Leaves are one of the most common subject matters when it comes to embroidery. You can stitch them all around flowers. You can use them to decorate quotes and names. Or you can always make them the main feature! So I've put together this list to help you decide what kind of leaves you want to stitch. There are tutorials for each of these stitches (just click on the name).
This is my absolute favourite stitch for leaves - no matter how large or small! It's so versatile you can even get 2 different effects from doing the same stitch. Closed fly stitch (when you do the stitches really close together) gives the effect of a full leaf with a spine down the centre. While open fly stitch (when you do the stitches further apart) gives an almost fern-like effect.
The old reliable satin stitch is perfect for small leaves. It's a great stitch for filling any sort of space really. So it's perfect when you want leaves in a solid block of colour. For a nice effect, angle your stitches diagonally rather than straight across or down.
Ok, you got me! There's actually 6 stitches on this list. But van dyke and cretan are fairly similar so I thought I'd cover both. These two give a slightly more stylised version of a leaf. Van dyke creates a beautiful braid effect down the centre line. While cretan's lines give a more pointed 'v' effect.
As with fly stitch, you can do these stitches closer together or far apart to get slightly different looks. Have fun experimenting with the different placements!
This one looks a lot harder than it is, I promise. A simple weaving stitch done on top of the fabric to give you a 3D leaf! I always recommend doing your picots first so you don't catch your needle in your other stitches. You could always add some satin stitch or fly stitch leaves around your picot to give your piece a bit of depth.
You'll need some ribbon for this one instead of your embroidery floss. Ribbon stitch also gives a bit of depth to your work. Bunch them together, or spread them along a line stitch to create a vine. You can use different sized ribbons to get wider or thinner leaves. Or just change the length of your stitches to get longer or shorter leaves. If you're ready to try it out, get some silk ribbons here.
I hope I've given you plenty of choice there! Are there other stitches you often use for leaves? Let me know in the comments