Our First Tutorial - Rainbow Stitch Sampler

Our First Tutorial - Rainbow Stitch Sampler

Three finished hand embroidered rainbows - one one a bag, one in an embroidery hoop, and one appliqued on a pair of jeans - as finished products of a digital tutorial

Click here to go right to the tutorial page

I’ve taught several people the art of embroidery over the years, but when a young friend of mine came looking to learn, I knew I’d need to make a special design. She loves rainbows, and they’re a way for her to show her true colors in a world that’s not always accepting of them. Fortunately, they are well suited to lines of different stitches, too! After another friend with a similar story wanted to learn, we knew we had to clean this little sampler up and make it a tutorial for everyone. 

My friend and I spent a lovely afternoon together, and she amazed me with how quickly she got comfortable with stitching. The stitches I was most worried about turned out to be her favorites, and she didn’t wait for me to come back with more tea to start experimenting on her own. She discovered satin stitch and was busily filling her clouds with more rainbow colors by the time I returned! It was wonderful to see her put her own spin on this design – and fill it with more bright colors than I ever would have dreamed of.

There are so many things I love about teaching others, and I wish I had the chance more often. Not only does it allow for more creative and in-depth projects, it’s so good to share a skill I love and watch it grow. Seeing someone take a skill or pattern of mine and make it their own is always a wonder to me. Their personality shines through in every choice and every stitch, and it makes me so proud to see their work. Whether they keep close to the instructions or go wild, the finished piece is always so uniquely theirs – which is my favorite part.

Closeup of hand embroidered rainbow in progress on blue linen, showing a variety of stitches

Working the cloud filling

Designed for beginners, our rainbow sampler provided in-depth instructions for eight embroidery stitches as well as how to finish and mount your work in an embroidery hoop. With over 40 full-color images spread over 47 pages, it shows every step of the way. It doesn’t have to be made into a hoop, of course; it’s a good size for appliqués, tea towels, and bags too.

This digital tutorial comes with the pattern design for tracing, materials list, and instructions and images for every step of the way. Some stitches are worked a little differently left-handed, and information for both lefties and righties are provided where they differ. Basic stitch guides often leave left-handed folks struggling to turn things around, so we took care to try everything both ways. Trying to stitch with our off hands showed just how frustrating it can be to be left out of the instructions, so if we missed anything, let us know and we’ll update it for you.

Hand embroidered patch on pair of jeans, with rainbow worked in bright colors and various stitches surrounded by a rainbow starburst of running stitch worked from the patch into the denim

Using the stitches learned to make a striking patch

If you love to find out all about a subject or have never picked up a needle before, we’ve also made up a companion pdf that goes into different types of embroidery supplies and materials as well as methods to mark fabric, start threads, and keep the back of your work as neat and tidy as the front. Sections on different types of embroidery tools go into hard-to-find details like what size (and what kind) of needle works best for different techniques and threads, thimbles from the common closed-cap sort found in sewing boxes to ones made of leather, silicone, paper, and more, as well as the differences between types of embroidery hoops and frames.

The section on materials is especially useful for those looking to embroider on finished goods like jeans or t-shirts or with more exotic threads than stranded floss. It goes into what these materials are and how they affect embroidery, from knits distorting in the hoop to tracing troubles with denim or felt, and types of embroidery thread from floss to wool to ribbons and more.

When we really dove into the Beyond the Basics, we quickly learned it would be nearly as large as the pattern if it was to be useful.  We split it off to go into more detail rather than have one very bulky pdf filled with things only a few would need for this project. At 42 pages (and another 40+ images) it stands as a resource on its own for embroiderers of all skill levels.

You can purchase this Beyond the Basics pdf on its own here – and we’ve also added it as an option to the Rainbow Tutorial, so you can save a few dollars if you purchase them together. These are digital files only – no physical goods will be shipped. However, we have been thinking this could make a good kit; use the Message Us button at bottom right or leave a comment and let us know if you’d rather buy a kit than a pattern. If we get enough interest, we’ll put a kit together!


Finished rainbow sampler tutorial piece framed in hoop with scissors and thread alongside. Rainbow worked in series of stitches and pdf download stamp in corner.

Make this pretty hoop just as it is or make it your own!

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