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Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers Book Review

Kew Embroidered book of Flowers - a book review

As well as sewing and quilting, I am very interested in botanical painting and I often indulge myself in painting flowers and botanical subjects. I also love flowers and gardening so I was very excited to see Trish’s interpretation of the Kew collection of fine art botanical subjects in embroidery.

When the book arrived, I was struck by the luxury of it – a sumptuous edition with the book wrapped in a practical hard-backed folder to store all the embroidery transfers you need for the projects in the book. There is an elastic closure on the folder to hold the book and transfers neatly in place. Beautiful it certainly is, but it’s also a highly practical source book, packed with techniques for you to re-create Trish’s stunning embroideries in stitch.

Let’s take a closer look.

Shading petals with embroidery thread

The first section of the book explores the technique of ‘needle painting’ and how you can shade the design with threads to create a realistic gradation of the colours in a plant or flower, as you would when painting. There is a comprehensive guide to fabrics, threads and illustrated techniques for long and short stitch, split stitch and other techniques including outlining and raised work. The designs are stitched mainly using the commonly available DMC stranded cottons and sometimes with additional Anchor stranded threads and the less common Au Ver A Soie silk threads as well. If you are unable to get these specialist silk threads, there is a handy conversion chart for the more easily obtained DMC threads in the book. 

Needle painting embroidery technique

The book includes eleven wonderful projects for beginners and beyond, including embroideries of a camellia, waterlily and magnolia. I particularly love the Flower Sampler that consists of eighteen small elements in a stunning completed project, or that can be stitched individually. I decided I’m going to have a go at stitiching the blackberry. For a small design, it uses twelve colours of thread to build up a stunning design and richness of colour. 

 The folder edition of the book includes all the iron-on transfers you need plus outlines of each design. The non-folder version has the outlines in the book that you can then trace onto fabric. The iron-on transfers are on thick paper and can be stored in the cellophane envelope that comes with the folder version. 

I used the iron-on transfer to get the blackberry design onto a piece of fabric I had actually dyed with real blackberry juice! I will be using this in a special book about the hedgerows that I am making. The instructions for using the transfers are at the end of the book and were very clear to follow. The iron-on design is useable more than once as I prepared a second blackberry for my project.

Trish Burr embroidery book

Each design in the book is photographed in excellent detail with step-by-step images to guide you through each stage.  

Best floral embroidery book

The final project in the book is a poppy sampler in the style of a botanical plate and is exquisite. You can achieve this yourself with the comprehensive instructions in the book. 

I am in awe of this book – it is stunning to look at in itself for any one with a love of flowers and gardening, but the designs within are so well illustrated and explained that, with some practice, anyone who loves to embroider will be able to achieve them. 

The Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers by Trish Burr is published by Search Press and retails at £25 for the folder edition. 

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