Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 10

I’ve been attaching the embroidery for the bride’s bag to the metal purse frame, and I’m actually pleased with how it’s turning out, now.

The instructions said to stitch a seam half inch in from the edge, using a sewing machine. But even with a zipper foot, I wasn’t convinced that that would be successful, as there is beading and couched gold thread right up to the very edge of the bag, so I backstitched the seam by hand, from the point each side where the purse frame’s hinges will come to. I did the same to the gold satin lining, too. This photo shows the back of the ‘strawberry side’ stitching. Make the most of it – I don’t usually let people see the back of my work!

I clipped the seam allowance every half inch or so, to make turning easier. In this picture, you can see that I’ve trimmed the underlining cotton fabric that I used while stitching the embroidery, right up to the stitching, to reduce bulk.

Once the bag had been turned right side out, I checked the width of the top edge against the purse frame, then turned in the top and side seam allowances, and tacked them in place.

This picture looks really complicated, but it was actually quite easy to stitch the bag to the frame. Starting at one hinge side, I slip stitched with tiny stitches up the frame, along the top and down the other side. I’d used three or four dressmaking pins to hold the bag to the wrapped binding, to make sure the bag didn’t slip out of place at I attached it, which I found was very necessary. At the beginning of the top straight edge on each half, I inserted the strap, and slip stitched from both sides of the strap to the binding and the embroidery, to make sure the strap was tightly attached, checking to make sure it was the correct length before stitching down the second end.

But doesn’t the inside of the bag need tidying up?! Can’t face doing it tonight…I’d only do it wrong if I do it when I’m tired…

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12 thoughts on “Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 10

  1. crazyqstitcher

    So beautiful Janet.
    My DD explains she is an artist not a technician when displaying the reverse side of her embroideries. ; – )

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Thank you! Yes, I think that if you’re obsessed with what the reverse is going to look like, you can’t be concentrating fully on what the front looks like! Erica Wilson (who really inspired me when I was starting to embroider, in the 1970’s), used to totally ignore the back of her work – hardly ever turning the work over to even finish off loose ends. She was completely focussed on what the front looked like, so if it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for me 🙂

      Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Yes, I thought that, too. Although I like doing dressmaking as well, when I’m embroidering, I like it all to be done by hand. Also, there’s a risk I could ruin it if the machine ‘runs away’ with itself, and tramples all over my carefully-stitched fabric!!

      Reply
  2. inlovewiththreads

    It’s looking lovely. Was it frightening to clip into the seams? It always is to me – whenever I take scissors anywhere near my stitching. The back looks fine to me. I know people who obsess over the back of their stitching, but as long as it can’t be seen through the fabric, it doesn’t matter to me.

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      Well, I’ve got some really sharp dressmaking scissors, which I only ever use for fabric, so I know they won’t ‘twist’ the fabric instead of cutting it, when it’s an important job like this, and risk cutting where I don’t want to. I did cut the V’s small at first, and then went back and cut deeper, just in case I’d overdone it the first time, but I hadn’t. The fabric is a very closely woven damask, so there’s no chance the loose threads on the back would show through onto the front, and the gold satin I’ve chosen for the lining is quite thick too, so nothing should show through on the inside, hopefully.

      Reply
  3. Rene

    Beautiful! The hand-stitched seam makes sense–I wouldn’t think you’d have as much control with a machine. The way the lines follow the shape of the bag is very attractive, and would give me cold sweats get near a machine. And hand-sewing is more authentic! 🙂

    The strap looks great, too. Beautiful as the whole thing comes together.

    Reply
  4. Karen L. King

    Absolutely gorgeous! You could use a cording foot and get very close, without ruining it. I’d have basted it first, then machine stitched. However, with all the hand work, it seems to fitting to give the bag a hand finish. I think you would want the lining to come up under the edge of the frame, so the bulk doesn’t prevent the bag from closing properly. I would put a stitch along the upper edge of the lining. It will give you something to turn it on, and creates a nicer fold.
    As for me, I have a Tallit bag to make today. It is royal blue velvet with gold embroidery. The gent has been waiting a month for me to get started!

    Reply
  5. Susan

    What beautiful work! On certain things I wouldn’t think it matters to leave the back unfinished. But for a purse I would definitely add a lining. It’s not so much for appearance sake. I would be worried that when I used it that the contents could get tangled in all of those strings and possibly mess up the embroidery. For that reason alone, I wouldn’t chance not lining it.

    Reply
    1. Janet Granger Post author

      I am going to line the bag – what I meant was, I don’t usually photograph the back of my stitching, and then post a photo of it on the internet for everyone to see 🙂

      Reply

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