Retro Stitchery Patterns by Bev McCullough

I have been an avid fan and follower of Bev McCullough – aka Flamingo Toes – for years now. A few years back, we got to be “booth buddies” at Quilt Market and I am an even bigger fan having known her in real life! Bev is a master of many mediums, including hand embroidery. She’s also known for her vintage-retro style. So I was excited when she announced her brand new book Retro Stitchery, and asked if I’d like to create a project from the book!

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It has been a while since I’ve worked on on a stitchery project. I had a cross-stitch revival last summer but it has been a few year since I’ve worked on an embroidery project. And to be honest, while I’m a decent back-stitcher, my other embroidery stitches needed a little practice.

At first I felt a little intimidated looking at Bev’s beautiful work and stitches but Bev had simple diagrams showing the steps for each of the stitches used in the book as well as embroidery tips with photos on her website. After a little bit of practice, I decided to just go for it and even if my stitches weren’t perfect, this would be a fun project for learning.

I picked the Choose Joy Pattern. (You can see Bev’s version of this project above mine.) I traced the design with a heat-erase pen on to Lori Holt’s Aqua Pin Dot basic as my background fabric. I ironed a lightweight fusible woven interfacing to the back to give it some stability and make the white fabric more opaque to hide my threads on the back. (Adorable Needle Minder also from Flamingo Toes.)

 Here are the floss colors that I used for my project. Most are DMC. The two with a different style of number are from Cosmo.

I thoroughly enjoyed working on this portable handwork project for the past few weeks. I prepped my project before we went on a quick spring break getaway and loved working on it during our family hang-out/down-time. I also loved having this project handy for times when I’m sitting in front of the school waiting for a kid and listening to a podcast.

The thing that I remembered that I love about embroidery is that it takes very little thinking. The pattern is marked on the fabric and ready to go when you’re ready to pick it up. No counting, or thinking, or measuring. . . it’s kind of like mindless coloring with thread.

And I LOVE how this project turned out! My stitches aren’t perfect, but I definitely improved as I went along. I’m totally hooked on the idea of more on-the-go embroidery projects this summer!

Here are a few more of the projects included in the book. Bev’s style is so cheerful and fun.

There are over a dozen versatile patterns in the book, including hoop art, framing techniques, clothing details as well as finished project instructions for things like pillows and tea towels.

You also have the the option to use the designs in a variety of ways – for example Andy from A Bright Corner made the same Home pillow and used raw-edge machine embroidery for the letters (see here).

I love this tea towel pattern that she made using my Sugarhouse Park fabric collection. 🙂

Retro Stitchery is available now, hopefully in your favorite stitching shop. It’s also available from Amazon, the Fat Quarter Shop, as well as directly from Beverly herself!

You can also visit Bev at Flamingo Toes for more embroidery, cross stitch, fabric and quilting inspiration on Instagram (@flamingotoes) and she has a wonderful interactive facebook group as well!

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  • Reply
    April 21, 2021 at 6:36 pm

    Your embroidery colors choices are beautiful My mom loves to embroider. I keep meaning to take it up, but get consumed by quilting. Pat Sloan frequently mentions Flamingo Toes. Now I get it! Thank you.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2021 at 10:14 am

    I think your stitches and so pretty and perfect . . . You do amassing work 🙂 Thanks for share.

  • Reply
    April 22, 2021 at 3:20 pm

    Your Joy stitchery is beautiful. It was stitched so well; I don’t see it as finished by a “newbie.”

  • Reply
    April 25, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Beautiful! And that book, I may be asking for that for mothers day!

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