Are you stitching along with us? Julie and Chris, the creative mother-daughter duo behind Little Dorrit & Co., designed the Summer Nights embroidery pattern for you to sew this season. Julie and Chris guide you through the design every step of the way in this three-part series; it’s a great project for a full range of skill levels. Part One showed you how to gather supplies and start your first stitches (running stitch, back stitch and straight stitch), and today you’ll actually learn everything you need to finish your sewing. Part Three posts on Tuesday, July 22, and covers finishing and framing your Summer Nights embroidery.

Enjoy moonlit evenings, fireflies and a portable sewing project this month! We’d love to see your progress (#SummerNightStitch), and don’t miss the Little Dorrit & Co. Alice’s Garden Embroidery Pattern from earlier this year.

Part Two: Getting Into Your Embroidery Stitches

Welcome back to our Summer Stitch-along! Last time we started our Summer Nights embroidery by transferring the pattern to fabric and working the first few stitches to get our stitchy feet wet. This week, we’ll really get stuck into the embroidery on this project. Are you ready? It’s time to stitch those fireflies!

We’re going to start by satin stitching their little bodies, but first we have to split stitch the body outlines (with two strands only). This step is optional, but it will make your satin stitch neater!

To make a split stitch, bring your needle up through the middle of your previous stitch, splitting it in half, then making the next stitch. This creates a very firm outline for satin stitch! Outline the lower bodies in yellow, and the upper body of the open (left) firefly in black. (We don’t have to outline the other upper body because those edges will be covered by the firefly’s wings, so who cares how neat they are?!)

Now fill the bodies with satin stitch. Satin stitch covers an area with many straight stitches, side-by-side. For sections outlined, make your stitches over and around the outline, which will keep your edges nice and neat. Also, starting in the center and working out to either side will help you keep your stitches straight across the shape. If a spot looks uneven or bugs you, just plop another satin stitch on top!

Stitch four black stripes on each yellow section, as shown in the pattern. Take care not too pull too tightly on these stitches, or they will disappear into the satin stitch below! Try to get them to sit plumply on top of the firefly bums.

Now we’ll return to split stitch and fill the closed firefly’s wings with split stitch as shown above. Outline the black area, fill it with another ring of stitches, then add the red stripe on both wings. Also outline their wee firefly heads with split stitch.

The open firefly will have wings made of detached chain stitches, otherwise known as lazy daisy stitches. (Note: We’re making an unusually large detached chain here, suitable for framing where it will not get caught on anything but not recommended for items that will be worn or washed often! You can substitute back stitch or split stitch for this step.)

Working from the base of a wing to the rounded end, work across the fabric, making sure to catch the thread loop underneath your needle as shown above. Complete the stitch by coming back down just on the other side of the loop; in other words, tack it in place with a very small stitch. Try to keep your wing loose enough to make a nice rounded shape, but not so loose that it looks sloppy!

Now we’ll finish off these little guys with straight stitch and french knot antennae. French knots are notoriously tricky, but I promise it’ll be fine! Try a few on a piece of scrap fabric if you’re nervous. Ready? We can do it!

Come up from beneath your fabric where you want your french knot to be. Assuming you stitch right-handed (reverse if not!), hold your needle in your right hand and– with your left hand– grab your thread around the middle. Hold it firmly (not taut, but don’t let it go slack!) and wrap the thread around your needle twice, as shown above.

Insert your needle into the fabric right next to where you came up. Slide the wraps down the needle so they are sitting on the surface of your fabric and pull your needle through, keeping your thread fairly firm until your knot is finished. The grip you keep on that thread will help determine how tight or loose your knot looks in the end, so experiment with a few trials knots on scraps to get a feel for it.

Now that you know how to make french knots, why not fill your stars with them like we did (with two strands of floss)? Or maybe go your own way and fill them with another of the stitches we’ve learned, or just try something new!

Now your little Summer Nights embroidery is finished! Next time we’ll talk about how to finish your embroidery and frame it neatly in a hoop for a cute summertime decoration! And don’t forget to share photos of your embroidery (#SummerNightStitch)!