A Splendid Hand-Stitching Tutorial

Hello everyone! Brenda Smith here today with a tutorial on how to create the hand-stitched overlapped circle background like on this layout.


  • Circle punch (I used a 2")
  • a pencil and eraser 
  • a paper piercer 
  • a foam-like base for putting under your paper when piercing (I used my WRMK Sew Easy Stitching mat, but a foam mouse pad would work as well)
  • Embroidery needle, and floss (I used two different colors).

I started by making the base of the layout using papers from the Splendid collection. I used 2"x12" strips of paper on the top and bottom, another strip of 2"x12" paper above the bottom strip, and then put the photo in the middle. That left me with a 6"x8" space onto which I will stitch my background. Before I got started, I machine-stitched two scalloped borders on the top and bottom to finish off the base.

Now the fun, albeit time-consuming, part! Place one punched circle at the top, left-most spot of your empty space. Trace around it with a pencil (I forgot to take a picture of this before I traced the second circle, so please disregard the pencil marks you see in the above picture ;) ).

Move it to the right one spot so it is touching (but not overlapping) the circle you just drew. Continue on with the top row until you have drawn circles all the way across. Now make another row directly underneath the row you just made. Start at the left, making sure the top of the circle is touching the bottom of the circle above it.

Move it over to the right one spot and trace again. Continue until you've finished the row.

Now, for the second row, place directly underneath the first circle you traced. Trace the circle and then follow the same process as followed for the top row. Make a third row in this same manner.

Your first rows of circles will look like this. Now, for the overlapping part.

Place the circle in the middle of the first two circles in the first and second rows and trace.

To make the semi-circle, let the punched circle lay on part of the photo while you trace. Now move to the right two spots, and trace another circle. Continue the row like this.

Start the second row with the same process described above.

The bottom row will only be partial circles, so don't be afraid to let it hang off onto the patterned paper a little.

Go up to the very top and place the bottom of the punched circle touching the top of circle below it. Trace a semi-circle. Continue the entire row like this.

Your finished pattern should look something like this.

Now paper-pierce the holes for stitching, trying to keep the holes evenly spaced but not really worrying about it being too precise. Do be careful, however, to not have any holes pierced too closely together or too close to the edge of the paper (it can cause tearing).

Once you've paper pierced all the holes, start with the stitching by doing a basic backstitch. This is done by going up hole 1 (starting at the backside of the paper) and knotting the thread at the back so it doesn’t pull through.

Now down through hole 2, up hole 3, down hole 2, up hole 4, down hole 3, etc.

What’s unique about how I stitched this is I stitched each color in an “S” shape by doing the left half of the first circle on the top, the right half of the circle right below it, the left half of the circle below it, etcetera.

When stitching the second half of the circles I just did, I will do a reverse “S” (right half of the top circle, left half of the one below it, right half of the one below it, etc.).

Stitch the entire 6”x8” space continuing on like this.

Et voila! It’s finished! Continue on and embellish how you like.

I will probably add more embellishment to this layout at a later time by adding buttons and smaller punched circles in the diamond-shaped spaces in between the circles.

Thank you so much for taking a look, and have fun stitching!

Paper: Authentique Splendid (Richness, Delight, Majesty)
Floss: DMC
Alphas: American Crafts


  1. very gorgeous! and really time consuming hahaha. Love to try that sometime for my cards.


  2. Brenda, this is breathtaking!!! what an amazing amount of hand work. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. Brenda, this is AWESOME! You are amazingly talented. Thank you for a great tutorial!

  4. I love the layout, but I can't take my eyes off of that sweet, chubby baby! She is so adorable I can hardly stand it!!

  5. Very cute idea. A little time consuming, but I think all my projects end up being that way. Ha Ha.

  6. Wow Brenda! That is all I can say. I love seeing how you did your sewing!

  7. I've always wondered how to go about doing this. It's such a great look. Thanks so much for sharing!

  8. Brenda, that was so freakin' amazing! Thanks.

  9. THIS. IS. AMAZING!!!! Thanks for sharing!

  10. Wow! I am speechless! You must have the patience of a Saint! WOnderful, thamk you for sharing!

  11. Amazing LO! Great tutorial! I love seeing the step by step!

  12. WOW!!! That looks absolutely gorgeous!!! And thanks so much for the very detailed tutorial! Love all the step-by-step photos you took!

  13. This is amazing and just overflowing with so much love and talent. I love watching what you make, Brenda!! <3

  14. GREAT tutorial . . . definitely something I'll try!! Thanks!!!!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts