Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Tiny Buds on a Vine – A Stitch Fun Tutorial


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Here in Kansas, the rapid onset of spring in the last week is forcing out the buds on flowers, trees and shrubs.

Yeeeehaw! That’s exciting!

To celebrate, I thought I’d share a little Stitch Fun tutorial with you, to show you a simple way to embroider a pretty little floral vine speckled with tiny buds.

This is one of the many combinations in my Stitch Sampler Alphabet (ebook coming soon!), and it’s one of my favorites. It’s quick to work, simple, and very adaptable – think crazy quilt seam treatments, borders, sampler bands, or a floral element in embroidered gardens and landscapes. The combination could also be reasonably adapted into crewel work for wide vines. There are lots and lots of possibilities!

Ready? Here it is – a Stitch Fun tutorial for a floral vine with tiny buds, using up and down buttonhole stitch.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

In this tutorial, I’ll take you step by step through working the up and down buttonhole stitch on a slant. Before we start, though, if you’re not familiar with the stitch, you might want to watch my video tutorial for the up and down buttonhole stitch.

I’m using coton a broder #25 in this tutorial, stitching on Alba Maxima linen, using a #7 crewel needle.

If you want to see larger versions of any of the photos in the tutorial, just click on them.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Begin by bringing your needle and thread to the front of the fabric, just slightly off the design line.

Then, as if working a diagonal straight stitch, take the needle down into the fabric a good quarter inch or more away, as shown in the photo above. How long you make this stitch depends on how long you want your buds to protrude from the main “branch” of the vine.

With this particular thread (coton a broder #25) or with, for example, 2 strands of regular DMC, 1/4″ stitch here is a good stitch length.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Before pulling your thread all the way through, bring the needle back to the front of the fabric, inside the loop formed by the working thread, and just above where you first emerged to begin the line.

You want to keep a diagonal slant on this stitch, so emerge close to your starting point.

Pull the thread through…

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

…and this will make the first slanted buttonhole stitch.

Then, take your needle to the back of the fabric, right next to where the thread just emerged. Don’t go down in the same hole, but right next to it, with a fabric thread or so in between, as shown in the photo above.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Before you pull the thread all the way through, bring the needle to the front of the fabric, inside the loop of the working thread (shown above), and above the tip of the first buttonhole stitch.

You want a little space here between the two stitches. Don’t come up right next to the first stitch.

How far you space these stitches at the tips is up to you – you can play with spacing to achieve different effects. I found that two or three fabric threads was a good distance.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Pull the thread through, and down away from the stitch, as shown in the photo above.

As you pull this stitch through, the thread will cinch around the two stitches, pulling them together at their base, but leaving them spread apart at their tips. This is what you want.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Now it’s time to move up the line for the next pair of stitches.

Take your needle down into the fabric above the tips of the first pair of stitches.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

As you work the second pair, try to keep a slant similar to the first pair of stitches.

In the photo above, I’m bringing the needle up inside the loop of the working thread, close to the design line and closer to the base of the first pair of stitches, to maintain the slant on the stitches.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

After pulling the thread through for the first buttonhole stitch in this pair, take the needle down into the fabric again, right next to where you just emerged, to begin the second buttonhole of the pair.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

As you begin to pull the thread through, leave a loop on the front and take the needle up inside the loop again, slightly higher than the tip of the previous buttonhole…

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

…and, again, pull the thread through and away from the stitch, tightening it up around the neck of the two stitches.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Rinse, lather, repeat.

Just repeat the process all the way up your design line.

This does work well on gentle curves, too, so feel free to experiment with gently curving lines. It works ok on tighter curves if you only work one side of the vine. The inside of a tight curve gets a little too squished to look good, if you try to do both sides of the vine.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

And then work the same process on the opposite side of your design line.

You can mirror the placement of the stitches, or you can off-set them, working the opposite side’s stitches between the first side’s stitches. Experiment!

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

Now it’s time to decorate the vine. You can create buds by working very simple straight stitches at the tips, between each pair of buttonhole stitches. In the version above, I also added French knots up the center.

How to embroider a floral vine with tiny buds - Stitch Fun tutorial

In the version above, I dressed up the buds a little bit. After working a lighter coral straight stitch at the very tip, between the two buttonhole stitches, I worked a darker coral stitch further into the space between the buttonholes, by splitting the light coral stitch.

Then, to fill out the vine a little bit, I worked light green straight stitches between each bud, and finally, I whipped up the center of the vine with a medium purple, to connect it, color-wise, with the other areas of stitching on the letter.

So, what do you think? Was that fun, or what?! I hope you give this little budding vine a try – and don’t hesitate to experiment with it!

Stitch Fun is a series of embroidery stitch tutorials on Needle ‘n Thread, where we explore embroidery stitches and stitch combinations just for the fun of it! You’ll find plenty more tutorials in the Stitch Fun Index, if you’re longing for some adventurous stitching!


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(36) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    These tutorials are wonderful. Thank you so much! I love the Beaded Drizzle Stitch and I can’t wait to explore and work these in my granddaughters quilts. Blessings to you!

    1. Glad you like it, Jennifer! The problem with playing with all these stitch combinations is that it can be really, really addictive – it’s hard to get back to other work! 🙂

  2. I was wondering Mary, in your Stitch Sampler Alphabet ebook, will you be listing what type of thread you are working with in each sample? I have so much to learn.

    1. Yes. The whole alphabet is done with only two types of thread: coton a broder #25 (that I used in this tutorial) and floche, but for all the letters and stitches, 2 strands of DMC cotton floss can be substituted. I talk about that in the book, too, and show samples of differences….

  3. Hello again from across the big water!
    This stitch is gorgeous and I already love its versatility – thank you so much for sharing and I cannot wait for more like it in your e-book. What is even better is that I have just finished a project and now feel like I can start a new one, yay!

    1. On another note, Mary, I wish to join the forum but my username is awaiting approval (request sent on 5 Feb). Is there anything else I need to do? I want to share my pictures!!

    2. Hi, Gracie – the forum is not running correctly right now. I’m doing some background work on it, and I’ll have an announcement to make about it in the future. Pictures can’t be posted right now either. I’m so sorry! I hope to have something more definite on that in the near future. But I’d LOVE to see pictures of your project!! 🙂

    3. Okay, thanks for the update on the forum. I will keep an eye out for when it is back up and running!

  4. Dear Mary

    Great tutorial and what lovely vines on a bud and such a simple stitch I do like the buttonhole stitch and the vine looks easy to accomplish and great for a stitch fun tutorial. I also like the colours you have chosen for the vine and buds. I can’t wait for the ebook alphabet sampler to be finished so I can purchase it and try all those beautiful monograms. Thanks for sharing this fun stitch with us and for the step by step instructions on how to achieve the vine on a bud beautiful stitching.

    Regards Anita Simmance

  5. Thanks Mary, It’s lovely. I can’t wait to play with this today. I know I will use this technique in my Rosary Cases. Blessings on your day
    Victoria from VA

  6. I imagine you have discussed this in the past, but wondering where to get Broder special in colors? Love the colors you are using in this stitch tutorial!

    1. Hi, Beth – You can order it from the following shops:

      Hedgehog Handworks: http://www.hedgehoghandworks.com/catalog/FBRDMC107CLRS.php
      Vaune.com: http://www.vaune.com/shop/cart.php?target=category&category_id=65
      Lacis: http://lacis.com/catalog/ (their website doesn’t provide a direct link, so you have to search under “materials” and then “DMC, etc.” – it’s an annoying website, but they carry a lot of stuff!)

      The price per skein is the same at all three places. If you’re just ordering a few skeins of threads, the first two shops (Hedgehog and Vaune) will adjust shipping rates. Lacis offers “free” shipping with a $5.50 “handling fee” on all orders, which makes shipping for a few skeins of thread rather expensive. But if you’re ordering other things from there – especially heavier stuff like books and whatnot – it can be a good deal.

  7. The Tiny Buds on a Vine is just so cute! You are the master of instruction. Your tutorials, written or video, are the best! Thank you for freely sharing your wonderful gift! I look forward to your emails.

  8. More great stitch combinations and another excellent tutorial from you, Mary! I don’t think we can ever thank you enough for all the work you do for us!

  9. Beautiful! I’m going to try this one. I’ve found that blanket/buttonhole stitches are real versatile. I used them as grass in a field scene I once made. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Mary
    , Once again I am in awe of your generosity in sharing your talent with all of us. I have learned what I know of embroidery from Needle ‘n Thread and look forward with eager anticipation to your Stitch Sampler Alphabet ebook. I am currently working on embroidering pillowcases using the Whipped Backstitch that you have shared and am delighted with the result. Thanks for all that you do. Have a grand day.

  11. I really love this technique it looks so like some of my flowers. I would really love to see how you finished the top – stem end – of the “fancied up” one. The first one seems to end abruptly but it looks like the “fancied up one” might be a little different.

  12. I am so glad I found your website. I’m a beginner (learned some stitches in the last few days) and I love it! I thought that embroidery would be too difficult for me to learn but you make it so easy to understand in your videos!!! Thanks again.

    1. Can you please make a vid on this? I am begging. I seem to catch on that way bc you usually repeat the steps. I’m a very slow learner. Some people are lambos, others are Geos…I’m a Geo 🙂

    2. I got it. FINALLY. I watched the Up & Down Buttonhole Stitch video about 500 times and paused it every three seconds lol

  13. Thanks for sharing this tutorial with us Mary.
    I absolutely adore it. I’m going to try this right away.
    So exciting, I can hardly wait to see your stitch sampler alphabet.
    It’s going to look amazing!

  14. By the way, after watching Mary’s video tutorials, does anyone else read the Stitch Fun videos in her voice, or is it just me? 😉

  15. I wish you could put up a video explaining this tutorial of tiny buds on a vine. It would make things more simpler to understand. Thanks.

  16. Hi Mary,
    Stumbled on your website while searching for embroidery designs. Just love this website! Your colour choices are eye-catching which adds to the design. Your explanations are very clear. Thanks for sharing your designs and ideas with the world. I have a small website- just a few pages- where I share the crafts I do. I recently had the desire to embroider my dresses and was searching for inspiration. This is a simple and pretty design. Cant wait to try this.

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