The design of this fox embroidery was heavily influenced by turn of the century naturalist illustrations and only uses two different stitches. In addition to the free pattern and photo tutorial I’ve included time lapse video of the process!
This video shows 10 hour of hand stitching in about 2 minutes.
In this version of the video the 10 hours are compressed into about 12 minutes – which makes it a little more useful for answering any questions you have about the process!
Supplies and Equipment:
- fabric – this is unbleached muslin painted with Hooker’s Green acrylic paint using the Watercolor Fabric Tutorial
- embroidery hoop
- embroidery needles (I’m not picky, I primarily try to use something with an eye just large enough for my thread to minimize the size of the holes I put in the fabric)
- gold thread (optional)
- embroidery floss in the five colors I used or your own choiced
- DMC ECRU – referred to as “ecru”
- DMC 3864 – reffered to as “light”
- DMC 3064 – reffered to as “medium”
- DMC 400 – referred to as “dark”
- DMC 310 – referred to as “black”
- the pattern – click here
The pattern is scaled to fit on a 2×4 inch canvas that is 3/8 inch thick. Adjust the size accordingly for your project.
Throughout the entire piece I use 2 strands of embroidery floss (embroidery floss is made up of 6 threads – I used 2 threads, I did not use a doubled length of floss) with the exception of the black outlining at the beginning where I use only 1 strand.
Foxes have eyes ranging from red to yellow, so I chose to use a bit of metallic gold in this piece. Feel free to choose a more natural color if you prefer.
Stretch the fabric in the embroidery hoop, and follow the Watercolor Fabric Tutorial if you’d like a background like this.
Transfer the pattern onto the fabric – I placed the pattern behind the fabric and traced it in pencil.
Start with the eyes. Satin stitch horizontally in gold to fill them.
Use a backstitch in 1 strand of black to outline around the eyes and the edges of the muzzle. Stitch once vertically across each eye, satin stitch the nose, and outline the edge of the ears as well. Fox eyes are very similar to cat eyes with a vertical pupil.
When I’m not using a color I temporarily stitch it off to the side. Out of the way if I’ll be using it again, or so that it runs under where I’m about to work if it is a color I’m done using. That way the tails will be caught in with the next area I stitch and I can trim any extra strands at the end. This is a secure way of finishing tails for wall art, but if you’re doing this on something that will get more wear you’ll want to tie off your threads more securely.
In medium, backstitch the outer edge of the inside of the ear.
Satin stitch over the backstitch to fill the ear about half way. Repeat on the other ear.
Again in medium, backstitch around the edges of the eye outlines.
Fill in a bit for the cheeks.
Using ecru, outline around the muzzle in backstitch.
Start filling in the around the nose, stitching over the backstitch. Here and everywhere else, overlap the satin stitches and feel free to stitch through other threads – you’re trying to evoke fur. The face of a fox has short fur so keep the stitches short.
Keep working up the muzzle in light.
Stitch around the eyes in light as well.
Leave your threads temporarily stitched off to the side until you need them again.
Go up the nose and around the eyes with medium.
Fill in the adorably excessive fluffy white ear fur with ecru, stitching into the existing medium colored stitches.
Now start adding dark – backstitch around the ecru side of the ears.
Then fill in with satin stitch.
Keep filling in the fur in dark until the top is done.
Edge the ears in light.
Stitch the feet in black – you see one entire leg and then just a bit of the other foot from behind the tail. The fur should be vertical and short, the same way it is on most loveable housepets.
Finish the tops of the legs in dark.
Starting just above the tail, start filling in the back of the fox. Use lots of overlapping long stitches to give it a long fur look.
Fill all the way up to the shoulder. The tail will need a row of backstitch – you can do it now or later.
Stitch a row of backstitch right below the muzzle in medium.
Make a little triangluar patch of fur in medium just below the muzzle, this will help the face stand out from the chest.
Fill in the whole chest area with ecru in mid-length stitches.
Start from the tip of the tail in ecru. Use long stitches for a fluffy tail.
Blend into light with lots of overlapping stitches.
Blend into medium.
Then finish the tail out in the dark, making sure to stitch over the row of backstitch you added at the top edge of the tail.
Finish and trim your threads. I mounted my finished embroidery on artist’s canvas.