Su Embroidery

My first time attempting to do Su embroidery!

Brief History

Su embroidery is one of the many styles of Chinese embroidery. It originated in the city of Suzhou over 2,000 years ago.

Fine silk threads are the threads mostly used to create elegant Su embroidery. However, threads such as cotton, nylons, and gold are also used.

Traditionally, Su embroidery consisted mainly of nature scenes such as birds and flowers. However, over time, the themes evolved in order to suit the tastes of the different dynasties. For instance, in the period between the Tang and Qing dynasty, birds like ducks, peacocks, and mythical Phoenix were popular themes. Also, due to artistic influences from the West, many Su embroidery of “impressionist paintings and lifelike portraits were created.


Due to the many possible themes in Su embroidery, it was difficult for me to decide which theme to embroider. Finally, I decided to go with the floral theme. The particular flower that I chose for my embroidery is the peony. I chose to embroider a peony because it is a flower which has great importance in China. For centuries, The peony has been highly praised for its color, shape, and fragrance. Also, peonies are a popular theme in embroidery because they symbolize the richness of life.


-Medium size Wood hoop and a Regular needle.

-Due to the expensiveness of silk threads, I decided to use cotton threads for my embroidery. I wanted my peony to be purple because it is my favorite color. My embroider focuses on only 2 colors which is purple and green because I want it to look very simple, effortless, and classy. Therefore, I bought different shades of purple threads as well as shades of green for the stems and leaves. The tones of colors would show the delicate shapes of the flower.

I decided on a Crepe-back satin fabric to embroider on. I picked a light lavender fabric so that my purple peony can really stand out. I chose this fabric because it is very silky, soft, and elegant.

The stitches that I used were the Satin stitch for the petals, stems, and leaves. As for the seeds, I used French knot stitches for the seeds

It took me so long to embroider just one small flower. The stitchings did get annoying and tiring because I’m just doing the same stitches over and over again. However, the outcome makes the whole process all worth it. I am happy of the finished product because the embroidery is neat, uniform, and elegant. Though, I do feel that there are elements that I need to improve on, It is nonetheless a great example of Su embroidery. I am proud of myself. This whole process has made me admire Chinese embroidery even more than I did before. Also, I have great respect and admiration for those Chinese artists who actually do Embroidery for a living. It is a difficult job which takes time and patience. More importantly, it takes unbelievable skill that one cannot acquire in a short amount of time. Artists literally have spend their whole lives practicing this skill in order to perfect it.

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