Saturday, May 31, 2014

Remake of 'Sweetheart' and Bullion Rose Tutorial

I have had many requests for kits for the 'Sweetheart' project that was featured on the cover of the Australian edition of 'Cute As a Button' which is the EXACT same book as the American edition titled 'Sew Cute Couture".  Believe me.... I know it's all a bit confusing.  Unfortunately both titles are now out of print and can be a bit tricky to find at a reasonable price.  If you happen to know of a good source that still has them please let me know.        

The jacket  for the original 'Sweetheart ' project was made from 100% wool Doctors flannel which started out as ivory. I had tried to dye it lavender with a different project in mind with very limited success.  Because I thought I had ruined the fabric I figured there was nothing to loose and I threw it in a pot of hot water with a bottle of Rit brand black dye.  The wool took the black dye beautifully.  You would never know it was once a very unattractive mottled lavender.  The bishop dress and jacket trim fabric is probably one of my all time favorite Liberty prints.  I am being polite when I say it is a 'vintage' Liberty.  It was from back when the dinosaurs still roamed the earth and Liberty prints were only 36" wide.  I would like to hear from some of you fabric hoarders (you know who you are!) who still have 36" wide Liberty prints waiting for just the right project.  So..... clearly it was not possible to provide kits for the project as shown as both the jacket and dress fabric were a bit obscure and completely unavailable.  

My remake of the project is Dakota pique for the jacket and a lovely paisley lawn for the dress, both trimmed with 1/32" pima micro check. You might recognize the paisley lawn from a previous post.  I love this fabric.  It is not an easy thing to find  a good quality lightweight cotton lawn in a small scale print in several  nice color ways.  My rule of thumb when choosing a print to coordinate with an embroidered jacket is to look for at least three distinct colors in the print and a good green.  This lawn more than fits that criteria.   

The kit will be available in three color ways on my Etsy site..  I would like to give a big shout out to my friends at who make all the custom colors in hand dyed buttons for me.

There are probably as many ways to make a bullion rose as there are people making them.  I would like to include my take on the classic spiral bullion.  These instructions are for big chunky roses as shown on the 'Sweetheart' jacket.

Spiral Bullion Rose:
  • work with three strands of floss and a # 7 milliners needle
  • it is helpful to interface the area behind the embroidery
  • use three colors of floss plus a green.  Use a contrast for the center and two shades of pink or red (a light and a medium shade) for the spiral rose petals.  Use the darker shade for the center fifteen wrap spiral bullions and the lighter shade for the outer twenty-two wrap spiral bullions.
  • the spiral bullion is made in four sections (colors):
  • center - one, five wrap bullion and two, ten wrap bullions
  • inner petals - six, fifteen wrap spirals
  • outer petals - eight, twenty-two wrap spirals
  • leaf base - four, twenty four wrap spirals

1.    Work one, five wrap bullion at the center point.

2.    Bring the needle back to the left and take a new backstitch to make one, ten wrap bullion that cups beneath the five wrap bullion.

3.    Turn the work completely over and make a second ten wrap bullion.

4.   To make the first fifteen wrap spiral bullion, bring the needle up at about 11:00.  Leave a gap, the width of one bullion stitch, between the entry point of the thread and the center bullion stitches. 

5.    Backstitch about ¼ of the way around the center.  Make the first fifteen wrap bullion.


6.    To make the second fifteen wrap spiral bullion, drop the needle to the back of the work and bring it up at the half way point on the first spiral bullion. 

7.    Backstitch about ¼ of the way around the center and make a second fifteen wrap spiral bullion.

8.    Repeat Steps 6-7 to make the third, fourth and fifth spiral bullions.

9.    The sixth, and final fifteen wrap spiral bullion is made be bringing the needle up at the half way point of the fifth fifteen wrap spiral bullion.  Backstitch about ¼ of the way around the center bringing the needle in close to the center, to the inside of the first fifteen wrap spiral bullion.  Make the sixth fifteen wrap spiral bullion.

10.  To make the first 22 wrap spiral bullion bring the needle up at 11:00 leaving a gap the width of one spiral bullion stitch.  Backstitch about 20% of the way around the center fifteen wrap spiral bullions.

11.  Make the first twenty-two wrap spiral bullion.

12. Make the second through seventh twenty-two wrap spiral bullions in the same manner as the previous color spiral bullions.

13.  The eighth and final twenty two wrap spiral bullion is made by bringing the needle up at the halfway point on the seventh twenty-two wrap spiral bullion.  Backstitch about 20% of the way around the center, bringing the needle in close to the fifteen wrap spiral bullions.  Make the eighth twenty-two wrap spiral bullion.

14.  Bring the green in about 2/3’s of the way up on the left hand side of the spiral bullion rose.  Backstitch about 20% of the way around the rose.

15. Make a twenty four wrap spiral bullion.  Make the second, third, and fourth green spiral bullions in the same manner. 

16.  Stitch the heart button at the indicated position. Use three strands of floss to outline stitch the stem line.

17.  To make the bows draw a ¾” long line on a piece of paper.  Mark the center point and the ends of the ¾” line.

18.  Using ¼” wide silk/satin ribbon cut the end on a 45° angle.  Fold the ribbon in on itself half the distance of the ¾” line and secure with a pin. 

19.  Fold in the second loop keeping the cut end of the ribbon on the inside and secure with the pin.  Fold in a third loop directly behind the second loop and secure with the pin.

20.  Fold in the fourth and final loop resulting with two sets of two loops stacked on top of each other and secure with the pin.

21.  Cut the ribbon on the back side on a 45° angle.

22.  Using a hand sewing needle and doubled thread in a matching color to the ribbon, bring the thread up through the center of the bow.  Wrap the thread tightly around the center three times and tie off on the wrong side. 

23.  Use the center thread to tack the bow to the center of the stem.



  1. Always the very best! Thank you for the wonderful tutorial. Love the pretty paisley colors. So pretty and cheerful!

  2. LOVE!! I love the colors and I should really try those bullion roses. Thanks for the great tutorial and pictures!

  3. Thank you so much for this tutorial, Gail! My bullions are getting better and with this wonderful tutorial and your great pictures, maybe I'll get the placement consistently done-finally! And your choice of fabrics for your new kits is exquisite, of course I want all three colors! Now to work on getting those granddaughters!

  4. Your tutorials are always so detailed; the new colors are wonderful!! I agree with the previous comment "Perfection, Gail, as always!!" Your work is ALWAYS nothing less than perfection.

  5. Gail: I get such pleasure from your exquisite needlework. These bullions are perfection. Thank you for the wonderful photos.

  6. Not sure if she still has them, but they are $31. I found mine on e-bay last year, but the price has since gone up.

    Your bullions are perfect! I just need you to stand over my shoulder while I practice! LOL

  7. Thank you, Gsil! I was just planning this beautiful bishop for an expected granddaughter! I have Sew Cute Couture and treasure it! I have also been fortunate enough to attend two of your classes and hope to attend more! You are the best! Thanks again,

  8. Great photography. Thanks so much for the tutorial. Love the fabrics also. Gail Doane you are just the very best! Thanks so much for sharing your skills.

  9. Count me among the dinosaurs stashing that skinny fabric!
    Love this tutorial. Thank you!

  10. Always perfect! I love your bullion flowers!!!

  11. Thank you so much for this tutorial! I've been struggling with bullion roses for almost 2 years, but this weekend they finally came together for me. Most of the instructions I've found have left it up to me to figure out how many wraps to make on how many bullions, and who knows where to put them all to actually make them look like a flower. But this morning my baby girl wore a sweet little bishop bubble to church that had 5 beautiful bullion roses around the neck. Couldn't have done it without you!

  12. Thank you for this tutorial. Oh yes, I have a piece of 36" wide Liberty of London.

  13. So, so beautiful !! Thank you so much for your tutorial

  14. Unbelievableably gorgeous!!! Thank you so cery mych for your time & patience in making this turorial! It will help me make an heirloom piece!

  15. Gail..planning on joining you in Charlotte in June to do this class!! x2 !! maybe x3..[kits]. Lookig forward to seeing you again..but in the meanwhile, saving this page for future reference!! Karin Eveland

  16. eine schöne Idee ,ich mochte

  17. Obrigada pelo tutorial! Love it!

  18. Beautiful and the tutorial makes it look a lot easier to me, I have been struggling on where to place my needle at .I will prevail this beautiful rose. Thank you !

  19. Simplesmente, maravilhoso! Obrigada, lindas!

  20. Fiona from New ZealandNovember 5, 2018 at 11:30 PM

    The dress and jacket are absolutely gorgeous!
    I'm looking forward to trying the bullion rose. Thanks for the tutorial.

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