Sewing For Kids
This sweet picture showing two playful rabbits in the spring is the perfect introduction to needlecraft, as it contains eight of the essential stitches that you need to start embroidering. Use as few or as many as you desire!
© 2019 Alice Butcher / David & Charles · Reproduced with permission.
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Cut a 40cm (16in) square of linen and tape it down over the drawing to prevent it from moving. The image will be visible beneath the linen, allowing you to retrace it with either a pencil or vanishing fabric pen.
Cut a length of embroidery thread to around 60cm (24in) (any longer and it will knot or tangle) and thread onto the needle. Push the needle through to the front, leaving a 1cm (3∕8in) end at the back. Hold the end down with your thumb and make two tiny stitches to secure the threads – the loose ends can be cut off afterwards. Hold the hoop in your left hand if you are right-handed or your right hand if left-handed and work from the front.
The eight embroidery stitches used are as follows:
• The outline circle and branches are sewn in running stitch: work from right to left, taking the needle in and out of the fabric and pulling the thread through. Keep your stitches small and evenly spaced.
• The rabbits are sewn in backstitch: bring the needle up to the front of the design. Take a backward stitch and then bring the needle up a little way ahead of the first stitch. Insert the needle into the point where the first stitch finished.
• The long grass and grass in the foreground are sewn in stem (outline) stitch: working from left to right, bring the needle up to the front and make a stitch. Bring the needle back up halfway along the first stitch to the left side and make another stitch. Continue with small, even stitches.
“Using an embroidery hoop keeps your linen fl at, making it easier to sew neat, even stitches”
• The tree trunk is sewn in chain stitch: bring the thread out and hold down with your thumb. Insert the needle next to where it last emerged and bring the point out a little way in front. Pull through, keeping the thread under the needlepoint to form a looped stitch.
• The leaves and flowers are sewn in detached chain stitch: work in the same way as chain stitch but fasten over each loop with a small stitch. To make the daisies, work around in a group to create flower petals – this is known as lazy daisy stitch.
• The blossom and flower centres are sewn with French knots: bring the needle to the front and hold the thread down. Twist the thread around the needle two or three times.
Insert the needle close to where the thread emerged and pull tightly through, creating a neat knot on the surface.
• The eyes are sewn with satin stitch: following the outline, bring the needle to the front on one side and take the stitch over to the other side. Continue, keeping the stitches close and the edges even.
• The short grass is sewn with long (straight) stitch: worked like a single running stitch, vary the length to create long or short stitches.
As you sew, keep pulling the needle up to release the thread or you will start sewing a double thickness. To join on a new thread, finish off the stitch by pushing the needle through to the back of the work and sewing two small stitches. As you pull the thread through on the last stitch, push the needle through the loop to create a knot and cut off threads. Start a new thread (see Step 3).