Kew Gardens and Ireland

Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well? As promised some time back I will be sharing with you my visit to Kew Gardens followed by a meeting with an extraordinary embroidery group in Ireland in June this year- where is the time going!!

Following my visit to Tunbridge Wells and Search Press I spent a few days in London with my daughters and visited Kew Gardens to meet with the publishing department and chat about the forthcoming book.. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is a world leading botanic gardens in UK which includes Kew Gardens in Richmond upon Thames, London and Wakehurst in Sussex. It has the largest and most diverse living plant collection in the world and houses a collection of more than 200,000 botanical paintings and illustrations. There are shops, restaurants, tea rooms, architectural treasures and galleries – so much to see and do, virtually impossible to see all in one day.

Kew Gardens

I was very excited to see it for the first time and to meet the people that I had been in contact with over the previous 18 months. Kew publishes their own books and also sub contracts other publishers like Search Press to publish books on their behalf. You can see many examples in their giftshop. If you are like me I head for the gift shop at my earliest opportunity – It gave me a little thrill to be told that my book would be included in the Kew collection and sold in the Kew giftshop in the future.

Kew gift shop

On arrival I was met by Pei Chu, Publishing and Image Licensing Assistant and shown around the Kew Herbarium, which houses approximately 7 million specimens, collected from all around the world. All I can say is Wow, I was in complete awe! I spoke to some volunteers who were busy mounting, pressed and dry specimens from the 17th century, they had to be ultra careful as these specimens were quite brittle but deftly arranged them on an archival sheet ready for preserving on file. I was told that these specimens are valuable to scientists who use them to obtain DNA for plant research in the present day.

Kew Library
Inside Herbarium

On a side note they are always looking for volunteers to conduct research, help in the library, herbarium and gardens. To quote “You could be part of a team helping to solve critical challenges like climate change, food security and biodiversity loss.”


Next we visited the Kew library where they have one of the largest collections of published botanical information in the world. Finally I was taken to the Publishing department and on the way saw botanical illustrations housed behind glass in archival temperatures that could be seen but not touched, just beautiful. Here I was introduced to Lydia White, sales and marketing manager and the staff in the publishing department. Thank you Pei and Lydia for the gift of the book and for showing me around, I loved it.

When the meeting was over I decided to take advantage of the Kew explorer land train which shuttles people around the gardens. I met a lady on the train from Sussex who was in for the day, and we had a lovely chat as the train meandered its way through the gardens pointing out the sights as we went along.

I met my family for lunch then visited the Shirley Sherwood and Marion North art gallery before hastening to the gift shop, while my husband sat outside tapping his fingers impatiently!

Shirley Sherwood Gallery
Marianne North Gallery

I was excited to see the Shirley Sherwood gallery in particular as you may remember many years back that I gained permission to use some of her botanical paintings for reproduction into embroidery including the Iris Spartan by artist Graham Rust shown here and it was great to view some of the originals.

It was a wonderful day, I highly recommend a visit to Kew Gardens if you are ever in London, and I hope to go back and see more when I am next in the UK. Next my family and I headed for Ireland where we spent some time in Dingle and then drove to Dublin. En route to Dublin we stayed in Kilkea Castle in Kerry where I had arranged to meet an embroidery group from County Leitrim.

You may remember my Blog post about these ladies that call themselves the “Sexy Sewers” from County Leitrim , Ireland? These seven ladies have met every week for many years now and inspire, teach and encourage each other to try different styles of embroidery. They drove a few hours from their home town to meet with me and I had the privilege of spending a lovely morning with such talented, special, people and seeing some of their beautiful embroideries. Thank you Rosemary and Val for arranging it, for your lovely gift and for just being you. I hope we meet again in the future, but we are always together in the same mind through our embroidery.

Till next time, wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.



How to use an iron on transfer with cotton fabric

Hello Everyone, hope your week is going well?

This week I would like to address some concerns you may have had with using an iron on transfer with cotton fabric, but firstly a bit about sublimation printing and how an iron on transfer is created.

Iron On Transfers

Iron on transfers are a life changing solution for transferring an embroidery outline to fabric – no more wobbly tracing lines now you can have a clean, clear line to stitch on and it only takes two minutes! You can find these in the online shop here.

What is Sublimation Printing?

Without getting too technical, a dye-sublimation printer is a digital printer which uses heat to transfer dye onto materials such as a plastic, card, wood, or fabric.  The printer uses special dye inks which are printed on to transfer paper and this paper is used together with a heat source to transfer the design on to fabric. Normally the sublimation dye only works on polyester fabric and to achieve a print on cotton leaves that plastic coating that you sometimes find on cotton T shirts, but the Printers and I have sort of forced it to work on cotton and linen. The initial testing process took many months of trying out different transfer papers till we found one that would work on cotton, but of course the imprint will never be as bright/dark as it would be on Poly cotton.

Dye sublimation printer for polycotton T shirts

Now for some reason it works beautifully on linen fabric, the print is dark and clear, but slightly less so on cotton. In an ideal world a heat transfer press would be used to achieve the perfect imprint, but as this is impractical for most of you, we have tested them using a domestic iron. The problem with ironing the transfer paper on top of the fabric is that the transfer tends to slip whilst ironing which results in slight bleeding or thicker lines.

Iron on transfer on linen fabric

Having played around with cotton fabric I have found a solution………….. the answer is to place the iron on transfer face up on your ironing board/mat and then place the fabric on top of the transfer.


  • The fabric holds the transfer in place, no slipping. If you find it is still slipping slightly you can secure it with heat tape to prevent it moving.
  • You can move the iron around slowly to distribute the heat evenly and cover the design, as the transfer stays in one place the lines do not bleed.
  • You can see the outline through the cotton fabric which allows you to centre the design on to the fabric.
  • As you iron you will see the ink being transferred on to the fabric so you will know when the complete outline has been transferred and you can remove it.
  • The result is a beautiful clear transfer without bleeding lines.
Transfer on cotton fabric
Embroidery Vintage Rose


  • Set your iron to the hottest, dry setting you have such as cotton/linen.
  • Iron your fabric first to heat it up before placing over your iron on transfer.
  • If necessary use parchment (baking paper) to protect your fabric and prevent scorching.
  • You should be able to get at least two good prints from your transfer and up to 5 slightly lighter prints.
  • The outline is permanent and will not wash out.
  • The lines can easily covered by your stitching.

You can watch this short video on how to use an iron on transfer on cotton and if you need to refer to it in future it can be found on my site under help and again on the iron on transfer page or download a PDF here

Try it out and let me know what you think. Till next time wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.



Blue Flora and Bee Line Embroidery

Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well? This week I would like to share with you the Blue line flora and bee line embroidery. I have been working on this for some time and only able to reveal it now. This embroidery is reproduced with kind permission from artist Rachel Pedder Smith in the UK. Rachel generously allowed me to use her beautiful piece Blue Flora and Bee line which I adapted for use in embroidery.

Blue FLora and Bee line print Rachel Pedder Smith original
Blue flora and bee line embroidery
close up details.

I loved stitching this project – there was lots of interest in each little aspect and I hope Rachel will allow me to use some of her other paintings in future – the project will be available as a pattern very soon.

Rachel is a botanical artist who trained at the Royal College of Art, London. She is best known for her ground-breaking and exquisite 18-foot Herbarium Specimen Painting, displayed at Kew Gardens. She has now introduced a collection of beautiful printed kitchen, textiles and stationery products. Rachel is a lover of all things nature, which is self evident in her beautiful paintings of plants and insects – take some time to explore her online shop they would make gorgeous unique Christmas presents!

Herbarium Specimen Painting Kew Gardens

As a side note we have sadly had to close the Etsy Shop. It came to our attention that Etsy charges VAT on all products which results in an unnecessary additional expense for the customer. The platform also proved limited as we could not upload PDF files for sale over a certain limit. All items continue to sell from the main shop Trish Burr Embroidery.

Till next time, wherever you are in the world, have a wonderful weekend, keep smiling and happy stitching.



Linen & Transfers back in stock

Hello everyone

Hope you are having a great week?

Just to let you know that the premium linen is finally back in stock. There has been a 5% price increase, sorry about that but unavoidable. As you know this is a top quality fine, linen fabric imported from Belgium – it is not easy to find this standard of embroidery linen anywhere else in the world, and those who have purchased it previously will attest to it’s gorgeousness and what an absolute joy it is to stitch on for both Needlepainting & Whitework with colour.

The linen is sturdy enough to support the weight of your embroidery without a backing fabric and can be washed and ironed repeatedly without any wear and tear.

The new iron on transfer packs are also in stock. You will find they have been compiled into large bundles of Needlepainting, Whitework with colour, Floral Alphabet and Landscapes for your convenience. So if you purchase the Needlepainting pack 1 it will contain all the iron on transfers you need for any of the Digital patterns available for instant download in the shop and the same for Whitework patterns, etc.

The landscape pack 4 includes the current Campagne, Provencal and Tuscan landscapes in both medium and large outlines as requested – so you have the choice of stitching the normal size or a larger size if you prefer. The pack also includes iron on transfers for future landscape designs, I decided to think ahead to save on shipping costs. Each transfer can be used approx 5 times or more so once you have purchased a pack you should be all set for any future designs you purchase.

Campagne landscape digital pattern

I plan to start work on the Scottish Loch landscape very soon and there is also a new Whitework with Colour project in the pipeline for those of you who are fans of this style of embroidery so keep watching this space! Till next time wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.



Etsy Shop

Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well. I have been very busy working on commissions for magazines and books and also preparing some proposals for an overseas convention in 2021. I hope to be able to share more with you very soon so watch this spot!

As soon as time allows I will also share with you part two of my overseas trip to Kew Gardens and Ireland, meantime I am pleased to announce that the Etsy sister shop is now open.

We have re-opened the old shop as a courtesy to those of you who feel familiar with Etsy or who didn’t know it had closed 2 years ago and have emailed asking where it has gone!! The shop will be selling digital patterns for instant download only – unfortunately there is a limit to file size on Etsy so not all the patterns are available but you will find 95% of them there. So you can now shop for digital patterns on either Etsy or you can shop for digital patterns, materials and books at the Main shop as usual.

On a happy personal note my 17 year old daughter, Katie passed her IGCSE exams – we got the results yesterday and I couldn’t be more thrilled! Katie is my youngest and arrived some 11 years after my other two daughters, so it has been 32 years of school runs, homework and exams…………. all I can say is I am so proud of her YAY !!

My daughers Stacey, Tessa and Katie

Meantime, wherever you are in the world keep smiling and happy stitching.



Antique Linen

Hello everyone

Today I wanted to dye some white linen to give it an antique look for a specific project, and thought you may find it helpful to see the process and the results. I prefer coffee over tea for this as it creates a beautiful soft antique shade, see for yourself here is the method:

I used the premium linen fabric available in my online shop but it would work with any white linen or cotton.

  1. Wash fabric.

2. Half fill a large pot with water and bring to the boil.

3. Add approx 4 tablespoons of pure coffee granules. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes till the coffee has dissolved. Allow to cool slightly so it is not boiling hot.

4. Immerse fabric in coffee solution. Leave to soak for about 30 minutes for a light – medium shade, 15 minutes for pale and about 1 hour for darker. I left it for 30 minutes.

5. Remove fabric from solution and rinse thoroughly in clean water till the water runs clear – lay on a clean fluffy towel. Roll up to remove excess water and allow to dry.

6. Iron with a hot steam iron to remove creases.

Process complete you now have a gorgeous shade of antique linen!

Antique & White linen

Till next time wherever you are in the world, keep smiling and happy stitching.



Search Press Publishers

Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well? Overseas trips always provide me with new inspiration – it is good to get away and see what is happening in the rest of the world and come back refreshed and brimming with new ideas. As there is too much to share in one sitting I will spread this out over a few blog posts, this week I will be chatting about my visit to Search Press book publishers.

Royal Tunbridge Wells UK

On Friday 14th June my daughter Stacey and I made our way to Search Press which is located just outside of Royal Tunbridge Wells a historical town in Kent, England. We had spent the last 2 days in a lovely country Inn and had the opportunity to explore some of the beautiful countryside around Tunbridge Wells.

Scotney Castle

We spent a day at Scotney Castle – a 14th century moated castle and country manor within a wooded country estate and I was in my element, it was so quintessentially English and the gardens and flowers were just out of this world! The beauty of these gardens, the numerous wildflowers, wildlife and insects that they attract were a huge inspiration to me and I plan to introduce these into future designs, so watch this spot!

Gardens of Scotney Castle

As mentioned previously, two years ago I signed a contract with Search Press for future book titles, and have just completed my first commission with them for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. The book will be released mid 2020. Search Press is the leading art and craft publisher in the UK , with offices in USA and Australia. They have won awards for the Best Craft Book Publisher  in the prestigious Craft Business Awards, the craft industry’s highest accolade for a book publisher eight times since the awards began in 2006.

“With a team of nearly 40 people, many of them long-term employees, Search Press now publishes up to 100 of its own titles each year, as well as distributing books for other publishers. From the commissioning of an original idea to the final delivery of books into the warehouse, the publishing process is carried out ‘in-house’. A few books are bought in from other sources and labelled with the Search Press ‘stamp’, but they are always checked by Search Press before they are printed, so that they fit in with their style and publishing philosophy. “

Search Press Warehouse

This was my first visit to Search Press and we were warmly welcomed by Becky Robbins my editor and Mary Ellingham the publicity manager who showed us around the warehouse and offices. Having worked with Becky on the new book for several months it was great to put a face to the person behind the emails and phone calls and to see behind the scenes.

Darren Nicholls – Warehouse Operative
Michael Graham – Warehouse Manager
Andy Cole – Warehouse Operative

The warehouse where the books are delivered and stored was impressive! Rows and rows of books labelled and bar coded for easy access were laid out in an orderly fashion. The staff were busy taking delivery of shipments and moving boxes on haulage trolleys, packing and unpacking boxes of books, and preparing online orders for shipping.

Photo studio
Mary Ellingham, Publicity manager & myself discussing previous books

Marrianne Miall – Design Manager
View of open plan office

I was surprised to see how many people were employed at Search Press, and the work environment seemed happy and relaxed in an open plan office format. My editor mentioned that working together like this could prove useful as if you needed something from another department you could just shout instead of picking up the phone ! There is a little garden outside with benches where the staff can have their tea/lunch and a dog lay quietly behind his mistresses’ desk whilst she worked.

Olivia McCarthy – Rights & Digital Executive
Juliet Morrison – Marketing Executive & Harvey
Chloe Cooper – Marketing Executive
Inger Arthur – Production Manager (on the right) & Olivia McCarthy – Rights & Digital Executive (on the left)
Juan Hayward – Head of Design

I found I could identify with each department from Customer services, to print layout, graphic design, sales, editors,digital , and so much more. Whereas they have approx 3-4 staff members in each department I similarly tackle each job alone for my online business (on a smaller scale of course). I seem to remember asking a few of them if they wanted to work for me in Cape Town!!

Becky Robbins Senior Editor
May Corfield – Editor
Smiling & helpful customer Service Department

Thank you Mary and Becky for showing us around, it was such a memorable visit and a great pleasure to meet you all. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we can’t wait to see a copy of the new book!

Till next time wherever you are in the world, keep smiling, and happy stitching.