Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Bullion Cherries

This one is for Karen who wanted to see bullion Cherries and anyone else who is curious.:-)

Karen, you did say how big you needed the finished bullion to be so I took a guess.

For those who don't know how to make a bullion over pleats, you first start with a Milliner's needle or a Sharp needle. The reason why is the needle is a straight shaft. The eye of the needle does not bulb out on the end the way an Embroidery needle does. As a result your bullion wraps will slide off the end of the needle.

For the Bullion Cherries I am going to work over 4 pleats. I am working with 2 strands of Red (#321) DMC floss. My fabric is white Kona cotton because that is what I had already pleated.

I recommend you practice on a scrap pleated piece before working on your finished garment.

  • Bring your threaded needle up in the valley between pleats 3 and 4 (counting left to right).

  • Bring the needle through pleat 4 so your thread is to your right. This is point B.

  • Count back 4 pleats and bring your needle through all four pleats. The entry point of your needle is point A. Make sure the needle is the same depth through all four pleats. Your floss is now making a half circle from where it came out of the fabric at pleat 4 to the end of the needle.

  • With the floss on the right hand side, wrap your needle 10 times. It does not matter if you go clockwise or counter clockwise.

  • Place your thumb (I use my left) over the wraps( apply a slight pressure) and slide the needle through. If your needle does not slide through easily your wraps maybe too tight. If you slightly twist your needle this will loosen the wraps a little.

  • With your thumb still on the wraps slightly pull the floss tightening the bullion.

  • Finish the bullion by bringing the needle to the back at point A.

You should have a finished bullion.

To make the base of the Cherry you need to stack three 10 wrap bullions on top of each other.

Now to make the circle around the stacked bullions. First decide where you want the stem of the fruit to be. This will be the starting point of the bullion circle. In the picture above the starting and stopping point is at 10 O'Clock positions as a matter of taste.

  • Bring your needle up in the valley between two pleat.
  • Bring the needle through one pleat to your left. This is point B.
  • Take your threaded needle around as you have done before but this time we are only going through 1 pleat.
  • Wrap your needle 40 times. I prefer to bring my needle almost all the way though the pleat so that most of the needle is to my right.
  • Place your thumb over the wraps and gently slide the needle through your wraps.
  • With your thumb still on the wraps gently tighten the wraps a little.
  • Remove your thumb from the wraps. You should have a bullion loop.
  • Place the bullion loop around the 3 stacked bullions.
  • Place your thumb back over the bullions and gently pull the bullion up around the stacked bullion.
  • With 1 strand of matching thread, couch down the bullion ring.

Note: needle is only parked above for photography reasons. Finish your bullion circle by bring the needle to the back at point A and tie off.

Create the stem of the cherries by add bullion stems or by stacking cable rows. Add lazy daisy leaves and your done.

If you wanted to turn these bullion cherries into apples. Follow the same directions. When you couch down the bullion circle pull the bottom (6 o'clock position) up slightly.


  1. Love this! I can see using this technique on other projects as well! Learning to pleat & smock is on my list to do.....!
    Thank you Janet!

  2. Beautiful bullions Janet!! i love your instructions and pictures!!!

  3. Thank You Janet! I've been without internet service for a week since we moved. I'm still waiting for my moving truck to show up with my stuff, but I did get internet today and I was so excited to see this when I checked your blog. Now I just have to find the dress in progress when I get my stuff delivered!!