Rachael Gander from imagine gnats joined us before with the fun Quilt Blocks Tangram Book, Fussy-Cut Polaroid Ornaments and the Sun + Sea Patchwork Messenger Bag. You just know she’ll share a great idea or two when she stops by! Today’s Ombre Embroidery is the perfect technique for embellishing a skirt, bag and more.

Learn more about Rachael in her introduction, and stop by imagine gnats for more of Rachael’s projects (lots of super-cute dresses for her girls lately!).

It would seem that the ombre trend isn’t going away anytime soon… And why should it?

From fabric to apparel to paper goods, from subtle to dramatic, ombre offers so many possibilities. And now you can add ombre embroidery to that list! With some simple, offset straight stitches, you can easily add ombre to your embroidery projects; the application of this technique has endless possibilities.

Materials Needed:

  • Standard embroidery supplies: hoop, needle, fabric, stabilizer/interfacing, scissors
  • Water soluble marker or pencil
  • Perle cotton or stranded embroidery floss in your chosen color palette (used in this tutorial are five colors)

Get Started Stitching:
1. Decide what shape you’ll be filling in with your ombre stitches. (For purposes of this tutorial, I decided to stitch an ombre “B,” suitable for hanging right in the hoop in my little one’s bedroom.)

2. Prepare fabric: apply stabilizer, draw outline of shape with water soluble marker and place in hoop.

3. Starting on one edge of your shape, mark a set of alternating short and long lines to give you an idea of where your first stitches will go. (In the project shown, short lines are approx 1/4″ and long lines approx 1/2″.)

4. Stitch your first set of lines, following the guides you’ve drawn. Note: The guides you drew will be helpful for how long to make the lines and for making sure that your direction is correct, but you will likely need to stitch closer together than the lines you drew in order to fill in the space.

5. With water soluble marker, draw two lines parallel to the line where your longest stitches end. To determine the distance between these lines, divide the length of your longest stitch in half. (In the project shown, lines are each 1/4″ apart.)

*This photo is slightly out of order, but you can see the lines I’ve drawn here.

6. Using the next thread color in your spectrum and following your drawn lines as a guide for your stitch lengths, stitch next line. This line will consist of all long stitches, and each stitch will start where the stitches in the last row ended so that they will be offset.

7. If there are areas within your shape that should not have stitching, take care to begin and end your stitches within your drawn shape lines.

8. Continue in same manner, changing color with each new row of stitches, until your shape is filled in with ombre embroidery.

Hang Your Project in the Hoop:
1. Turn over your work and stitch a line of long stitches about 1/2″ outside of hoop.

2. Pull thread to gather stitches and knot thread to hold.

3. Trim excess fabric and tie loop for hanging.

And there you have it… You’re ready to add an interesting new ombre technique to your embroidery projects! Here’s the technique in another project:

For more embroidery projects, ideas and resources, visit me at imagine gnats or go directly to my embroidery page. Thanks to Sew,Mama,Sew! for having me, and happy stitching!