Hand embroidery as stress relief


I find the dentist stressful under the best of situations, and recently had a more-stressful-than-normal visit.  I tried to help my mind go to a “happy place,” like a favorite hiking spot, but strangely enough, where it went was…lazy daisy stitches.  Yep, that’s a weird, random thing, especially for someone that doesn’t do a whole lot of hand embroidery, but as strange as it was, seeing the needle pulling thread through the fabric and forming each little flower petal in my mind was completely absorbing and I could ignore everything else. 

I came home and started a project, based on a 1930s Patsy dress, and this morning, when our school district announced a two-week closure, I sat down and focused on nothing but lazy daisies and French knots and finished it.

If you are stressed right now, maybe this will help you too. 

Go find a scrap of white/solid-color fabric in your stash and a few yards of embroidery floss and get started embroidering this collar.  Make sure to leave enough extra fabric around the design to cut out the collar later – maybe about 4″ all around measuring from the center of the biggest flower. We’ll make the rest of the dress (to fit 18” dolls) and there will be a more complete post next week!

If you need a refresher on how to do these stitches here are some links:




9 responses »

  1. Interesting post – I find I’m doing more handwork: knitting, crochet, quilting (appliqué and embroidery) for the comfort I find in the repetitive motion, and the distraction, I guess.

    Thanks as always, for sharing you’re patterns.


  2. This I see such a thoughtful thing for you to do–thank you! I was just thinking how stressful everything seems to be right now–this is a gentle reminder to me that the simplest things can reduce our stress and make pretty things!

    Mary in Kansas

  3. What a perfect post. I have been making little simple felt peep rabbits using mostly French knots and a few little flowers. It will be fun to make something different. What a lovely collar this will become. I guess it has been stress relief, and I didn’t even know it. Thanks so much.

  4. It is lovely, Jenny! I’ve been thinking often about you, lately, wondering when you next post would be, and what you were up to. I hope you are doing fine and just enjoying this time of the year where spring pushes winter away (though for us, in Quebec, it will still be a while before the snow goes away for real).

    A couple of decades ago, I really got into embroidery, and I found it very relaxing! Plus, it makes lovely pieces to enjoy! I too liked adding some to doll clothes (I am still fancying making my AG Felicity some special pockets and front plate, as they would do in the 18th century).

    This Patsy dress will be very pretty, and I can’t wait to see how it comes out!

  5. What a lovely idea! I’ve long maintained that dentists should have intricately decorated ceilings, to give you something to concentrate on while they do their work. Hope the treatment was worth it

  6. Thank you for this design Jen. I love hand embroidery on collars, cuffs, and pockets. It just makes me smile. It looks happy and dainty and old-fashioned — my favorite combination! I can’t wait to see how it will look on the collar of a doll dress! 🙂 It totally reminded me of a Patsy Ann 17.5″ doll reproduction that I had as a small child. There is just something that looks so sweet and innocent in embroidery-enhanced garments, and garments for children and dolls from the Depression era. We look back and think it was a simpler time. But like what we are dealing with right now across the world with this Coronavirus, the underlining problems in society isolated people and made them very frugal and creative to use what they had on hand and try to find the joy in making things for others to help relieve their burdens. “Use and reuse,” what we now call “recycling” was the order of the day. Scraps of fabric and leftover tiny pieces of embroidery floss or even thread could elevate something so basic to a fresh, bright, new garment. So many good lessons to learn from history are there for us to rediscover. It is a lovely thought to relax, make something sweet and simple for a child to bring them joy in a time of stress and confusion. Your gift to us is a gift to many other young people. What a joyful thought to empower us all to start creating and stop stressing on things beyond out control, taking our minds off of our own current difficulties and concerns — well, that’s priceless. And hey, maybe some of us will use this opportunity to teach these skills to children who are home from school and looking for fun and creative projects to keep them busy and happy! God bless, and thanks again.

  7. This sounds like a cool idea. Thanks for the embroidery pattern, that was a cute pattern you found it in. I may try making a collar as I have been wanting to do that for a while now.

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