These simple French knot cluster flowers are super easy to stitch up, and a great excuse to practice your French knots!
This post is meant to guide you through the process of creating French knot cluster flowers, so feel free to follow along with the pattern - or create your own design with these same techniques! If a video tutorial is easier for you to follow, I have one for you at the very end of this post.
Step 1: Gather your supplies.
For this project and demonstration, I'll be stitching on two layers of white cotton fabric, but you can use any fabric you like!
I'll be using a 4" bamboo hoop, and will frame the final project in a 3" wooden hoop. Demonstrations and videos are easier for me to do in 4" hoops, but I designed this pattern to be framed in a 3" hoop. If you're following along with me, you don't need to start in a 4" hoop unless you really want to!
For the French knots, I'll be using three strands of cotton embroidery floss; for the straight stitched stems, I'll be using just two strands.
Note: You don't need embroidery scissors like the ones in the photos below for this project, but if you want them - I sell them in my shop!
Step 2: Get your design onto your fabric.
I transferred my printed design onto my fabric using a pencil and the window method; if you'd like to try this project without a pattern, you can always use coins of varying sizes to help draw perfect circles onto your fabric!
In the photo below, I've already transferred my design and stitched the first flower to give you a sense of what your flowers will look like! In the photo demonstrations below, I'll be stitching the middle flower; in the video demonstration at the very end of this post, I stitch the flower on the very right.
Step 3: Fill in your flower shape (i.e., your circle) with French knots.
Although I've included photos of the process of creating the first French knot , this isn't meant to be a replacement for a proper French knot tutorial. If you need a refresher on this stitch, make sure to check out "8 Steps to Perfect French Knots."
French knot clusters happen when you stitch French knots right next to each other. Once you've put one French knot down, it's time to start filling in the rest of your shape!
For this flower, I'm working my way from the outside in. In the video demonstration at the end of this post, however, I work from the inside out. The direction you choose to fill your shape is a matter of personal preference; that said, I tend to work from the inside out on smaller areas, and from the outside in on larger areas.
Here's what my French knots look like once I'm about halfway finished with outlining my shape:
Once I finished outlining my shape, I started filling in the center. I like to use more wraps (e.g., 2-3) in the center of these shapes, and fewer (e.g., 1-2) toward the border of these shapes. I think this helps to give your flowers a bit more dimension!
Here's what my shape looks like toward the end of the process - as you can see below, it's fairly easy to bring your needle up through gaps and create additional stitches as needed.
And now I have a finished French knot cluster!
Step 4: Stitch your stems using the straight stitch.
You can use all sorts of stitches for flower stems; for this design, I used a simple straight stitch.
If you like, you can also add leaves at this stage, also using straight stitch.
And that's it!
Here's what the back of my hoop looks like after I've finished stitching all three flowers:
And here's the front of my finished stitching:
Step 5: Re-frame your hoop into the proper size
Again, although I designed this pattern to be framed in a 3" hoop, it's easier for me to stitch and demonstrate in a 4" hoop. This step may not apply to you if you've been stitching in the proper hoop size.
Before assembling, I like to press my fabric down over the inner hoop to make sure I have it centered just right.
Make sure your fabric is in there nice and tight! Otherwise, your circles may become distorted, and you'll lose the tension in your stems.
If you stitched in a larger hoop than your frame, you'll also want to trim around the edges so that you don't end up with bumps when you back your hoop.
After backing, here's what my final product looks like!
Video tutorial for French knot cluster flowers
Are video tutorials easier for you to follow? They might be for this stitch, so here you go!
I would love to see what you make! If you used this tutorial, you can tag me (@hopebroidery) to share, or email me directly! Happy stitching!