Silken orchid-embroidery project

Lily Wong captures the delicate beauty of this bloom forever with her skilful use of variegated ribbons and thread.


45cm x 35cm (18in x 14in) rectangle of light green damask

DMC Stranded Embroidery Cotton: 1 skein of cream (712)

Edmar Beta thread: 1 skein of variegated green (17)

• 15mm (5/8 in) Hanah Silk Ribbon: 1.2m (1 ¹⁄³ yd) bridal ivory; 40cm (½ yd) mossy

10mm (³⁄s in) Hanah Silk Ribbon: 40cm (½ yd) passionate daisy (yellow/red); 20cm (¼ yd) bridal ivory

No 16, 18 and 20 chenille needles

• No 8 crewel needle

30cm (12in) embroidery hoop

• HB pencil 

Design area: 21cm x 8cm
(8¼in x 3in)

French knot, pistil stitch, ribbon stitch, running stitch, stem stitch


Transfer the stem and flower positions from the pattern sheet to the front of the damask fabric using your preferred method.

Put the fabric in the hoop and tension it until it is drum tight.


Note: Use the No 16 chenille needle for the 15mm (5/8 in) ribbon, the No 18 for the 10mm (3/8 in) ribbon and the No 20 for the Beta thread. The crewel is used for the stranded thread.

Flowers: Work all three in the same way. Keep the ribbon stitches loose for a full, three-dimensional effect.

Using the 15mm (5/8 in) bridal ivory ribbon, work the outer layer of petals in ribbon stitch, see diagram 1.

Cut two 5cm (2in) lengths of the same ribbon and with one strand of 712, running-stitch around three sides as shown in diagram 2.

Pull up the thread to form a rounded petal and secure it.

Place these two petals over the other three with the gathered edges together in the middle and sew them in position with the same thread, see diagram 3.

With 10mm (3/8 in) passionate daisy, bring the needle up in the centre and ribbon-stitch a petal over each side of the gathered ribbon and another one downwards between the two outer petals. Make this stitch a little longer than the other side ones, then sew a French knot in the centre with the same ribbon.

Run a pistil stitch from the centre towards the upper petal with 10mm (3/8 in) bridal ivory ribbon.

Open bud: Work two ribbon- stitch petals fanning out slightly from the centre in 15mm (5/8 in) bridal ivory ribbon. Then with 10mm (3/8 in) passionate daisy ribbon, form a short ribbon stitch on top between the first two petals.

Cut a 5cm (2in) length of 15mm (5/8 in) bridal ivory ribbon and make a gathered petal as before. Attach it to the base of the ribbon-stitch petals and then work another ribbon-stitch petal on each side of it, also with the bridal ivory ribbon.

To finish the open bud, thread one strand of 17 in the needle and bring it up at the base of the petals. Take the back of the needle under the ribbon, around the loop and then through it before pulling it in a knot. Then stem-stitch down to join the main stem line under the top flower in the same thread.

Large bud: Using the 15mm (5/8 in) bridal ivory ribbon, ribbon-stitch one petal on the fabric and two
more over the first one. Then again with the back of a needle, lift these petals up a bit so they stand over the back one.

Work the loop around the base and the stem in the same way as before to join the main stem line.

Small buds: Stitch two ribbon-stitch petals over each other with 10mm (3/8 in) bridal ivory ribbon
for each of the three buds at the top of the marked stem lines. Then work the stems in the same way as the previous two buds.

Leaves: Using 15mm (5/8 in) mossy rock ribbon, work these at the base of the stem in ribbon stitches
of varying lengths as shown in the photograph. To make them look three-dimensional, don’t pull them too tight.

Stem: The main stem is sewn at the end as part of it goes over one leaf. Beginning under the top flower, stem-stitch down the line under the left-hand flower to join the stem on the right-hand one, then continue down
to the base, taking the stitches 
over one of the leaves and under another so the stalk seems to emerge
from it.


Take the work out of the hoop and have it framed as you prefer.

Download the description and charts for Silken orchid-embroidery project: