Flowers for Elizabeth embroidered sweet bag: 9 – stitching the border, and the initial on the back

This is how far I’ve got with the ‘Flowers for Elizabeth’ sweet bag that I am stitching from the design in Issue 51 of Inspirations magazine. I’ve been stitching the border recently, and the initial for the reverse side of the bag.

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

The border is composed of two rows of Interlaced Chain Stitch. It’s a simple stitch to do – you stitch the Chain Stitch line first, and then take a new thread (in a different colour, in this instance), and interlace the new thread down each side of the chains, without going through the fabric, so that the chain stitch ends up looking bi-coloured. It really helps to use a tapestry needle, and not a sharp needle, when doing the interlacing!

It is important to get the direction of the lines of Chain Stitch correct, as when you interlace the sides, it highlights the direction somewhat. I started in the top left and bottom right for each colour of border line, working outwards from those two points around the bag’s edges. That is, I didn’t start in one corner and go all the way round. Does that make sense? Hope so!

Once I’d done the inner border line, I couldn’t resist adding the little sequins, rather than waiting till last. These are tiny ones – only 3mm diameter. I had to buy what seemed like millions to get hold of these at all (from Etsy.co.uk), but they are very pretty. Larger ones wouldn’t have looked as dainty. The instructions called for 2mm sequins, but I couldn’t find those anywhere.

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

The outer green border was then stitched like the inner border, so now it’s complete.

I’ve just noticed, as I’m writing this, that I missed describing the little ladybird on the small leaf in the lower left hand corner at the time that I stitched it. That was stitched after the Satin Stitch for the leaf had been done, mainly by eye as I couldn’t mark the shape on the fabric due to the Satin Stitch of the leaf itself. It’s worked in Padded Satin Stitch for the body, with the dots, legs and head in Straight Stitch.

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

In the magazine’s instructions, I felt that the next part was a bit of a cop-out. It just says to ’embroider the leaves, strawberries, flowers buds and tendrils in the same manner as the front’. What it doesn’t tell you is that you have to design it yourself! They give you a basic alphabet outline to start with, which needs enlarging, but all the flowers, buds, leaves and strawberries have to be added by you…..

It’s not so difficult for me to design something like that, as I do embroidery designing for a living, but I really think they should have bothered to design the letters, or at least design something generic as well for people who couldn’t design their own.

Anyway, here’s the letter J that I designed for mine:

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

This is only three inches high, so the embroidery has to be quite fine. The strawberries are about 3/8 inch diameter, but I still padded them with two layers of Satin Stitch padding in the same way that I had for the larger ones on the front of the bag.

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

The other elements were stitched as on the front, too.

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

I’m really pleased with how this turned out – it’s very pretty, but still readable:

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

Seen from this sideways angle, you can see how the padding really makes a difference to this piece.

Inspirations issue 51 Flowers for Elizabeth sweet bag

That’s all the embroidery done. Next up is the assembly…never my favourite part, but I want to see this finished now!

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10 thoughts on “Flowers for Elizabeth embroidered sweet bag: 9 – stitching the border, and the initial on the back”

  1. Very pretty. I had hoped to join you in this one but I am STILL working on a tablecloth I bought off Ebay. It has been a year in the making and I am on the home stretch now with only about 1/3 of the edge left to do. What will you do next? I may do this next just to take a break from monotone buttonhole stitch. I need some color in my life.

    1. I’ve made a couple of tablecloths in my time, and they are not quick projects! I’m not sure what I’ll be making next, but it’s getting to the time of year when I usually start to make a Christmas themed project, so I’ll have to have a look in my stash.

  2. It is looking lovely Janet and the addition of the border and sequins set the embroidery off beautifully. I think your initial for the reverse is just perfect, I wouldn’t have known it wasn’t part of the pattern if you hadn’t said. Really lovely and very inspiring! 😍

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