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How to Embroider Roses [6 Different Ways]

Roses are my absolute favorite thing to hand embroider…I mean, who isn’t obsessed with them? These flowers are a bit more complicated than some of their floral counterparts (i.e daisies). But it’s so fun to get creative and figure out ways to stitch them!

Each of these methods gives the rose a unique texture and look. From simple to more realistic and 3-dimensional, I’ll be going over how to embroider roses with some of these techniques today!


How To Embroider Roses

Here is a video I created on how to do the cast on stitch and the bullion knot rose.


Bullion Stitch

bullion knot stitch
  1. Pull your thread through the back of the fabric and pierce the fabric slightly below the initial stitch. Come back out where the initial stitch is with the tip of the needle. Keep the needle positioned in the fabric with about half of the needle sticking out.
  2. Twist the thread around the tip of the needle. Make the wraps the same length as the space between the initial stitch and the fabric the needle is grabbing.
  3. Pull your needle and thread through the twists. Then, secure your thread by going down through the fabric at the base of the stitch.

Make two knots for the center of the rose and work your way around the outside to resemble little petals. Pair it with a few embroidered leaves, and you’re done!

This is also a great way to embroider little rosebuds. Make 1-2 knots and add some leaves around them.

Cast On Stitch

  1. Pull your thread through the back of the fabric and pierce halfway through with your needle below the first stitch. Come back out where the thread is coming out of the fabric.
  2. Make loops with your working thread and place them over the needle. (The amount of loops you make depends on how much space you left between the needle and thread.)
  3. Pull your needle and thread through the stitches you made. Then, secure your thread by going down through the base of the stitch.

The cast-on stitch is used in a similar way as bullion knots. Start in the center and then work your way out around the circle. Once you are happy with the fullness of the flower, you’re done!

Rose Wheel

This stitch is an amazing choice to use for a full-bodied flower. It is referred to by a variety of different names including the woven wheel and spider web rose.

Depending on the size circle you draw, you can make it as big or as small as you want. The height and density of it can also be changed by using fewer or more strands of floss.

how to embroider a rose step by step
  1. Make five straight stitches all sharing a center point, evenly spaced around a circle.
  2. Come up through the back of your fabric near the center of the “star” you just made
  3. Start weaving over and under the stitches.
  4. Continue weaving around the spokes until you have completely covered them.
  5. Secure the thread by going back down through the fabric and securing under stitches or tying a knot.

These roses work great for surface embroidery, but they can also be stitched on knit fabrics. Or try this stitch out using ribbon for an even more interesting texture!

Ribbon Roses

ribbon embroidery rose

Did you know that there are stitches unique to only ribbon embroidery? These stitches include the rolled rose, ribbon stitch, and a few other variations of stitches. Check out this beginner ribbon embroidery tutorial to learn how!

Fill Stitches

The image above uses a variety of stitches to fill in the shape of a rose. These include the satin stitch, long and short stitch, and split stitch. They are common stitches that are used to embroider individual petals of roses.

Here you can find how to do these types of stitches. For brevity, here are a couple of the defining features of each stitch.

  • Satin stitch – a neat and smooth way to fill in shapes
  • Split stitch – another way to fill in shapes that adds a bit more texture
  • Long and Short stitch – a way to fill in shapes to blend colors and add shading

Thread Painting

This technique is definitely a more intricate and challenging way to embroider a rose, but it’s a great way to make a realistic-looking one. Thread painting uses the long and short stitch to blend colors together and adding shadows and highlights.

If you’re interested in learning how to thread paint, check out Trish Burr’s comprehensive beginner guide to embroider a Tudor rose or this blog post that shows you how to thread paint a flower.

Rose Embroidery Patterns

Now that you’ve learned how to embroider roses, it’s your turn to give it a try! All of these PDF patterns use a variety of the different techniques that we went over today. You can also find embroidery kits of them here.


Want to learn how to embroider other kinds of flowers?

Check out this other blog post:

Or if you’d like to learn how to thread paint flowers, check this post out:


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