How to stitch a thistle flower

Ever wondered how to embroider a fluffy thistle flower? It's easier than you think! I've written out instructions below, but it might also help for you to watch a video - so I've included the full-length tutorial at the end of this post!


  • I used three strands of DMC cotton embroidery floss. In the tutorial video below, I used DMC numbers 959, 3824, and 742.

  • You can use any fabric you like, but for this tutorial I used a linen blend fabric.

  • You totally do NOT need an embroidery stand for this, but I did for the tutorial video to make it easier to follow and am always asked where I got my stand! I got my Sonata Seat Stand from @hawthornhandmade.

  • You'll want a pointy pair of scissors for this project so you can get super close to your fabric when snipping off the fringe of the flower. I sell scissors in my shop! I prefer to use a longer pair of scissors for this type of stitch.

  • For this project, I just used a white gel pen to draw a curved line for my stem on the fabric; that said, there are tons of options for transferring a design to fabric!


  • Start by stitching your stem. In this video I used stem stitch, but you can use a variety of stitches to follow a curve (e.g., whipped back stitch, split back stitch, etc.). In the video, I'm using the bright pink color for this, DMC 3824.

  • Wrap floss around two of your fingers 10-15 times, forming a loop. I'm using the yellow color for this, DMC 742.

  • Insert another piece of floss into the loop you just created, and secure it with a knot. I'm using the blue color for this, DMC 959.

  • Secure your loop to your fabric using satin stitch. I'm using the blue color for this, DMC 959.

  • Finally, trim the fluffy part of your flower! Remember, you can always cut MORE away - so start long, and keep trimming from there until it's at your desired length.

Prefer to watch a tutorial? Me, too!

If full-length, stitch-by-stitch tutorials are helpful to you, guess what? Most of my embroidery kits come with private links to tutorials where I take you through your chosen project stitch-by-stitch!

Happy stitching!