Ferns, the delicate variety of greenery that makes a bouquet of flowers soft and subtle, translates into a beautiful, delicate embroidery stitch. The fern stitch is perfect for your embroidered garden design.
It is very easy to learn and include in your embroidery repertoire. Fern stitch is basically three straight stitches carefully placed together and then repeated to create the delicate fronds of a fern.
In simple terms, each of the three straight stitches connects to the first stitch at a common point and then follows on in a pattern that looks like three points of a star.
Further Reading: If you are just starting to embroider, here is an article on embroidery basics.
How to do Fern Stitch
Before you start it is useful to mark 3 lines in which to create your fern stitch. You can also mark the arrow pattern of the fern for perfectly even stitches.
Like many sewing techniques, there are several ways you can do the order of the stitches. This is the one I found the easiest but as you start practicing, you may find it works better in another order. I’m right-handed and so generally embroider right to left.
Step one: Knot or start your thread and bring the needle up from underneath in the center of your design. You will be starting one stitch back from the tip.
This is point 1.
Stitch with a straight stitch to the tip of the fern at 2 and bring the needle out in line with the first stitch at 3.
Step two: Stitch a straight stitch of the same size to the left and enter the fabric at point 4 (this is the same as point 2) then exit at point 5.
Point 5 is directly underneath points 1 and 3.
Step three: Now take your needle and thread and insert the needle at 6 (same point as 2 and 4) and come up at the same distance but in a new point of entry at 7.
This is the start of a new fern stitch.
Step four: The first part of the fern is complete, and you are ready to repeat the pattern to create new fern leaves.
Tips for Sewing Fern Stitch
- Fern stitch can become a very creative part of your design. As you work your way down the stem of the fern you can be free-spirited and make the stitches bigger to give the effect of the fern growing in your embroidery garden.
- Use fern stitch for a wreath effect as it can twist and turn decoratively.
- Fern stitch could also find its way in the underwater world of fish and seascapes, as it looks like delicate seaweed.
Imagination and three simple stitches are all you need to enjoy the beauty of fern stitch.