The rose, a symbol of romance, is a popular choice of design for embroidery. There are many designs for an embroidery rose available. Once your design is chosen, and you have transferred it onto your fabric, the difficulty most people face is how to fill in this design with embroidery stitches. This tutorial will show you how to do an embroidery rose in 15 different ways.
Embroidery Rose Techniques
‘A rose by any name will smell as sweet.’ was the romantic sentiment penned by William Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. The same sentiment applies to the embroidery rose as there are many different stitches to use. For rose embroidery, any stitch you choose will always make the rose look sweet.
Where to Find Embroidery Rose Designs
The internet is a wealth of clip art images of flowers that you can use for embroidery roses. Do a quick google search for rose clip art and you will find hundreds to choose from. For a paid option of stock photos of roses, Vector Stock is fairly cheap and has great images.
How to Draw an Embroidery Rose
Now I’m not great at fine art but here is how I drew my roses for the samples. For my abstract rose, I just started in the middle and drew a spiral that crossed over a few times.
For the rose with petals, I again started with a spiral in the middle and then added petals going outwards. You are welcome to copy these but there are also lots of how to draw rose tutorials on Google and YouTube.
Rose Embroidery Kits
Amazon and many craft stores sell embroidery kits with preprinted fabric to sew rose embroidery. If you don’t want to draw your own roses then these can be an easy option. Most have instructions for sewing certain stitches for the roses but you can change the original design to make it unique.
Colors for an Embroidery Rose
Roses come in red, pinks, purples, and everything in between. The trick to embroidery roses appearing realistic is to use several shades in complimentary colors. Even single-color roses have light and shaded areas. Unless you are looking to outline in black, monotone roses look a little flat and lacking in detail.
DMC is a popular embroidery floss brand that has a wide selection of colors and shades. You can use all 6 strands or divide embroidery floss into smaller sections for fine work. My main sampler used 6 strands.
How to Do Embroidery Rose Stitches
In my sample below I used a combination of chain stitch, satin stitch, split stitch, cross stitch, seed stitch, back stitch, and blanket stitch. You can mix and match stitches for something interesting and truly yours.
Here are the top suggestions for stitches to use for an embroidered rose.
1. Embroidery Rose – Cross Stitch
Cross stitch is one of the most popular embroidery techniques and is perfect for sewing an embroidery rose. Sew cross stitch on Aida fabric or linen so you can count the stitches more easily.
Here is how a cross stitch is done. The full article on cross stitch also has a quick method for filling larger areas. As you can see from the photos above, you will need at least two colors to define the roses.
Further reading: How to do Cross Stitch
2. Embroidery Rose – Outline Stitches
The simplest way to embroider a rose is to use an outline stitch. Outline stitch gives a rope-like appearance to your roses and can be used to define the edge of the petals as well as the stem.
3. Embroidery Roses – Straight Stitch
Choose any straight stitch and outline the rose. You can combine this with a filling or leave the rose open like my samples below.
4. Embroidery Rose – Steam Stitch
Steam stitch is best for larger roses as it is harder to do on tight curves. It produces a thick twisted look which can be used for outlining the petals.
5. Embroidery Rose – Running Stitch
Running stitch is a simple up and down stitch that is surprisingly effective for a larger embroidery rose. You can vary the spacing between the stitches to give different looks. Running stitch can also be done without an embroidery hoop and is very fast.
6. Embroidery Rose -Back Stitch
Backstitch is one of my favorites for a simple outline. It can be used in conjunction with many other stitches like the satin stitch or seed stitch. You can see these examples further down the page.
7. Embroidery Rose – Chain Stitch
Chain stitch is a lovely stitch to create an outline and to use as a filler for any rose pattern. Once the outline is done the stitch can follow this line going closer and closer to the middle of the design.
8. Embroidery Rose – Split Stitch
Split stitch gives a nice thick rope-like outline. It is easy to do without much concentration and was one of my favorites when doing these samples.
9. Embroidery Rose – Satin stitch
Satin stitch is a beautiful stitch to use to fill in the petals of the rose. The area to fill in should be small or broken down into small sections. In larger areas, the stitch gets too long and does not lie evenly on the design. It is also prone to snagging if the stitches get too long. Create texture by breaking the rose into smaller parts and changing the direction of the satin stitches. Long and short stitch is a good alternative to satin stitch and has a similar look.
Further reading: How to do Satin Stitch
10. Embroidery Rose – Blanket stitch
The beauty of using this stitch is the natural edge or border that it makes. Once the outline of the design has been done in blanket stitch the remainder can be filled in with other stitches like the long and short stitch or satin stitch.
In the example above, I used the blanket stitch to fill in the rose petals. This works well for smaller roses. My sample was about 1.5 inches across (4cm).
Further reading: How to do Blanket Stitch
11. Embroidery Rose – Seed Stitch
Seed stitch can be used as a filling stitch that adds texture and interest. It will usually be used in conjunction with an outline stitch. In my sample above, I used a backstitch to outline the embroidery rose and then filled in the petals with seed stitch. Use different shades of color to create an interesting effect.
Further reading: How to do Seed Stitch
12. Embroidery Rose – Web Stitch
Create the web part of the design with a full strand of floss using the six threads and doubling the strand. Place a knot at the end and then create a web with 9 outgoing spokes coming from a center point.
Bring a blunt needle with the thread up into the center of the spokes and then weave the needle and thread over and under the web of threads. This will create a rose bloom effect. When the web is filled in end with a stitch at the back. Web stitch is particularly useful for an embroidery rose when you use variegated thread colors. The leaves above were done with a chain stitch.
Further reading: Web Stitch
13. Embroidery Rose – French knot
The French knot looks like a tiny rose and when clustered together with other French knots, a beautifully textured rose bush can be created. It can also be used in the center of a rose sewn in other methods. Put French knots in the center of web stitch or satin stitch roses.
14. Embroidery Rose – Long and Short
The needle painted rose is the artistic embroidered version of the rose. The stitching is done using long and short stitch which is also called a brick stitch. Added effects can be created with variegated threads and using complementary colors blended together.
See how you can create shading and texture by changing the thread colors. The example below has a backstitch around the outside and then has long and short stitches facing inwards. The trick is to carefully blend colors and to use thinner threads. The example above would have been done with a single thread, while my petal sample below was done with 3 strands.
Further reading: How to do Long and Short Stitch
15. Bullion Knot Roses
The bullion knot can also be used to make beautiful embroidery roses. Use variegated embroidery floss for realistic roses. Bullion knots are made by wrapping the thread around the tip of the needle numerous times.
Embroidery Rose – In Conclusion
Stitched or painted, modern or old-fashioned, the embroidery rose is one of the best-loved sewing projects. Variety of roses and their multitude of colors will always grace our gardens and our embroidery projects. The rose, a symbol of love and romance, can be found in the garden and as an embroidered icon.
More Embroidery Articles
- Blanket Stitch
- Bullion Knots
- Buttonhole Stitch
- Chain Stitch
- Chevron Stitch
- Couching Embroidery Tutorial
- Cross Stitch
- Double Herringbone Stitch
- Embroidery Basics
- Embroidery Flowers
- Embroidery Leaves
- Embroidery Letters
- Embroidery Roses
- Embroidery Tools
- Fagoting Embroidery
- Feather Stitch
- Fern Stitch
- Fishbone Stitch
- Fly Stitch
- French Knots
- Hand Embroidery Stitches
- Herringbone Stitch
- Lazy Daisy
- Long and Short Stitch
- Outline Stitch
- Running Stitch
- Sashiko Embroidery
- Satin Stitch
- Seed Stitch Embroidery (Rice Stitch)
- Split Stitch
- Steam Stitch
- Straight Stitch Embroidery
- Web Stitch | Embroidery Tutorial
- Whip Stitch
- Whipped Backstitch