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How To Embroider Flowers On Knitting

Every knit sweater could use a cute embellishment. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to embroider flowers on knitting using a couple of different basic embroidery stitches.

For this project, I selected a lovely yellow button up stockinette stitch sweater made of 100% cotton. It was the perfect color and style to embroider some colorful flowers along the chest.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase an item.

Supplies Needed

  • Embroidery hoop – available on Etsy
  • Embroidery floss – purchase on Amazon
  • Stick n’ Stitch printable stabilizer – purchase on Amazon
  • Tear Away Stabilizer – purchase on Amazon
  • Embroidery scissors
  • Embroidery needle
  • A knit sweater
yellow knit sweater

Selecting The Right Sweater Or Knit Accessory

Here are a few tips for choosing the right knit item:

  • The easiest knitting to embroider on are ones that have smaller, tighter stitches.
  • Additionally, knitting that is made of natural fibers (i.e. wool or cotton) are better to use because they are a bit more durable and less stretchy.
  • Choose knit items that don’t contain large holes.

Tips For Getting Started

  • Make sure that whatever thread you are using is colorfast. You’ll want to be able to wash the article of clothing without having the colors bleed! If you’re unsure about the colorfastness of the thread you are using, you can do a color test.
  • It’s also helpful to test a piece of the stick and stitch stabilizer and ink you are using on a discreet area inside the article of clothing before you commit to using it.
  • Double knot all of the loose ends of thread to ensure that your embroidery stitches on your clothes stay in place.
  • I recommend you also read this post that goes over a even more helpful tips for embroidering on knitting before you get started!
  • If you find yourself having any trouble with the stick and stitch, take a look at these helpful tips for working with it.

How To Embroider Flowers On Knitting

Planning and Transferring the Design

creating the embroidery design and transferring it onto the knit sweater

I doodled out a small floral design that I wanted to stitch on the sweater.

It can be kind of hard to transfer patterns to knitting, so the easiest way I’ve found is by using stick and stitch stabilizer. You can easily trace or directly print out your design onto the sheets.

Peel off the backing of the stabilizer and place it where you want to embroider your design.

If you’re not sure what design you want to do, there are plenty of stick and stitch packs available online.

Floral Stick And Stitch Designs

Or you can grab my free downloadable floral designs PDF!

free flower embroidery designs
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Preparing the Knitting

picking embroidery colors, placing stabilizer on the knitting, and hooping the fabric

Select the color scheme you’d like to use. I went with pink, red, green, white, and brown. If you’re not sure what colors to pick, check out this post that shows you how to choose color palettes.

Knitting can be somewhat stretchy even when you choose one made of cotton or wool. Because of this, I highly recommend you use an adhesive tear-away stabilizer. Cut out a square, peel the paper backing off, and place it on the area you plan to stitch.

Once you’ve added the stabilizer, it’s time to place the fabric in the embroidery hoop. Pull the hoop tight but be sure not to disturb the stitching. If the knitting starts to warp, you’ve pulled it too tight!

Embroidering The Flowers

There are lots of great embroidery stitches you can use for flowers. For this project, I chose to use the following:

Below are the 3 different kinds of flowers I embroidered using a combination of these stitches. I used 4 strands of embroidery floss throughout.

how to embroider a satin stitch flower
  1. Make satin stitches along the flower petal.
  2. Repeat to fill in each of the flower petals.
  3. Add some straight stitches in a lighter color from the center of the flower to about the middle of the flower petal.
  4. Fill in the center of the flower with French knots.
  5. Fill in the leaves with fishbone stitches.
embroidering a flower with long and short stitches
  1. Fill in the outer petals with satin stitches using a darker color.
  2. Along the base of each of the inner petals, fill in with long and short stitches using the darker color.
  3. Fill in the rest of each of the petals with long and short stitches using a lighter color.
  4. Fill in the petal in the front with satin stitches using the lighter color.
  5. Fill in the leaves with fly stitches.
lazy daisy flowers
  1. Finally, for the white flowers, fill in the petals with lazy daisy stitches using white thread.
  2. Add a French knot to the center of each flower using brown thread.

Washing The Embroidery

Once you’ve finished your embroidery, make sure that you have secured all of the stitches with knots. Then you’re ready to remove the stabilizer.

  • Place the design in a bowl of warm water and allow it to soak for several minutes.
  • Gently rub any excess stabilizer off with your fingers under running water.
  • Allow the knit item to air dry.

Additional Tips

This articles has some additional tips for embroidered clothing care and washing.

And if you’re worried about the stitches falling out or scratching your skin, this post goes over several backing options.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. I did not know about stick and stitch. I just bought some from your link.

    One question: Should the tear away backing be as large as your hoop?

    1. You can make it as large as your hoop, but it’s no necessary! If you find it peeling at all, I usually just make a loose basting stitch around the edges to secure it while you’re embroidering. 🙂

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