Romanian stitch consists of long stitches worked close together, each one secured at its mid-point by a smaller couching stitch. It is particularly useful for filling any regular shape that is too wide to be filled in satin stitch. Great for leaves and petals, it is also perfect for the body of Susie Johns’ embroidered bee, which makes a delightful brooch for snuggly jackets.
- White cotton or linen fabric, 13cm square
- Felt, 13cm square
- Six-stranded embroidery thread: yellow, black, beige, pale blue
- Brooch pin
- Embroidery needle
- Embroidery hoop, 10cm
- 5cm diameter
1 Using the image as a guide, sketch and transfer the motif to white fabric – a normal pencil or pen is suitable as the embroidery stitches will cover up the lines on all areas of the design, except the wings.
2 Place the fabric on top of the felt and fix both in a hoop, making sure that the fabric is taut but not over-stretched. Thread the embroidery needle with two strands of yellow thread and fill in the top part of the bee’s body with Romanian stitch.
3 When this section has been completed, fill in the first black stripe, once again using two strands. Continue, using yellow and black, and Romanian stitch, to form the stripes on the body. Finish with the head in beige, and the eyes on either side in black, using satin stitch.
4 Embroider the legs and antennae using single stitches and two strands of black; for the antennae use a single strand of black and split stitch. Outline the bee’s body and wings in split stitch using a single strand of black. Take a single strand of beige and outline the wings again, just inside the black outline.
5 Embroider the veins within the wings, once again using split stitch. With two strands of blue, sew all around the outline of the circle in buttonhole stitch, keeping the stitches close together, with the bar of the buttonhole forming the outline. This will help to prevent the fabric from fraying when you cut it out.
6 Fill in the background in split stitch using two strands of blue, with the stitches radiating out from the centre to the edge. Remove the fabric from the hoop and press the work lightly on the wrong side.
7 To make the brooch, cut out the circle close to the buttonhole stitch border, taking great care not to snip through the stitches. Snip out another circle of felt, slightly smaller than the brooch. Sew a brooch pin to this, then place it on the back of the embroidered circle and stitch in place by oversewing the edges of the felt to the brooch backing.