Stitching a Tree with Silk Ribbons

Earlier this week I posted a tutorial on how to make straight stitches with silk ribbon, but I think you would agree that nothing is more boring than practising a new technique without a pattern or even an idea of what you’re stitching. Personally, I hate the thought of polishing a skill if it don’t end up in a nice piece, which I can frame and proudly hang on the wall. So I came up with an idea of making a series of posts with small, nice designs, that will give you a hand in learning basics of the silk ribbon embroidery. These designs will be easy in making, which is handy, for example, if one needs a gift at short notice.

There already has been posts about stitching spider web roses and finishing the final piece in a cushion. Now here’s next tutorial for mastering the straight stitch. I am going to show how to embroider a tree with silk ribbons.

silk ribbon embroidery - tree tutorialTo stitch a tree like this one, you’ll need:

  1. 9 in x 9 in piece of white or coloured cotton fabric to stitch on. I like to use fabric that is indented for patchwork, as it usually has nice patterns which make finished piece look more sophisticated, but any cotton fabric will do. For this piece pick out a pale one with subdued pattern.
  2. 9 in x 9 in piece of white fabric for supporting your stitching. As usual, calico (in the US it’s called Muslin) works well.
  3. 4mm wide Hearty Craft hand-dyed silk ribbon – ‘Lawn
  4. Embroidery floss (DMC, Anchor, or any other six-strand floss) in brown, green, red, and white.
  5. Embroidery (size 9 or 8) and a chenille (size 18) needles.
  6. 6-inch embroidery hoop
  7. Scissors
  8. Ordinary HB pencil
  9. Buttons for embellishment
  10. Iron, and Ironing board

Print out the pattern of the tree. You can download PDF file here.

Press all the fabric to make it crease-free. Then using any method you like transfer the patten onto your fabric. You might like to use a transfer pencil or just stick the printed paper with the pattern onto a window, place the fabric over it and outline the lines with the HB pencil.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery - Tree Pattern (1)1. Place the fabric onto a piece of calico and mount both of them into a hoop, so that you have two layers of fabric to stitch through. It’s really important to use the calico or any other fabric to support your stitching, as embroidery with silk ribbons is more textured and heavier than when you stitch with embroidery floss.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery - Tree Pattern (2)2. Using two strands of brown floss back stitch tree branches and a trunk. Cover all the pencil lines with your stitching.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery - Tree Pattern (3)3. Embroider tree foliage using 4-mm wide Hearty Craft silk ribbon and a chenille needle. Making straight stitches with the ribbon for each tree leaf according to the pattern. Start with the leaves that are on the branches (they are shown on the pattern in light green) . Check out the tutorial on how to make a straight stitch with silk ribbon.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery - Tree Pattern (4)4. Work all the other stitches, covering the pencils marks with the ribbon. Notice that even though all the leaves are stitched using the same skein of ribbon, they all look different as in live tree thanks to the variegated colour of the hand dyed silk ribbon.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery - Tree Pattern (5)5. Fill the spaces among the leaves with tiny straight stitches made with two strands of green floss. Work them in scattered pattern. This will give the embroidery more depth.

Silk Ribbon Embroidery - Tree Pattern (6)6. Stitch two mushrooms with the back stitch and two strands of red and white floss. I have used a satin stitch to fill one of the mushrooms.

As a finishing touch, embellish the piece with your favourite buttons. I had a couple of acorn-shaped ones, which look really nice.

Take the piece out of the hop and give a good press to the areas that were jammed with the hoop. Make sure you do not the press the embroidery itself, as it would get flat and lose its depth.

Here’s my finished stitching, I made a makeup bag.

Makeup bag with silk ribbon embroidery

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