Julie and Chris, a creative mother-daughter team, design original embroidery patterns for their Little Dorrit & Co. shop. They shared a sweet Alice’s Garden Embroidery Pattern this spring, and now they’re back with a three-part stitch-along. Learn how to make the Summer Nights pattern with step-by-step guidance from Julie and Chris. Part One shows you how to gather supplies and start your first stitches (running stitch, back stitch and straight stitch). Next steps will post on July 8 and July 22, helping you space out your progress for a finished project in July! (Alternatively you can just print the pattern below and get to work straight-away!)

Embroidery projects fit so nicely into the summer months; the portable stitching is nice for poolside hours or travel! Fireflies and moonlit evenings are the perfect focus for this summery stitch-along. Have fun, and share your progress (#SummerNightStitch). This is also a great project for any skill level so several people in your family might want to stitch together…

Part One: Prepping an Embroidery Project + Getting Started

To celebrate the arrival of summer, we thought we’d invite you all to join us in a Summer Nights Stitch-Along over the next month. We’ve designed a small embroidery pattern that nods to the magic of fireflies and warm summer nights, and we’ll walk you through the entire process– from choosing your fabric to hoop framing. Whether you’re brand-new to embroidery or a seasoned stitcher just looking for a fun project– or anything in between– we hope you’ll stitch-along with us!

Here’s what you need:

  • Embroidery needles
  • Small embroidery scissors
  • 6” embroidery hoop (Note: We’ll use a smaller size for framing later.)
  • Preferred fabric marking pen/pencil (not shown)
  • Fabric to stitch on, about 11-12” square
  • DMC stranded embroidery floss, colors 310, 333, 349, 554, 742 (or your own chosen colors!)
  • Printed Summer Nights Pattern

Before anything else, you’ll need to choose fabric to stitch on. Quilting cotton works very well, and allows you to pick a cute print to accent your embroidery! But you can never go wrong with a solid, keeping your embroidery the focus; we love to stitch on linen-cotton blends like Robert Kaufman’s Essex Linen. (This time we went with a lighter weight fabric and used a scrap of woven interfacing to strengthen it for stitching.)

Once you’ve decided on fabric and pressed it nice and flat, you’ll have to transfer the pattern. There are many ways to do this, but we usually suggest the easiest method; tape the printed pattern to a window, tape your fabric over it and simply trace the design onto your fabric. That’s it! There are loads of removable transfer markers available and they are usually found with the sewing notions at your local craft store. For this project, we used a water-soluble marker that disappears with a spray of water. Whichever type you decide use, just make sure you follow the directions on the package.

Now, let’s start stitching! (If you’d like to stitch yours just like ours, consult the pattern for color placement and use four strands of embroidery floss unless stated otherwise.)

We’ll start easy, with a little running stitch (and two strands of floss). I’m sure you’ve all done your share of running stitch in sewing projects! Simply make evenly spaced stitches along the curved lines inside the moon, then stitch more lines between those if you’d like a denser fill.

(Our very best embroidery tip: Don’t obsess if one stitch isn’t quite even! It’s all about the bigger picture, and we promise you won’t notice that one little stitch once you’ve finished.)

Now we’ll outline the moon with back stitch, another stitch you’re probably already familiar with. Bring your needle through the fabric a bit beyond the end of your previous stitch, then back down to connect the new stitch with the old. Continue this way all around the moon, keeping your stitches as even as you can.

And as our last stitch for this week, let’s outline the stars with long straight stitches, which will be worked just like back stitch. (Don’t worry if they look empty as we’ll fill up those stars later.)

Here’s our progress so far! Please share your photos on social media (#SummerNightStitch) and we’ll be back soon to finish embroidering our little Summer Nights scene!