How to hand stitch cornflowers

06 May 2021
In this tutorial, Katrina Witten shows you how to hand stitch beautiful cornflowers from her book Hand-stitched Landscapes & Flowers.

Stitching with torn or cut fabric gives a dramatic effect. This is a simple yet bold design using two stitches – straight stitch and stem stitch, with an element of ribbon embroidery to thread the organza into the flowerheads.


This tutorial is from Hand-stitched Landscapes & Flowers by Katrina Witten. In her book, Katrina uses no more than six simple stitches for each embroidery, plus delicate embellishments and an array of techniques and fabrics to portray pastoral scenes of fields, flowers and creatures with eye-catching three-dimensional effects. If you love this project you can get the book from our website WITH an automatic 10% off just for being you, PLUS free UK P+P! 


How to hand stitch cornflowers tutorial

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You will need

  • Background fabric: plain cotton, 42x42cm (16½x16½in)
  • Organzas: pinks, purples, blues & greens
  • Featured threads and yarns as listed (listed below)
  • Spring tension hoops, 12.7cm (5in) and 17.8cm (7in) diameter
  • Design template

Download cornflowers template

Featured threads and yarns

1. Anchor 87, 2. Anchor 1030, 3. Anchor 110, 4. Appleton 453, 5. Anchor 118, 6. Anchor 85, 7. Anchor 255, 8. Appleton 831, 9. DMC 4050, 10. Anchor 876, 11. DMC 4070, 12. Anchor 129


The large cornflowers

1. Tear off several long strips of organza in a variety of purple, pink and blue shades.

2. Thread the organza through the needle and use it as if it were a normal thread. Stitch giant straight stitches the entire length of the cornflower petal. Start by leaving approximately 2cm (1in) of organza loose at the back. This can either be woven in after you finish or you can just leave it. The organza will roll itself into shape as you work it over the lines of the petals. Add large straight stitches in threads 2 to 6, as in the photograph.

The reverse of the cotton, showing the organza threaded through the back of the fabric.

3. Work several rows of stem stitch for the stems in thread number 9 (six strands) and 8 (wool). Add more straight stitches in threads 1 (purple), thread 2 (six strands), 3 (six strands), or thread 4 (purple), and 5 and 6 (pink).

4. Work vertical straight stitches for the base of the flower. Start at the top edge in thread 7 (three strands), gradually changing to two strands of thread 7 with one strand of thread 10, then thread 10 only. Make each shape individual. Fill in the gap between the organza stitches and the base with straight stitches – approximately 2cm (¾in) long – in thread 1 (six strands).

5. Finally, look at the finished flowerhead and add straight stitches if you wish. Repeat for both large flowers, maybe using thread 10 for part of the stems.

The small cornflower

1. Work straight stitches over the drawn lines in threads 4 (two lengths of purple), 6 – pink – (six strands), thread 5 (six strands), and 12 (six strands).

2. Allow some of the stitches to cross over each other, giving a spiky look to the flower.

3. Cut a small piece of green organza for the base shape. Attach this with straight stitches in one direction, then in the opposite direction, creating a criss-cross pattern in thread 9 (three strands). Stem stitch around the shape in thread 9 (three strands).

The leaves

1. Cut out leaf shapes using the template in light and dark green organza.

2. Secure with a line of stem stitch in thread 11 (either three or six strands).

If you enjoyed making these cornflowers, you can find more amazing projects from the Hand-stitched Landscape & Flowers book! Or check out our blog where you'll find plenty of projects, interviews and top tips!

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