This simple embroidery pattern is suitable for beginners, and is loosely based on a pair of Rhode Island Red chickens. Depending on the thread colours and stitches you use you can make the design more or less rustic or realistic. You can also use this pattern to have a go at painting with stitches if you choose to fill in the chicken bodies.
If you are new to embroidery, our stitch guide will show you how to do all the stitches needed to complete this design.
You will need
To complete the design like our sample project, you will need:
- 6.5” embroidery hoop
- Embroidery needle
- Chicken embroidery design PDF
- 4 shades of brown: golden brown, mid brown, dark brown and very dark brown for the outline and feathers
- Golden orange for the beak and legs
- Black for the eyes
- Red for the comb
Your chicken embroidery design
You Will Need
- Embroidery Thread
- Embroidery hoop
- Embroidery needle
- Press your fabric and transfer the design to it using your preferred method. I find using a little lightbox the quickest way to trace patterns directly on to fabric.
- Place your fabric in the hoop, with the design centred in the middle.
- Back stitch the outline of the chickens with the darkest brown floss and then chain stitch the
wings (this helps them stand out against the feather stitches).
Using the mid brown thread, start to fill in the body of the hen, using short stitches following the direction the feathers would grow. Then do the same with the dark brown thread. Use the golden brown thread to add some highlights to the upper part of the hen. Finally, using the darkest brown thread, fill in any little stitching gaps. Using the four shades of brown on the hens feathers gives it an attractive depth of colour and more texture than using a single
shade of brown.
Using the darkest brown thread, fill in the head following the direction of the feathers. You then need to create a gradient between the darkest brown and the dark brown thread. Continue stitching down the neck, before transitioning to the mid brown. Use the mid brown thread to fill in the body of the cockerel, then transition to the darker shades of brown to fill in the tail.
The combs and beaks
Fill in the comb’s using the red thread and satin stitch. Use the golden orange thread to stitch the beaks with satin stitch. The end of the beak needs some very tiny stitches so take your time and be patient.
Using the golden orange thread, use bullion knots to add the legs and feet to both chickens. If you find bullion stitch too fiddly, you could use chain stitch instead.
Finishing off the chicken embroidery designs
If you choose to display this as a piece of hoop art, gather up the loose fabric around the back of the hoop and loosely stitch it together to keep it tidy. You can stitch on (or glue) a piece of felt to the back to hide everything.
These chickens would also work well as individual motifs to embroider onto kid’s clothes or to use as focal points in quilted cushions. Please share any chicken embroidery designs you make with us on Instagram so we can see them!