Monday, 28 January 2013

Vintage Floral Embroidery

Regular readers will know that I have a large collection of vintage embroidered linens. I have been cutting these up and using them to make things like notebook holders and cushions for a while now.
But, inevitably, I'm starting to use up all the best bits. And some of the bits are just so gorgeously stitched that I really can't bear to cut them up.
Like this table cloth below.
So I've been trying to design my own, updated versions of the embroideries, partly to preserve the techniques and partly to widen my available stash.
When I studied this exquisite embroidery above I realised that all the flowers were made up of beautifully executed and very long bullion knots.
Below is my version (of the profile, rather than the full frontal flower). Nowhere near as lovely as the original, but if you don't put them side by side it looks ok!
Here is another very pretty flower, worked mainly in stem stitch. I really like the use of black for the French knots in the centre of these flowers. It's such a striking contrast against the bright colourful shades.
Here's my version. I've used mostly back stitch and changed the design slightly but it still looks remarkably the same.
I've stitched 4 little motifs. They were quick and easy to do.
The nice thing about making my own 'vintage embroideries' is that I can make them the right size and scale for a specific project.
Here's a sneak peek at a new version of my Cathedral Window Pillow (scroll down the left hand side of the page to see the original) that I'm making for another magazine project. I've been able to design that purple daisy above to fit perfectly into the 'window'.
Apologies for my blog posts being so far apart at the moment. I am busy with so many projects, but hardly any of them are at the right stage to share.
Here's one little finish. I was teaching my Peekaboo Quilt Workshop the other day (my version of the Porthole Technique), and wanted a quick project to help demonstrate.
Two hearts together, perfect for Valentine's Day in a few weeks time. 
Before the hearts appeared in the middle of these circles, my husband christened this the 'booby pillow'! I can't really look at it any other way now!


  1. Those embroideries are so pretty!

    Your pillow is bright and so unusual.

  2. Loving those cathedral window embroideries!

  3. Yep, saw those boobies before you mentioned it!
    Love those embroideries too - very clever xxxx

  4. Love the embroideries! So sweet, and a great way to use them too. Also love the boobie pillow ;-)

  5. Beautiful stitches, so pretty.

  6. Wow - these really are a nostalgic step back in time - I love them - and the cushion is so imaginative.

  7. My grandmother taught me all those stitches when I was little. I think that if you compare your backstitch on the big flower to it, you will see that the back of your backstitch looks like the front of the flower. That is how I was taught to backstitch but I really love the way most folks are backstitching now better with the stitches touching instead of overlapping. I wonder when the change happened. Your projects are all lovely.

  8. I embroidered the hem of a pair of purple cord trousers, when I was in the Brownies, in order to get a sewing badge, and used many of these stitches. You say 'quick and easy' but these would take me hours and wouldn't be half as neat as yours!! I love the cathedral window idea - I think I remember a lovely CW cushion you made with the vintage embroideries.
    Teresa x