Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 38: how to assemble the thimble holder

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I’ll explain how to assemble the thimble holder that hangs from the bottom point of the heart etui. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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This is the main part of the thimble holder, which I embroidered earlier. It will have a separate lid, which is lined with a tiny embroidered circle of fabric. So, this is a rather fiddly thing to assemble!

First, cut out the embroidered piece, leaving largish seam allowances (more than 3/8 inch), as I have found that these tiny 3D pieces can use up fabric more than you think, when you come to turning them inside out, etc.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

The muslin backing fabric needs to be cut away from the top half of the embroidered piece on the back, to reduce bulk.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Fold the fabric into a tube, right sides together, and stitch carefully along the back seamline. I hand stitched mine.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Then flatten the seams out with your thumbnail, and turn the fabric to the right side. Now, I found that mine had a ‘gap’ with no embroidery. The instructions suggest that the embroidery should almost meet here, and that you only need to stitch a couple of lines and one more forget-me-not flower over the seam, to complete the pattern all the way round. I *almost* re-did the seam smaller, but if I had, the lid would not have fitted, so I think this is a mistake in the pattern. I decided to just have a gap in the embroidery, and never let people see the back!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Make a ring from template plastic, and stick it together with sticky tape.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Turn in the top edge of the fabric, and the lining, and tack the seam allowances down (separately). Do the lining with sewing thread that matches the fabric, as you won’t be able to remove this later. Slide  the plastic piece inside the tube so that the top edge of the circle aligns with the foldline.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Fold the lining in and down over the plastic ring, to make a tube with a stiffened bottom edge.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

At this point, I decided to make the cord for my thimble holder in a different way from the instructions. Their instructions say to use ONE cord, that has the thimble holder on one end and the round pinwheel on the other end, and you’d eventually join the cord to the bottom tip of the heart etui part way along it. I didn’t like the sound of that, so I made a separate cord for each ‘dangly’. The thimble holder cord is 4 inches long from the neat end to the knot, and I stitched the knot inside the thimble holder at this point in the construction, hiding the knot between the lining and the embroidered fabric (so you don’t see it when you look into the holder later!). Make sure you secure it in place between the lining and fabric, then run a gathering thread round the top edge of the thimble holder fabric, pull it up firmly and secure by going back and forth across the gap, going through the cord as well.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Lastly, thread on a bead cap, cloisonne bead, and a gold bead to the cord, then knot the cord to hold them close to the holder. Stitch through the holes in the bead cap with matching thread to hold it down onto the fabric.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

For the lid, cut out the fabric with 3/8 inch seam allowance, and run a gathering thread round the circle. Gather it up, over a plastic circle and a felt circle, for padding. Don’t overdo the padding – this is a very small piece. I found that the templates for the circles were far too large – carefully measure the diameter of the thimble holder at this point, and make your circle template whatever diameter it needs to be to fit. I had to reduce mine by 1/8 inch, which is a lot for such a small piece.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Do the same with the embroidered lid lining piece, which is a tiny circle barely 5/8 inch diameter. Slipstitch the two together, wrong sides facing, with strong sewing cotton.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Work beaded Knotted Pearl Stitch around the edge of the lid itself (not the smaller inner piece).

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Start the beaded Knotted Pearl Stitch at the back, near the centre line. When you have gone all the way round, for the last couple of stitches, work through the fabric of the holder itself as well, to create a hinge for the lid. Stitch a green crystal bead on the centre front, and work a buttonhole loop on the edge of the lid to act as a closure.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

This is it when it’s finished – about an inch and a half high, and very sweet! Carolyn Pearce’s thimble holders are always very ingenious, and a bit tricky to make, but so cute when they’re done!!!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre thimble holder

Next time I’ll assemble the pinwheel….

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The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 21: assembling the thimble holder

I’m now ready to put together the thimble holder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’.

Here are all the pieces I need, including plastic for lacing the pieces onto, and thin wadding.

Thimble 15

I hand stitched the sides of the thimble holder into a tube first of all. Carolyn suggested doing this on a sewing machine, but I couldn’t be bothered to get mine out for such a small amount of stitching! It seemed to be strong enough when hand stitched, anyway.

Thimble 16

The next bit was a little tricky. Carolyn recommends making the plastic liner into a tube, sticking wadding on it, and then inserting that into the tube of embroidered stripes. I didn’t think that would work with mine, as the measurements have to be really precise, and I was right. I used the method that I had used for the spool holder instead – I rolled the plastic up as tightly as I could and inserted it into the embroidered tube, then let it unfurl. Then I taped it to fix the size. I didn’t bother with wadding, as I felt it would make it too bulky. Even so, I needed to trim the plastic a quarter of an inch off the long side, and 3/8 of an inch off the short side, to make it fit. Once I had done that part, I laced the top and bottom edges of the striped tube together over the plastic.

Thimble 17

I laced the base over a circle of plastic, padded with thin wadding.

Thimble 18

Then I ladder stitched the base to the tube. My base didn’t quite fit *inside* the tube, as Carolyn’s did in the book, which doesn’t matter as far as it goes, but I think it will make it too tall to fit into its relevant compartment in the finished workbox.

Thimble 19

The lining was made from cream cotton. I made a small seam on the short side first.

Thimble 20

The base piece has a row of tiny back stitches worked all round the seamline first, in a circle, so that the turned back hem of the side wall can be slipstitched through the back stitches to hold them together. Sounds more complicated than it actually was to do!

Thimble 21

The lining was pushed into the thimble holder, and ladder stitched around the top edge to hold it in place.

Thimble 22

I covered a piece of thin plastic with the cream silk piece for the underside of the lid, and slipstitched that to the reverse side of the lid.

Thimble 23

Then I worked a line of knotted pearl stitch around the edge of the lid, starting at the centre back. As I almost completed the line, I incorporated the top edge of the thimble holder itself for five stitches, to attach the lid, and make a hinge.

Thimble 24

Finally, I added an 8mm cloisonne bead to the front, and worked a buttonhole stitch loop to the front edge of the lid, to hold the thimble holder closed.

Thimble 25

This is the thimble holder now it is completed – I’m pleased with how this has turned out.

Thimble 26

It’s almost a centimetre taller than the measurements Carolyn gives in her book, but it still looks nice  🙂

Thimble 27

And a thimble fits neatly inside, which is the main thing.

Thimble 28


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 20: the thimble holder’s base

I am now up to stitching the base for the thimble holder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’.

The base has a circle of split back stitches done first, to define the shape. Then satin stitch is worked inside those lines. The thread is not taken ‘the long way’ across the back each time, but only a tiny stitch is made at the edge of the circle before the next long stitch is made across the circle, to cut down on bulk.

Thimble 9

A second layer is done, outside the line of split back stitch and at right angles to the first layer this time. I used Gloriana  variegated silk for this, so I ended up with a softly shaded effect.

Thimble 10

Then I made a trellis of light green threads across the shape, first horizontally and then vertically. Once that had been done, I repeated that with Kreinik Very Fine Gold Braid, keeping the gold thread very close to the green thread I had laid down first.

Thimble 11

Then I couched down each intersection with deep lilac Anchor stranded cotton, using two strands.

Thimble 12

This shows my oval embroidery hoop by Susan Bates (my favourite brand of hoop), with the pieces I have stitched so far for this project.

Thimble 13

Finally, before I could assemble the thimble holder, I stitched this little motif on a piece of scrap silk, to use for the reverse side of the lid. This is only 3/4 of an inch diameter, in real life.

Thimble 14

Now for the tricky part….putting it together!


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Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox 19: the thimble holder’s top

This week I have been embroidering the top of the thimble holder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home: an embroidered workbox’.

The top features a little heartsease flower, and is only about an inch across. I started by stitching all the outlines with split back stitch, to define the edges. The top two petals then have one layer of satin stitch padding worked over them, inside the lines of split back stitch, before doing the top layer in long and short stitch.

Thimble 5

The two lemon yellow petals and the lower purple petal each have two layers of satin stitch padding (at right angles to each other) before the long and short stitch top layer is done, so that they are more raised than the other petals.

Thimble 6

This is the flower once the long and short stitch is finished, and a central French knot is stitched in deep gold silk (sorry it’s a bit fuzzy!).

Thimble 7

The flower is completed by the addition of highlights done in deep purple, and two fly stitches around the central French knot. Four leaves are then worked in fishbone stitch (one of them came out a bit wonky, unfortunately!)

Thimble 8


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