Pretty little afro embroidery tutorialPublished on 21 August 2020 1 min read
Shikira, the amazing maker behind Kreative Pursuit, has put together an exciting embroidery tutorial just for you! Shikira shows you how to stitch a gorgeous line-art style portrait with a floral motif, step-by-step. Perfect for framing, displaying or gifting!
Check out our handy embroidery stitch guide to refresh your stitching skills.
- Satin Stitch
- Split Stitch
- Couching Stitch
Pay particular attention to the quantity of strands used for different parts of the pattern!
Transfer your image
Cut a square of fabric and inch or so larger than your embroidery hoop.
Place your carbon paper face down on the fabric with the pattern on top.
Use your pencil to trace around all of the outlines using a medium pressure. It's important you keep one hand holding all paper and fabric secure so it doesn’t move.
Keeping one hand secure on the pattern you can lift the other side of the pattern to check it has a transferred. If it hasn’t all come out you can just pop the pattern back down and trace those areas again without fully lifting the pattern off the fabric.
Place your fabric into the embroidery hoop keeping your fabric slightly taught like a drum.
Embroidery threads are made up of 6 individual strands. Often we will be splitting these threads to sew.
Stitching the flowers and leaves
Begin with DMC colour 356. Cut some thread double the length from fingertip to elbow and split the threads using 2 strands only.
Thread your size 3 needle, which is your smallest needle. You’ll use this needle for most of the artwork. Doubling the thread by knotting both ends together. You now have 4 strands
Beginning at the bottom of your first petal in the pattern, push your needle up through your fabric. Bring your needle back down into the fabric at the top of your petal laying your stitches flat and as close together as you can.
Feed your needle under all of your stitches from time to time and give them a little wiggle to make them more in line with each other.
Fill each of the petals of the left flower using the satin stitch. Continue until the flower is complete.
Move on to the middle flower using DMC thread colour 3341. Again split the threads using only 2 stands. Thread your needle and knot both ends together.
Continue using your satin stitch and pay attention to the direction of the stitches. Continue till you complete the full flower.
Use DMC thread colour 3853 to complete the final flower on the right. Use the same techniques as used for previous flowers.
Following the same technique as with your flowers and with the same needle, use DMC thread colour 987 for your leaves.
Work the satin stitch from the tip of the leaf to the base, filling it in and laying those stitches as flat and as close as you can.
It’s a good idea to start from the middle then work your way out either side till it's filled.
For the inner flower start with the left flower which is a dusty pink colour. Create very loose loops in the centre of each flower. Using the same size 3 needle, thread 2 strands of DMC thread colour 976 and knot both ends together.
Bring your needle up through your fabric, about 1mm apart push the needle back down into the fabric creating a loop.
Keep repeating this till the area is tightly filled with loops.
Repeat in the same colour thread for centre flower, which is a coral colour.
Repeat technique for right side flower which is an orange colour but this time using dmc thread colour 356.
How to embroider the face
To create the brows use DMC thread colour 3371. Thread your size 3 needle using only 1 strand of thread and knot one end leaving a tail on the other end. You will now do tiny hair like stitches to build up the eye brows.
For the nostrils do the same but you’ll use roughly 3 tiny stitches just to give an impression of each shadow like nostril.
For the mouth, face, neck and top outline, these areas are done using a split stitch and 1 strand of DMC colour 3371 with size 3 needle. Knot both ends of the thread together so you now have 2 in total.
Begin by bringing your needle up through the fabric. Continue the stitch as if you are doing a running stitch by pushing the needle back down into the fabric about 2-3mm apart.
When you are coming to the second stitch, leave a 2-3mm distance and bring the needle back up through the fabric. This time push your needle back down into the previous stitch. Repeat as you complete these lines.
For the hair outline, thread your size 3 needle with 1 strand of brown (dmc 3371) thread, knotting both ends together so thread becomes doubled. Also, thread your size 24 needle with a length of the same colour but this time using the full 6 strands of thread. Knot only one end and leave a tail at the other.
To begin bring the thicker needle and thread up through the fabric to hang on top. Use the smaller needle bringing it up through the fabric on a curve of the first wave of the hair.
Position the thicker thread to begin to create the wave/coils. Bring the smaller needle over the top of the thicker thread then down into the fabric to secure the wave in place.
Keep repeating this as you move along. When you get to the end of a hair strand, push the needle of the thick thread back down into the fabric to end that stitch and repeat the process by bringing the thick needle back up through the fabric at the next join of the line to continue the hair.
Repeat the couching stitch all along the lines forming waves and coils as you go.
Finishing your masterpiece
Turn your completed hoop over to face the wrong side. Trim the fabric leaving an inch around the hoop.
Thread your size 24 needle with a long length of thread and do a running stitch all around your hoop.
Pull your thread so that the fabric gathers into the centre of the hoop. If you run out of thread just pull to gather again and complete the running stitch.
Once all the fabric is gathered into the hoop you can tie a knot to end.
Your hoop is now complete!