backgrounds before I'd done the carpets for my Edwardian dolls house! I was so impressed at how neat Sue's work was on the reverse side!
      Thanks, Lucille.