Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Satin stitch leaves

I have been stitching leaf, after leaf, after leaf, after daisy, after leaf today and yesterday.  

I love satin stitch leaves and find them quite relaxing to do, once I get in a bit of a groove.
In essence satin stitch is really, really simple... just parallel straight stitches. But I think perhaps because it so so simple it has to be quite accurate to look really beautiful, any irregularities stand out like a sore toe.
Satin stitch can be a little bit tricky to get really smooth and beautiful but this is how I do them.  

Most importantly: I take the time it takes. Satin stitch leaves, or any satin stitch for that matter cannot be rushed. The satin stitches should be placed closely side by side, not crowded and not 'gappy' - it takes practise. 

1. I start with a split stitch along the outline. This helps to slightly raise the edges and give the shape definition, but it is also a great help in getting the edges nice and smooth.
It is best to keep the stitches quite small event along straight lines. If they are too long, they become 'sloppy' and you don't get the same support for the satin stitch over the top.
Split stitch, as in splitting the stitches from below, can take a little practise. If you find it really tricky, split back stitch (splitting the previous stitch from the top down) works just as well, it just uses a little more thread.

2 & 3. POINTS. To get really nice sharp points, I take the last stitch just past the marked line. This way, when I split the stitch to come back down the other side, I am level with the adjacent line.

4. I then fill the shape with some kind of padding stitch, mostly just straight stitches. These should be placed at a different angle to the top layer of stitches.
If I want really raised or embossed satin stitch, I will place several layers of padding and each layer at a different angle to the one below it.
These long straight stitches can be worked back and forth so you just have tiny little stitches along the edges on the wrong side.

(Apology for the fuzzy pictures!)

5. I always, always, always start my satin stitch across the widest point of a shape. It is so much easier to get the angle or direction of the stitches correct across a wide area than trying to guess at a tapered point. 
When stitching leaves, I will usually place each stitch from the outer edge into the centre line. I bring the needle out at a slight angle from under the split stitch outline (slide the tip of your needle across the fabric on the wrong side to feel the correct spot)

6. Once I get to one end, I return to the starting point and stitch to the other end. 

7. I then stitch the opposite side in the same way, again from the outside into the centre. That way I am certain not to accidentally split and distort the stitches along middle. 

8. When stitching leaves, I will often use a different shade of green for each side, but this time I am using the same thread. You could easily leave it like this, but I will be giving these little leaves a fine stem stitch vein down the centre.

The daisy chain on one side is finished and the other one is well under way... which is just as well, since I will be teaching this piece in just two weeks...
Nothing like cutting it fine, is there??

Best stitches,


  1. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas ! I have enjoyed seeing your needlework throughout the year so much . x

  2. Yes I,m loving crewel embroidery too at the moment . Yours is beautiful ! I do enjoy reading your blog . Have a very Merry Christmas ! x