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!


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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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Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 9

On the whole, I’m not too keen on assembling any embroidery that I have made. After all that work, it could go horribly wrong, so I tend to put it off!I’ve got to the point now where I am sewing the two sides of my bride’s bag together, and attaching them to the purse frame.

This shows the two sides of the bag. I realised, as I took this picture, that it’s the last time that these two pieces of embroidery will ever be seen alongside each other (unless someone in the future takes my bag apart, that is!).

I made a second set of bag sides, and some narrow strips of fabric to bind the purse frame, all from the gold satin that I’m going to use to line the bag.

Tacking the end of one length of the binding to itself, I began wrapping the binding around the frame, so that I’d have something to slip stitch the bag to, and also to attach the lining to. Hopefully, I can successfully hide all of this when the bag is finished, as, at the moment, it doesn’t look too tidy  😦


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Embroidery in progress: An Elizabethan Stumpwork Bride’s Bag – 7

I’ve got to the stage with this project that I often do with embroidery….I’m starting to look around for what my next project will be, so there’s a risk that if I put this one down for a while, I might never pick it up again, which would be a shame, as I’ve got so far with it! So, this weekend I made sure I gave myself enough time to get a serious chunk of the embroidery done, to keep my interest up!

This little butterfly is just a ‘filler insect’ in this projet, but I’d got to the stage where I didn’t even bother to read the instructions to see how Shirley Holdaway (in her book ‘Festive Elizabethan Creations’), expected me to do it…I’d decided I wanted it to be a yellow butterfly, with bead highlights on the wings. The wings were worked in long and short stitch, using Anchor 306 deep yellow and 292 pale yellow, and the body and antennae were worked in one strand of dark green/grey (just a spare bit I had in my workbox, so I don’t know what shade it was!).

At this point, I finished off the foxglove flowers. The instructions said to take a small ball of thread ends in pink shades, and glue them high up inside the bell of each foxglove flower, to hold the tube open. I didn’t want to risk getting glue on a part of the stitching that would be visible, so I just poked the ball of thread hard up into the flower ends, and they seem to be staying put! The method certainly works to hold the curved part of the flower up, and stop it squashing flat.

I had left the beading highlights until now, in case my thread kept catching on the beads as I was stitching other areas of the bag. So, I stitched on three or four maroon seed beads to the mouth of each flower at this point, which actually made them look a lot more ‘finished’ than I’d expected. In this photo, you can see the tiny ladybird as well. There is also a ladybird on the other side of the bag, which I like better, as it has its silver wings showing on that side .

As with the first side, the last thing to add was the clusters of frosted yellow beads, in groups of three. These are stitched fairly randomly over the bag, filling any gaps that seem too ’empty’. One cluster had to be placed quite carefully, though, as I had managed to attract a speck of soot (we have an open fireplace in our living room!) which had lodged itself onto the top left hand corner of the stitching, and trying to wash it off only made the mark worse. Fortunately, three seed beads hid the mark completely. Now I keep my stitching-in-progress covered up  🙂

So, at this point, the second side of the bag looks like this.


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