Bustle & Sew Free Spring Stitchalong

And now for something completely different!  That is to say, something I haven’t done before – a Bustle & Sew stitchalong.  One of the (many) reasons I love hand embroidery is that there’s always something new to discover, though like many stitchers I am guilty of keeping to a few well-tried and trusted stitches and techniques. And this is why I thought it would be fun to start our very own Bustle & Sew stitch-along.

Armed only with my Grandma’s copy of Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches I have drawn up a pattern that I think will be perfect to work as a sampler with each book spine featuring a different selection of stitches. There will be weekly updates on how I’m getting along, video tutorials on some of the less familiar stitches (we’ll be learning together) and full details of my choice of stitches and patterns.

I’d love this to be an interactive process, so if you do decide to stitch along with me and would like to share your work then please do CLICK HERE to join my Stitchalong list. (Please do excuse the grubby-looking Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvi above, I dissolved some of it away to work my filling stitches better and somehow the ink on the remainder became a bit smudged).  I’ll be sending out weekly updates with suggestions, videos, progress made and stitch diagrams as we go along.  It would be great if anyone else had any suggestions or ideas for stitches to use in this project, as I think it would be a lot of fun to make this into a joint creation.

I’ve set up a group on Flickr to share our work – you can join the group here. If you’re not a Flickr member then you’ll need to join to post photos (it’s easy, free and safe) but if you don’t want to join then you can still look at other people’s work by visiting that link.

Above you can see a detail of my Pekinese stitch (I’ve never worked this stitch before).  Now I’ve practised it a bit I plan to post a new video short on how to work it later this week.  I’d also like to include small motifs in my sampler, such as the flowers you can see as I think it’s also important to record techniques as well as stitches.  I’m hoping Rosie will share her technique for creating the lovely flowers on the necklaces she makes too.   I hope if you’re a hand embroiderer that you’ll think this is a good idea, and want to join in – remember it’s free, friendly and FUN!!

Just click here to join and get the pattern to download ready to start stitching.


Sort of similar, yes you’re right – and we did enjoy stitching it together I recall 🙂 xx


Wow, that sounds so fun! I hope I can fit it in–I just started smocking the first of two baby dresses…but, bookshelf! What a brilliant way to design a sampler!


Thanks so much Jean. I’m going to send everything out by email so even if you’ve no time now, you can always save it for another day. What a lucky baby too! xx


Hi Helen, This looks like a lot of fun! I’ve signed up and printed off the two pages but they are different scales. I can’t seem to get them to print off at the same scale so I can match them in the middle. Any ideas? Thank you much! Dawn


The stitchalong sounds like such fun and the sampler is lovely! I’m looking forward to trying all the new stitches.
XXX Linda


Hi Helen, I just had a thought (regarding my previous comment). If you could reduce the pattern so it would fit entirely on an 8.5 x 11 (standard letter sized paper), then I could print that and take it to a copy shop to have it enlarged. Thanks, Dawn


Hi Dawn, I’m really not sure what’s going on here as the two parts of the design are literally two halves of a single image. It’s very odd. But never mind, I have emailed you a smaller, 9″ wide template of the whole sampler so you can get it enlarged as you suggest. Very excited about this and hope you’ll enjoy stitching along! xx


Hi Helen, I signed up yesterday evening and I also joined your flickr group, my flickr name is The Blacksmith’s Daughter. I’ve recently retired and I’m looking to get back into sewing, embroidery, crochet and knitting – all things I used to enjoy before retuning to full time work over 25 years ago!

I will be a little rusty to start off with but I’m looking forward to it very much. Thank you very much. Ann.


Love this pattern! I’ve signed up and I’m excited to start:)

What fabric do you recommend?



Oh I would love to do this! I’ve had such a hard time copying the pattern for the hydrangea clock that I just bought that I’m afraid to . Any tips on copying the pattern to fabric? I used the carbon kind of sheets and did it 5 times to get anything near visible (and broke my tv table pressing so hard!). Then 3 days later most of it has disappeared!
and I was sooo excited to do it. This looks great too….sigh


Don’t worry, help is at hand! Try Sulky Sticky Fabri Solvy sheets, they go through your printer, then you peel off the backing and stick the self adhesive side to your fabric, stitch the design, then dissolve away the printed Fabri Solvy which disappears without trace – result!


Hi Patty, no not at all – if you’re on Facebook we have a special group set up so please just pop over and request to join – you’ll find everything so far on there.


Hi Patty I’ve asked Rosie to get in touch with the details for you – I’m afraid I’m not very good on FB, she is definitely the expert!

Brenda J. Moore

I started working away outlining my “pups” yesterday. A mad dash to catch-up! Love the idea of relearning stitches I was taught years ago…one does tend to stick to the stand-byes and getting the brain refreshed is such a super idea.
Look forward to the pics we share as well.
Cheers from Ontario Ladies!


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