Today we are thrilled to have Aurifil Artisan Kathy Ross at the Auribuzz blog to share her Christmas Robin Applique Pattern. We are constantly inspired by her masterful applique and free motion embroidery combination, and were honored when she offered this free pattern to our readers! Take it away Kathy!


The myth of Santa’s Robin is really big here in Ireland. Kids are always told that Robins are Santa’s little messengers and report back to him on who is being good and who needs to pull up their socks. 

They also say that if you sprinkle bird seeds on the lawn on Christmas eve it makes the Robins red breasts glow to guide Santa’s Reindeer to your house. 

Robins also have a big significance in Ireland as many people say that a Robin in your Garden is the presence of someone you love who passed on. 

The patterns works really well either framed in a ten inch hoop and given as a gift or they can equally be worked into the center of a table runner or quilt. They can be stitched as heavily or as lightly as one likes and even work as a plain applique piece. 

Click the following links to download the template for the Robin you would like to make:
Robin Pattern 1 
Robin Pattern 2

1. Trace the motif onto either freezer paper or bondaweb and transfer onto your chosen fabrics. Remember if your using bondaweb, your applique will be a mirror image of the original pattern. There are five different fabrics used in each template fabric C is optional in each piece.

  • Fabric A is Light Brown
  • Fabric B is Orange
  • Fabric C is Grey( this can alternatively be stitched with free motion embroidery )
  • Fabric D is Snow White
  • Fabric E ( the Holly leaves) is green. 
  • You can also applique the branch in the fabric A .

2. Cut out your fused applique pieces and baste onto onto your backing fabric. Strong blues, or Icy greys work really well as a backing fabric.

3. Make sure to use a good stabilizer behind your work I use Vliesline Stitch and Tear on my pieces

4. Start you free motion stitching. Using Aurifil 50 wt stitch all of your light brown applique in place.I love 2372 for this. Start by tracing around the edge of your fabrics and as your confidence grows you can zigzag the fabric under the needle to achieve feathery textures.

5. Use the same zigzag movement to build up layers on your robins body. I used, 2145 and 2155 on the Robins red breast. 2024 and 2610 on the white of his breast. I also filled Fabric C with 2610 to add contrast between the light brown and the red breast. Keep in mind the shape of your Robin. You want him to look three dimensional so try and keep your stitching curved to add to his shape.

6. Next mark your beak and eye using an invisible ink pen and then use black to fill, leave a tiny highlight in the eye to make it look shiny. You can also use the black thread to out line the legs and to trace around your Holly leaves and berries. 

7. Fill your holly berries with red thread. 

8. Finally add some squiggles to the branch to make it look more realistic. and You’re done 🙂

Had a fab day @quilt_yarn_stitch giving this beginners free motion embroidery and applique workshop.
Bug thanks to everyone who came cant wait to see what you all make next xx

Thank you Kathy for sharing this gorgeous project and story of the Christmas Robin with us! We hope you all are inspired to try your hand at this applique and free motion embroidery technique. 

ABOUT KATHY
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kathyross_1000Kathy Ross is an Irish textile artist who works from her sunny studio in Rural County Galway.

‘My work is inspired by both the beauty of my surrounding , and local wildlife, alongside the methods and materials I use in each piece. I strive to achieve realism in an original and eye catching way. Working in textiles allows my work to come alive.

By layering needle felted Irish wool with meters upon meters of embroidered thread,each of my Animal Portraits begins to take on a life of its on, and almost jumps out of the frame. I only have to look out my studio window to find inspiration for my landscapes pieces. From needle felting the ever changing color palettes of the moody Irish skies with vivid dyed Irish sheep wool. To capturing the rugged rural Irish landmarks through distressed appliqued vintage fabrics.

‘ Working with textiles is so exciting, each evolves into something more than i was ever expecting. I adore the process of layer fabrics and fibers against each other and then panting with thread to give each piece tone and definition’

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