Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 11

I didn’t take any ‘ in progress’ photos while I was actually stitching the lining into my bride’s bag, as I found that if I let go of it for even a second, it all slid about and went wrong! Not the easiest of stages to complete, but I’m pleased with how it’s come out, and it covers the messy back of the embroidery, and all of the binding, really well.

I attached the lining in the same way that I had with the embroidered side – using a few dressmaking pins to hold the lining onto the binding, and then slip stitching the lining in place. The instructions said to cover the binding completely, so that I was really slip stitching the lining to the embroidered fabric, rather than the binding. But it makes for a very neat finish, even if it did take ages!

So….here it is, finally completed!

I’d like to thank Shirley Holdaway for designing such a lovely project. If you’d like to make one, the design is in the book ‘Festive Elizabethan Creations’, published by Georgeson Publications Ltd, of New Zealand, although it’s available in the UK at the moment (was out of print a while back, but not now).

I have been very inspired by doing this project. Partly due to the supportive comments I’ve had on this blog, and elsewhere, I’m going to start designing my own range of surface embroidery/stumpwork embroidery kits, to run alongside the miniature needlepoint kits that I already sell. See my website for details – I’ll have a newsletter sign-up form on there soon, so that as soon as some kits are ready, you’ll be the first to know!


Dollhouse Needlepoint newsletter sign-up invitation



13 thoughts on “Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 11”

  1. What a precious little bag it turned out to be! Really lovely. Despite its Elizabethan origins, it is not at all out of place in the modern context: any bride would carry it with pride and pleasure. I might even get married just to be able to have a big party and carry the bag. 🙂 Well done! I look forward to seeing the kits.

    1. Thank you! Apparently, Shirley Holdaway’s daughter used the one she stitched, and a Juliet cap to match, when she got married – that must have been lovely to see the embroidery actually being ‘used’. So much of our embroidery just goes straight in a cupboard and never gets seen properly.

  2. Indeed. Now decades into the compulsive production of knitting, lace, and embroidery, I have cupboards and drawers full of weeks and months of work that never see the light of day. (One Shetland lace shawl, in particular, took the better part of a year, and has never even been blocked and photographed) The pieces that bring me daily joy, are the ones that have been framed, or otherwise incorporated into household use. I now think about that when selecting a project (unless it is just an exercise to learn a new stitch or technique). It is very important that the things we make be used and enjoyed. They don’t have to last forever: the next generation can make more.

    1. I’ve got a china cabinet with glass doors, that’s almost full now with the ‘smalls’ that I’ve made over the years. I’ve been stitching since I was four, so I have quite a lot of things, now…! But I have, in the past, spent a year or more on one project, and lost interest before it’s blocked and finished, too. I just get tempted by the next thing. I hope that the next generation can make more – but I do feel that they have to be taught to make things that are worthwhile, and not just ‘quick and easy’ things that they won’t treasure after a short while.

  3. Incredibly beautiful stumpwork stitching. Lovely Lovely Lovely. Thanks for sharing the progress of this beauty. Hugs Judy

  4. Agreed. For me as well: it is the process, not the product, that keeps me stitching. I think that the quality issue is going to take care of itself – thanks to the internet and the generous sharing of techniques, tips, and videos by skilled craftspeople such as yourself. The bride’s bag is a good example. Forty years ago, Festive Elizabethan creations might never have transcended the role of pretty book for the coffee table. Now, a relatively inexperienced stitcher might look at the bag project and say: “Janet made that!” and, remembering the photo essay of your progress and working notes, might just give it a whirl. So, my feeling is that the general quality of stitching produced is improving and will continue to improve as neophytes in the medium realize that every big project is simply a sequence of steps and stitches.

    That said, there may be fewer artisanal stitchers in the next generation because of the perpetual distractions afforded by technology. (I realized that I was on a slippery slope myself, the day that I pulled up one of my blogs to look at a piece of stitching that was in a drawer in the next room! Not healthy.)

    Enjoy your bride’s bag! I think perhaps a trip to a concert or the theater is warranted, to show it off.

    1. Yes, I love finding other people’s blogs and websites where they show what they’ve been making – whether they are selling it or not. Just to see what people are making *now* is inspiring.

      Sad to say, I’ve looked things up on my own website when the finished stitching is in a box in the next room. Glad I’m not the only one doing it 🙂

  5. The end result is absolutely stunning. Truly beautiful, down to the details. (The strap is lovely, the gold satin is perfect, and the seams are so STRAIGHT! 🙂 ) I’ll have to see if the book is available in the US. I love knowing that the original bag actually got used as a wedding bag.

    And I’m delighted to hear that you’ve got some stumpwork/ surface embroidery designs in the works. I look forward to seeing them.

    1. I’ve got some lovely threads on order, to start designing with, and some sketches made, ready to start stitching up some models as soon as I get back from holiday next week…. the new designs will be on sale as soon as I can manage it!

    1. I’m not sure that I’ll actually ‘use’ it for anything – I’ll probably just display it in my china cabinet, with the other ‘smalls’ that I’ve made.

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