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Pagoda of Peace Embroidery Swatch

When I saw the embroidery design challenge this week on Spoonflower, I thought …”Oh yes I must try that!” But, which design style shall I enter since I dabble in so many?

Dream big mouse embroidery design.

I first tested something playful and positive because surely we need more of that these days. This swatch at left was nice enough…or “mice enough”… that it will be sold in my shop soon. I can see this hanging in a nursery alongside my Mice Messages design.

For a contest, this one seemed too easy. Heaven forbid I make these contest entries easy on myself! Good thing I enjoy a challenge. Then, I considered my Japanese Garden collection that remains my most popular style by far. Designs from that line sell every day in my shops. I can only guess and hope that others are drawn to the oriental style for the sense of tranquility that I feel when I am painting or drawing it.

For all the peace seekers out there, I present this tranquil little pagoda scene with bamboo, lilies and a Kanji peace symbol.

The above design is my entry in the Spoonflower contest. Vote May 6 - 11 here. It didn't seem right to create an embroidery pattern and not test it myself. (Also, I couldn't wait to play with the colorful embroidery floss!) Since I didn't have time to wait for a printed Spoonflower swatch, I used the freezer paper method to print my design onto cotton. For those who do not know, freezer paper may be ironed onto cotton in order to stiffen it enough to run through an inkjet printer. As you can see below, the colors are not as vivid. (Your Spoonflower printed swatch will look like the above.) It also is not colorfast. But these things were not issues since I would embroidery over all the color and this won't be washed.'s just a test, right??

Printed embroidery pattern, hoop and floss.
Pagoda of peace embroidery design in hoop.

The test sample is a keeper!! It was going so well, I decided to finish this test sample. I did not keep track of the hours, but I started and finished the same day. And it was relaxing and peaceful...which makes the little kanji symbol of peace quite appropriate. I would call it a beginner level piece. Although, working with metallic thread required my advanced patience.

Supplies needed:

8 x 8 cotton or linen swatch from Spoonflower.

6-inch embroidery hoop

Embroidery needle

Embroidery floss. I used DMC floss found at most fabric or craft stores. The colors I choose match the printed colors so that the design behind the stitching blends in. You may vary these hues should some colors not be available.

DMC color list: white B5200, yellow 676, golden 783, orange 351, red 816, lt green 3348k, med lt green 3052, green 367, green 520, green, 3051, lt blue 3752, aqua 597, turquoise 807, and metallic gold E3852.

Tip: basting around the edge of your swatch before you begin will help prevent any fraying.

The stitches used: Using two strands of floss, I worked with the following basic stitches: satin stitch for fill areas, chain stitch for flower stems and on the roof, back stitch for outlining…using just one strand, and the French knot was used for the dots on the water. Notice that I varied my direction with the satin stitching. I wasn’t sure how to address the open space on the roof and walls, so I got a little creative with the satin stitching.

This embroidery design will be for sale soon in my Japanese Garden Collection.

Matches my dining room, no? I may swap out the working bamboo hoop for something more permanent. There are hanging hoop frames or this can be mounted in a square frame with a round mat.

Suggested coordinates...

I'm happy with the results of my first embroidery pattern and hope you are too. Who knows, I may make a whole collection of embroidery patterns. As always, thank you for stopping by. Please tag me on Instagram with your finished projects. Happy sewing! :)

Peace and love,

Debby XO

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