Another Review at MyShelf.Com

The Kew Book of Embroidered Flowers
BY Trish Burr

Search Press
July 2020 / ISBN 9781782216421
How-To Books / Needlework

Reviewed by Rachel Hyde


Sometimes Search Press really goes the whole nine yards and produces a book with extra wow factor. From its larger format, sturdy colorful covers and elastic to keep it closed like a box you know that something special hides within, and you won’t be disappointed. Inside is a pocket full of transfers for stitching eleven stunning studies of flowers from Kew Garden’s botanical illustration collection.

The lush colors and elegant layouts of 18th and 19th century botanical art are just made to be captured in embroidery, especially the thread painting style worked mostly in long and short stitch. The author promises that this is not too difficult for even a beginner to master, and there are not many stitches to learn. Mostly it is a case of practising getting the shading right and there are quite a few staged photographs to show the right way. You won’t need many tools and materials; a slate frame or hoop, six stranded cotton floss and fabric is most of what you will require. You can learn how to work the various stitches as well as prepare a hoop, use transfers, choose materials and care for your finished work. To limber you up for the actual projects there are several simple pieces, all with captioned photographs as well as a diagram showing the order of work, list of threads and anything else you need. All sizes are given in both imperial and metric, and after the first project there is an option of working a sampler featuring another eighteen small studies plus two simpler larger projects. Following this are two more chapters containing the intermediate and advanced projects, the latter of which concludes with another sampler. Full projects typically have photographic stages with arrows indicating what color floss, essential when working on complex, variegated flowers with a lot of different shades. Each finished piece is shown in a large format, often over two pages so you can appreciate its beauty and see what you are working to achieve. At the back is a handy table of thread substitutes so you can opt for DMC instead of the more costly and harder to source (at least in the UK) Au Ver A Soie thread. When your transfers have worn out, or you want to work on a dark background there are also full-sized outlines for tracing, showing that the author has thought of everything! This is one of my top choices for this year and a book to treasure.

If you cannot find a good range of embroidery materials locally try for a list of suppliers.

DMC floss, Au Ver a Soie and other hard to source threads available from

DMC threads large range available at
Huge range for the embroiderer at

UK Reviewer: Rachel Hyde's work can be found in The Bead Magazine, Making Jewellery and
Reviewed 2020