Some time ago, I hinted at a surprise gift I was embroidering for a friend. Two months later, the mailman has done his job and it has finally reached its home overseas. Now I can show off the details to you all.
I made a crewelwork sweete bag, based on an extant original in the National Trust Collection (formerly British Library). The embroidery pattern came from the 16th-Century German Costuming blog. Here Amie provides some very lovely patterns, taken from 16th-c. purses and pincushions.
Sweete Bag, late 16th century (British Library c194c27).
Below I have put together some start-to-finish photos of the embroidery process. Since my yarn stash was overflowing, I worked the pattern in cotton floss and faux gold thread, instead of the period-correct crewel wool. The bag was my entry for the HSM 2017 “Go Wild” challenge as well. So I have put all the key facts into the challenge info at the end of this post.
The pattern outline. Gold vines worked in stem stitch.
And done! Next I took it out of the hoop and stretched the wet fabric over some cardboard. Then all I had to do was sew it into a little drawstring bag. For the string and tassels I used no. 8 cotton purl yarn.
My friend and I are both very, very happy about the result. It has been my first big embroidery project in a long while. And now I am itching to start another… ;)
To finish off, here are the challenge facts with all the details:
The Challenge: “HSM #12 – Go Wild!”
How does the item fit the challenge?Wild and exotic animals were often featured in embroidery designs from this period. Parrots, like the one here, were especially popular. Plus, I have really “gone wild” with the embroidery on this project. Oof! ;)
Material: A 12″ x 6″ piece of linen, a scrap of cotton percale for lining.
Patterns: 16th-century purse pattern from “Patterns of Fashion 4”.
Embroidery pattern by Amie Sparrow from here.
Year: c. 1550-1610
Notions: Various yardages of cotton embroidery floss and faux gold thread; poly-cotton thread for sewing, no. 8 purl cotton for the drawstring.
How historically accurate is it? About 80%. The crewel embroidery stitches and sewing techniques are documented for this time but many of the materials I used are modern, except for the linen.
Hours to complete: About 120 hours for the embroidery and two for the sewing.
Total cost: Most materials came from my stash. So, about €7 at this time, for some extra embroidery floss.