The Swatch of the Month for June combines a number of embroidery techniques into a single design. This stencil, appropriately titled June’s Spring, combines both basic techniques, like backstitch embroidery and appliqué, with more elaborate treatments, like beading and Feather stitch embroidery. The combination of these elements on one swatch results in a lush, rich looking textile.

Detailed instructions for completing the June’s Spring fabric treatment and a fabric map illustration can be found on pages 118-119 of Alabama Studio Sewing + Design. This particular swatch allows you quite a bit of creative freedom, since you decide what elements to embellish and to what degree they will be decorated. We recommend that you make a plan (like the fabric map shown in the book) ahead of time for how you will decorate each element. But, you might think it is more fun to improvise and make decisions as you create. Either approach will undoubtedly result in a beautiful completed swatch.


After transferring your design onto the fabric using the June’s Spring stencil, the basic first step is to review the stenciled design and identify all of the stenciled circles. You should then “outline” all of the circles using a backstitch, stitching directly on the stenciled edge. Select some of the circles on your swatch to reverse appliqué. Decide which circles to appliqué, and then cut matching appliqué pieces using the provided swatch or fabric scraps. Appliqué the circles to your swatch base using a whipstitch. You will also appliqué the flower petal shapes into place. Use the photo for reference whenever necessary.

Backstitch one of the tree shapes and add random half-beading (see page 73) with sequins (see page 76). Use a single strand of Button Craft thread when applying beads and sequins, since a double thread is more likely to tangle. Secure each thread with at least two double knots.

Choose another tree shape, backstitch around the middle, and add a Feather stitch (see page 26) to each branch with embroidery floss. Continue adding random half-beading around the tree shapes, inside your reverse appliquéd circles, around your appliqué circles, and anywhere else you desire.

10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for top layer
10” x 16” cotton jersey fabric swatch for backing layer
Fabric scraps for appliqué
June’s Spring stencil
Textile paint
Spray bottle or airbrush gun, depending on stencil-transfer method
Selection of sequins, bugle beads, and chop beads
Button craft thread
Embroidery floss
Basic sewing supplies: pins, needles, embroidery scissors

Fabric – 100% organic medium-weight cotton jersey
Top layer fabric color – Black
Backing layer fabric color – Navy
Appliqué fabric color – Navy
Stencil – June’s Spring
Treatments – Appliqué, reverse appliqué, embroidery, beading, sequins
Button Craft thread – Navy #13
Embroidery floss – Black
Bead type – Black chop beads and bugle beads
Sequins – Black

Those of you who have been participating each month have completed swatches using reverse appliquéoutside reverse appliquébeaded embroidery, appliqué, and beaded ruffle stripe. Follow our Journal posts each month for illustrations of these and other techniques and ideas for projects using your completed swatches, like DIY book coversDIY swatch pillows, or the DIY Clutch.

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2 comments on “SWATCH OF THE MONTH: JUNE 2014

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  1. Karen Klein

    Thank you for posting this in-depth explanation of June’s Spring. I purchased this very stencil while at your Factory workshop after seeing the breathtaking finished fabric swatches and garments that were made using this stencil. I really wasn’t sure where to begin though until now. Thanks for the clarity.