Today on the blog, I have a really fun tutorial to share with you: how to make stumpwork robin eggs! I shared a glimpse of the making process a few weeks ago on Instagram, and some of you were interested in seeing the full tutorial so I’m happy to oblige. One day, I hope to be able to film things properly, but for now I hope you’ll enjoy this step-by-step photo tutorial.
The eggs and nest are part of a larger pattern, which is available as a PDF download in my Etsy shop here!
So if you fancy a bit of needle-painting, a bit of stumpwork, and a bit of French knot magic, you’ll love “The Robin’s Nest”!
The stumpwork was actually the easiest and most fun part of the whole project, so I’m excited to share more about it with you today.
What is Stumpwork?
“Stumpwork” is, quite simply, a fancy word for 3D embroidery. It refers to the various techniques used to “raise” embroidery, from 3D stitches to padding, stuffing, and the use of any other material to create three-dimensional scenes or elements. I’ve shared a bit about stumpwork here on the blog before, in these two projects:
There are pretty much no limits when it comes to stumpwork, and a million ways to get creative and make your embroidery pop. Bird eggs seemed to me the perfect subject to try a little felt padding, and I absolutely love it!
To make these stumpwork blue eggs, you’ll need:
- Scrap of blue felt big enough to cut 3 little eggs from. My eggs were about ½” each, so you really only need a tiny scrap.
- Sewing thread (use a matching blue, or anything pale) and a hand-sewing needle
- Embroidery floss DMC #3811 or other lovely robin egg blue shade you have
- Hand-embroidery needle
Stumpwork Eggs Tutorial:
1. Start by cutting 3 little eggs from the blue felt. The felt is used as padding and will be entirely covered with stitching, so don’t worry if it’s not exactly the right shade of blue. You can use white felt too, if you don’t have blue.
2. I’m stitching these eggs inside a nest here, so I’ve arranged them how I want to determine which to stitch first. I like them to overlap, especially with the angle my nest is seen from, but they could be beside each other and not touching if you prefer.
3. Once you’ve decided how to arrange your eggs, stitch the first one in place with sewing thread and a simple backstitch. This is to prevent the shape from shifting when we embroider.
4. When it’s stitched in place, thread your hand-embroidery needle with 2 strands of #3811 and cover the egg with satin stitch, vertically (top to bottom or vice versa).
5. Arrange the second egg, and sew it down in place like you did the first one. If they are overlapping, stitch right through the other egg. Again, cover with satin stitch in the same way as the first.
6. Finally, place the last egg and stitch it down in place over the previous two. Cover with satin stitch, always following the direction the egg is laying in.
And now you have the cutest, bluest little 3D robin eggs!!
Felt is truly amazing for stumpwork, and really easy to work with. I even considered stuffing the felt, but didn’t need to since it turned out dimensional enough. You can use bits of felt like this to raise any embroidered element that you like.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and small glimpse into “The Robin’s Nest”! The full pattern is available for purchase here if you’d like to stitch the whole thing. Suitable for enthusiastic beginners of the needle-painting technique and more advanced stitchers. If you’re just starting out with needle-painting, it’s not too difficult as the robin is pretty straightforward. If you’re a complete beginner to hand embroidery, I do suggest practicing basic stitches and needle-painting first.
You can visit my Stitch Library for full tutorials on basic embroidery stitches and more!
As always, thank you for reading my blog and happy stitching!