Embroidery 101: French Dot Constellation Runner

Photography by Maxwell Tielman

Hi! Jessica of Miniature Rhino here. It’s been such a pleasure to create some projects for you for this Embroidery 101 series and hope you’ve found some inspiration or your next project.

I wanted to end on a stellar note with one of my favorite subjects and stitches, stars and french knots. Trying to invoke the Spring to finally arrive I made this table runner of stitched spring constellations. Stargazers will find Ursa Major and Minor, Cygnus, Draco, Virgo, Orion, Gemini and lots more. It’s definitely a statement piece that shines and shimmers with the addition of sequins held in place by french knots. One of the things I love about french knots is how three-dimensional they are. The little knots are raised, creating texture and here, stars that you can touch. This project might be large in scale, but the steps are super easy. You can also break up the pattern to make smaller pieces or work on a pre-made runner to keep things simple.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this series! If you’re looking for more embroidery inspiration and how-to, check out my book, Stitched Gifts. Thanks y’all! -Jessica

The full how-to continues after the jump!


Materials:

Constellation Template (download here)
(2) 15 x 72” pieces of linen, washed and ironed (or a pre-made runner)
Tape
Scissors
Sewing pins
Saral transfer paper
Self-healing mat
Pen
DMC embroidery thread 3866
4mm Flat Silver Sequins
6mm Flat Silver Sequins
Size 7 embroidery needle
Large embroidery hoop, 12” hoop shown
Sewing thread

Steps:

1. Enlarge template 600% for a 14 x 60 runner, or size to your desired dimensions. Tile print the template. You can do this is in Adobe: Print> Tile All Pages or Poster (depending on which version you have) > enlarge 600%> Overlap .075 with Cut Marks.

2. Trim pages to cut marks and tape template pages together. Trim edges and set aside.

3. Center pattern on fabric and pin the across the top to fabric. Layer a piece of transfer paper face down under the paper pattern and over the fabric. Begin tracing over the pattern with a pen. Apply a fair amount of pressure, but not enough to rip the paper. It helps to have a self-healing mat under your fabric for this step. Transfer section by section moving your transfer paper over as you complete a section. I used one piece of 12 x 15” transfer paper for the entire piece. Check your work as you go, lifting the papers to make sure your marks are coming through.


4. Stitch it! Hoop your fabric loosely and use the french knot for the star points and the backstitch or running stitch for the constellations. As you complete sections move your hoop around. You don’t want to apply too much pressure when hooping the fabric or you could disrupt the previous knots. Jump from stitch to stitch between points, but be careful not to pucker fabric by pulling too much.


The french knot is all about getting the right tension. Come up through the fabric, and hold the thread taut about 1 or 2 inches from the fabric with your non-dominant hand. With your other hand, wrap the thread around the needle once, twice, or three times, for a larger knot. Insert the needle back into the fabric close to, but not in, the original hole. Slide the knot down to meet the fabric and hold the tension as you pull the needle through the knot. Pull slowly trying to keep the tension on the thread all the way as you pull through.
(image of French Knot from Stitched Gifts)

I used 3 ply thread for the entire piece varying between french knots with no sequins and small and large sequins to help create dimension. Adding sequins to the french knots it super easy. After coming up through the fabric with the needle slide a sequin over the needle and down to the fabric. Make a french knot as usual the knot will hold the sequin in place.

5. To finish, without a backing: Fold over edges toward the back of the piece with a .25” seam. Press and then fold over again and pin in place. Sew a straight stitch with your sewing machine around the piece through the center of the fold.

To finish, with a backing: Layer the finished embroidered piece face down over another 15 x 72” linen piece. Pin in place and sew a .5” straight stitch with your sewing machine around the piece leaving a 5” opening. Snip away a small portion of the corner tops above the sewing. Pull the piece inside out, so that the embroidery is now showing. Iron the edges flat and hand sew the gap closed with sewing thread using the slip stitch.




katie white

I have always wanted to embroider and this is great motivation…great job.
Katie @ differentfromimagined.blogspot.co.uk/

Jessica // MiniatureRhino

Thanks ladies & thanks so very much D*S for letting me share these Embroidery 101 projects! Such an honor…

Thanks Kristin, I’d love to see your piece when you get a chance to make it!

SuzyMcQ

Lovely, simply lovely and so incredibly perfect for my summer table out on the porch. Thank you Jessica!

melissab

an astronomical thanks for sharing this! (had to pun like the first commenter)
so beautiful!
i would like to attempt it soon.

Megan Watkins

Wow, that is really beautiful. I’ve been wanting to give embroidery a try for a long time. This piece was the motivation I needed to get to it :)

EllenQ

I’m so in love with this runner! I’ve been wanting to stitch constellations for ages but this I have to do right away.

Raspberry Jane

Where did you get the small change brass dish? I recently found the same one! It looks great with this piece! I love the idea of candlelight sparkling off the sequin stars!

Kathleen

Oh I love this — I have some navy linen in my stash that has been waiting for a home and this beautiful runner will be the perfect use for it! Thanks Jessica — I really like your book too.

Melanie

Approximately how much embroidery thread did you need? I LOVE this table runner and am itching to try my hand at it ASAP!

jessica/miniaturerhino

Hi Melanie,

love hearing that you’re going to make this! I split my thread to 3 ply and I think I used about two skeins of thread for the whole piece. Let me know how it goes!

– jessica

Tonka Truck

Jessica you are my hero- So much beautiful attention to detail.
I also love that in each tutorial there is at least one cat present.

Shalini

Oh! What a wonderful idea… the creative modern design interpretation of seemingly old fashioned craft. I sure will have to give it a shot. :-)

Jennifer

What a beautiful pattern, can’t wait to make it. Can you elaborate on what Adobe application to use? I have Adobe Reader and Adobe Bridge on my Mac, but am unable to open the Constellation.jpg with either application.

Lindsay

Jennifer – I saved the picture to my desktop as a PDF (it initially saved itself as a JPEG) and opened it with adobe reader. From there everything worked beautifully!

Jessica thank you so much for doing this tutorial, I am so excited to have this beautiful piece in my home!

Emily

This is a super tutorial and I can’t wait to start the project. It’s seriously stunning. I’m looking for a navy linen online. Has anyone been able to find a good linen for this??

evelyn

absolutly lovely! rly like this and thanks for this inspiration.
it’s a lot of work but i think this would be also a great idea on a skirt or dress

Sarah

Oh my, this is lovely! But forget table runners, I’m going to turn this into a scarf instead!

Hannah

Where did you get the sequins? I cannot find them at any craft store that i’ve been to! I really would like to do this project!

Vannessa

Is there anyway you would sell a runner?
Please contact me if that is do-able!

Katie

The table runner is gorgeous! But honestly I love your plates! Is that one copper?

NORMA

Desde hace tiempo que quiero hacer una constelación, pero no me atreví. Al ver el tuyo, me ha dado inspiración y certeza de que sí puedo hacerlo. Gracias!

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