When I was small, I remember how big the backyard seemed and what a fantastical place it was.
The hedges were a labyrinth, the tall trees formed a jungle canopy, and the dirt was my playground.
I would dig with sticks, turn stones, and collect feathers, leaves, and roly-polies in paper cups.
Kids love exploring the outdoors, and I hope this embroidered piece can bring some of the wonder of nature to you and your little one.
I stitched each letter a bit differently, letting the inspiration of each shape guide my color and stitch choices. There are no rules, just pull out all your threads—that’s what I did—and see where you end up!
- Nursery Alphabet Template, click here
- 12-by-12-in/30.5-by-30.5-cm fabric piece, preshrunk and ironed
- Transfer method (DIY printable fabric paper suggested: freezer paper or Wonder Under, or tear-away stabilizer)
- Transfer paper or water-soluble pen (optional)
- 4-in/10-cm embroidery hoop
- 9-in/23-cm embroidery hoop
- Embroidery Thread (assorted DMC colors shown)
- Size 7 embroidery needle
- Frame (shown: 10 by 10 in/25 by 25 cm)
1. Transfer the pattern onto your fabric. Since this piece has a lot of small details and individual pieces, I experimented with printing directly onto my fabric using the DIY printable fabric paper method. If you do print this template directly onto your fabric, decrease the size of the pattern to about 6 by 6 in/15 by 15 cm, so that you can easily hoop your piece. I printed my template onto a sheet of DIY fabric paper, but instead of fabric I used a sheet of tear-away stabilizer, because I wanted to stitch the pattern at the original, larger size. The transfer paper or water-soluble pen methods will also work great here; it just takes a little more time to transfer the pattern.
2. Because the 8-by-8-in/20-by-20-cm image is large, you will want to work in sections with the 4-in/10-cm hoop to stitch your piece. For a 6-by-6-in/15-by-15-cm piece, you can use the 9-in/23 cm hoop. To avoid getting hoop marks on your fabric, remove the piece from the hoop when you are not working on it. Mount the fabric in the hoop at the upper-left corner of the pattern. If you are working with printed tear-away stabilizer, check to make sure that there is enough room on the fabric for the full pattern to be stitched onto it.
3. Begin stitching the letters in the first section. I used a variety of stitches in 3- and 4-ply thread for thin lines. But, if you’re using a printed fabric template, use thread that will cover the width of the printed lines.
For the first letter, A, use French knots to create little ants. French knots form the bodies, and 1-ply short, straight stitches form the tiny legs.
4. Once the letters in one section are stitched, move on to another section. Be careful when hooping the piece over a previously stitched area. You want to put as little strain as possible on previous stitches and minimize the amount of hooping done over previous stitches.
5. Once you’ve finished embroidering all the alphabet letters, consider adding little French knot ants throughout the piece to reference that first letter A.
Add some of your own details too!
6. Iron any hoop marks smooth. This can be tricky because there are lots of nooks and crannies in this piece. Try ironing the piece face down under a clean, damp cloth. I still had marks on my fabric, so I had to iron the front of the piece too. Try to avoid ironing your stitches as much as possible, and use the tip of the iron to smooth the fabric. (If you stretch your finished embroidery on a frame or art panel, wrinkles and hoop marks will be minimized.)
7. The square shape of this pattern lends itself well to framing or stretching over a canvas.
by Jessica Marquez