Mastering the Bullion Stitch

We love dressing up our designs with creative stitching. So often, it’s those final decorative accents that really transform a garment into something special! We’ve shared tutorials for several hand stitches in past newsletters. We’d like to continue this week with a how-to for the bullion stitch, which is the basis for all bullion flowers and leaves. This tiny stitch can make a big impact on a design when stitched into beautiful bullion roses and other shapes. Get your needle and floss ready and follow the steps below:

NOTE: The distance from point A to point B and the number of wraps determine the length of the bullion stitch. Use a #8 or #9 straw or milliner needle and one strand of floss.

1. Bring needle to front at point A, re-enter at point B, and bring tip of needle to front again very close to point A; DO NOT pull needle through (fig. 1).

Figure 1

2. Place a finger over eye of needle and press it to fabric making tip rise up, away from fabric.

Figure 2


3. Wrap floss around needle several times (fig. 2). Slide wraps toward fabric keeping wraps smooth and close together (fig. 3).

Figure 3

4. Pinch coils between the thumb and finger of your left hand, and carefully pull needle through fabric (fig. 4).

Figure 4


5. With coil between one finger and thumb, tug on needle end of floss until bullion is the right shape and all slack is pulled out of floss core thread (fig. 5).

Figure 5

6. Take floss to back at end where it leaves coil; tie off (fig. 6).

Figure 6

To Knot or Not to Knot?
Most of the time it is best not to knot the thread behind your embroidery. Tying on with a running stitch behind your embroidery or a split backstitch eliminates the added “bump” that a knot would create. 

A waist knot is another method for tying on embroidery. To use the waist knot method, tie a knot in the end of your floss and enter the fabric from front to back about 3 to 4 inches away from your template line. Enter from the wrong side to the right side to begin stitching. If using floss, take a couple of tiny backstitches where they will be hidden to secure the thread. 

When the stitching is complete, cut the waist knot and pull the floss to the back of the fabric. Thread the cut end into the needle and weave the thread tail beneath the stitches of the embroidery. Use one of these methods for tying on and tying off on your bullion stitch.

Now that you have the basic bullion stitch down pat, discover how to create bullion art with our new DVD with Kari Mecca, Secrets to Stitching Bullion Whimsies. You will learn everything you need to know about stitching bullions as Kari shows you how to stitch bullions of any size or novelty shape. Included with the DVD is a bonus PDF file that features 50 step-by-step bullion designs – butterflies, hearts, rosebuds, bows, doves, cupcakes, balloons, cherries and more! 

Sew On, Sew Well, Sew Beautiful,
Cyndi and Amelia

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