On a hot summer day, we love nothing better than packing up a picnic, grabbing our bikes and heading off on a long, lazy cycle. Pay tribute to this summer ritual with Sara Shoemaker’s bicycle embroidery pattern! Her kitsch, colourful hoop art – with backstitch, cable chain stitch, lazy daisy and French knots all making an appearance, it’s good for beginners as well as those who want to push their stitching. Mix it up by experimenting with thread thickness, and don’t be scared to stray from the pattern. To learn how to do all stitches, head to our library embroidery stitches which shows you how to do every technique.
- Cotton or linen fabric, 30.5cm (12″) square
- Wooden embroidery hoop 20cm (8″)
- Tacky Glue
- Pink and white twine
- Needle grabber (optional)
- Watercolour pencils
- Embroidery thread in:
- Sewing scissors
- Sewing needle
- Mechanical pencil or fabric pencil
- Scrapbook paper
- Electric lightbox (optional)
And you’ll need our bicycle embroidery template too.
Embroidery stitches key
Your bicycle embroidery pattern
You Will Need
- Embroidery Thread
- Embroidery hoop
Cut your fabric a few inches larger than your hoop. Secure right side (RS) down inside your hoop, so you can easily see the pattern through the fabric against a lightbox or window. Trace the pattern onto the wrong side (WS) of the fabric using a mechanical pencil.
Take the fabric out of the hoop and flip it RS up. This will be the final position, so make sure the design is centred. Then cut your first strand of thread and separate strands if needed. The majority of this piece uses all six strands, with some parts sewn in three. Thread six strands of mint green thread through your needle and tie a knot.
Sew the first line of the bike frame using straight backstitch, then fill in the rest of the bike body by offsetting your lines of straight stitches in a brick-like pattern. Follow the pattern’s lines using more backstitches to sew the rest of the bike. Sew the spokes using long, straight stitches in two strands of white thread.
Sew the bike seat and handlebar using satin stitch in three strands. After your first straight stitch, start your next stitch across from, but not next to, the end of your last stitch. Repeat until the area is filled in.
Sew the bike chain using cable- chain stitch in three strands. You may it find easiest to flip your hoop upside-down and work right to left.
Bring your needle up, then loop the thread once around the needle counter-clockwise and put it back down one stitch length to the left. Here’s the tricky part: don’t pull your thread all the way through. Pinch the fabric with your needle
by putting it back up through, just a few millimetres to the left. Once you’ve done that, move your working thread under the needle, then pull it the rest of the way through the fabric to make the oval loop of the chain. Repeat for the rest of the chain ‘links’.
Incorporating twine into embroidery adds interest. We used pink and white wrapped twine for the balloon strings. A needle grabber makes it easier to pull the thick twine through the fabric.
Sew the flowers using backstitch, then fill in the insides with French knots, according to the pattern. Make tiny French knots for the berries in the bike basket too.
Sew the florals around the hoop edge using lazy daisy stitch in six strands. To make the leaf vines, start with a straight backstitch down the middle of the vine, then add satin stitch leaves on either side.
Adding watercolour to your bicycle embroidery
Have fun alternating between wet and dry watercolour pencils to create different effects. To create a neat back for your work and hide untidy threads, cut some scrapbook paper to the size of your hoop. Brush tacky glue to the hoop edge and secure the paper to the back. Now hang in your home or gift to a friend.
You’ve completed your bicycle embroidery! Share this pattern with all your pals and make sure you head to our other embroidery patterns. We have cat embroidery, peach embroidery and even a chicken embroidery design!
Meet the maker
Hand embroidery artist and lover of all things sparkly, Sara has found her passion
in expressing herself through needlecraft. As Audrey Hepburn’s number one fan, she keeps the question ‘What would Audrey do?’ in her mind as she crafts. She lives in Arizona with her husband and family.