Search This Blog

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Blackwork Commission

Apologies for being dreadful at updating my blog recently, have been uber busy with stitching! So, back in May I received a blackwork commission for the fabulous couple who run 4 & 20 Blackbirds, who are a group that demonstrate authentic historical cookery, and I have to say there food is absolutely delicious!! Here's a link to their facebook which I recommend that you check out - . I was commissioned to make two sets of blackwork collars and cuffs for them to wear with their posh Tudor outfits. We spent a while deciding on patterns and in the end we settled on this one from the Blackwork Archives - I modified the pattern slightly, left out the crosses and the extra bit on the top of the pattern, as I thought this would make them a bit to wide for their purpose. A work in progress shot -
The thread of this linen was incredibly fine, which made counting it rather difficult and time consuming. In order to get a straight and uniform look with my blackwork, I always count the thread of the linen as I find this gives me the most precise results. It is embroidered with silk thread from the Silk Mill - The finished cuffs -
There is over 60 inches of blackwork in total, which worked out as to nearly 120 hours worth of stitching - I think. Sort of lost count after I reached the 100 hours mark!!! The completed set was handed over at the end of October, and I am now very much looking forward to seeing the blackwork in use on their costume :D :D And here is the finished set -

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Articles and Adverts

A few weeks back my friends at Black Knight Historical - asked if I would like to put an article in a souvenir brochure for one of their upcoming events, Norfolk Living History Fayre. I wrote the article on the Katherine Howard blackwork cuffs I had made.

Page 1 -

Page 2 -

[Layout was made by Kindra Jones @ Black Knight Historical]

As well as the article I also had a small advert in the magazine -

And finally, I had a small photobook of all my historical embroidery made up to go to markets where my embroidery is being sold -

Exciting times :)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Cloak Modification.

A friend of mine asked me a few weeks back if I would be able to modify his cloak for him. He wanted some rabbit fur attaching to the shoulders. I had never worked with rabbit fur before so thought it would make an interesting challenge.

I got my friend to put on the cloak then draped the fur over the shoulders and pined it into place. We did not want to cut he pelts so in order for the fur to lie flat it was folded over slightly at the neckline. Then the stitching began. I started working along the neckline, stitching from the front to back seam, and the down the back. After this was done the cloak was tried on again and fur re-pinned. Most of the pelts were actually very easy to sew, the fur was incredibly soft and it was easy to push the needle through the under side. So that no stitching could be seen on the fur, it attached by stitching entirely through the leather-y underside of the fur.

The only area I experienced any difficulty was with stitching down the last bit of the right side. The pelt here was incredibly tough, and ended up in me bringing in reinforcements to help pull the needle through the fabric with a pair of pliers!!

Was quite a fun change to embroidery :)

Saturday, 1 October 2011

More Disney Stitchery

So, I am *very* annoyed that I couldn't get to London this weekend to see Rapunzel get officially recognized as a Disney Princess. Really wanted to watch the parade :D :D Instead, I spent my morning sorting through loads of pictures and found all my Disney related crafts!! I've been really busy with loads of commissions and the likes recently so thought I should finally get around to updated the blog!!

I've been working at the Disney store for over a year now and since I've been there a few good friends have left for other jobs. The other girl who started at the same time as I did is leaving this week, which I was actually pretty sad about!! So I wanted to make her a goodbye card. I know she loves Belle and Beauty and the Beast and I found this colouring page of her online. I traced the pattern onto some cotton fabric then stitched around it with two strands of thread using back stitch. There's a bit a of satin stitch on her eyes and lips as well. I crayon tinted certain parts for a bit more colour, and then added some ribbon roses to her bouquet :)

This was another leaving card I made a colleague. I found a silhouette picture of Mickey Mouse and turned it into a cross stitch pattern KG Stitch. Stitched on 14 count white aida and mounted on some red paper before being stuck onto the card.

I made this Minnie card when my manager moved stores. I found the design online and stitched it onto 14 count aida also. I added some beads, as well as a ribbon bow.

As well as the card I also made her a framed piece. I found images of the Disney logo and Mickey Mouse and turned them into cross stitch patterns by using KG Stitch. I love this program - so easy to use!! I them put both the images together to create this -

And the last bit of Disney stitching I found was this Nightmare Before Christmas keyring I made. My friend loves Jack Skellington so for her birthday I made her this keyring out of felt :)

I'm sure there will be many more Disney themed stitchings on here :D :D

Thanks for reading, V x

Monday, 22 August 2011

Hoop Extravaganza!!!

Soooo, I've been totally obsessing about hoop art recently and managed to purchase a large selection of hoops on ebay. I quickly started planning out what I wanted to do with them all.

I had a pretty bad day the other, one of those days where everything that could go wrong, went dramatically wrong. I decided that instead of being miserable I would stitch out the negativity in a bid to improve my mood!! Worked out pretty well to be honest lol :P Here is what I came up with:

Summed up my mood pretty well, and was a good way of using up loads of bits of left over thread that I had lying around. For the text I used the font generator on this website -

I've been wanting to stitch up something Emperor's New Groove related for a while now. I absolutely love this film. Most definitely one of my all time favourite Disney creations. Kuzco and Yzma totally crack me up throughout the entire film. Too funny. Anyways, I found some Emperor's New Groove colouring pages online, and thought that this one would make a good embroidery pattern.

I love him!!! Stitched up one of my favourite quotes from the film, using the colours of the text on the film cover.

Next I decided to add some Pagan themed hoops to my growing hoopla collection. I found a Goddess pattern I liked on Urban Threads ( and stitched up using split stitch for the outline, and backstitch for the swirls in the centre. I then added a bit of crayon tinting around the edge of the hoop for more colour.

To go with the Goddess hoop I made a Green Man one. This pattern is from Aimee Ray's awesome awesome Doodle Stitching Motifs book (, which I am totally in love with at the moment. Done in two strands of different coloured green thread. Used some crayon tinting here too.

Thanks for looking, V x

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Under the Sea.

So, I have wanted to make a mermaid/ocean themed bit of stitching for quite a while now and had never quite found any patterns I liked before. I stumbled across Sublime Stitching - and the mermaid pattern they had and loved it!!

I decided that I didn't want it to be just a mermaid though, and started thinking up a total under water scene. I recently discovered Aimee Ray's ( wonderful Doodle Stitching books. I absolutely love the Motif Collection book, so many fabulous little designs!! All the other sea creatures and waves are images from that book.

So after I traced all those motifs onto the fabric (which was the remains of an old bed sheet that was cut up to make costume patterns) I added some freehand bits of seaweed. Then the stitching began!! Most is just back stitch using two strands of thread, with some satin stitch also. Wanted to try and improve some of my embroidery techniques and this was the perfect oppurtunity to practise my satin stitch. Naturally, working for Disney, the mermaid took on the colours of Ariel, and then the whole thing started to go down a Little Mermaid theme. Well why not?! Ariel is a pretty awesome Disney Princess after all!! So I added my interpretation of Flounder and Sebastian, and no Little Mermaid themed stitchery would be complete without a dinglehopper!!

After the stitching was complete I thought it lacked a bit of colour so decided to crayon tint certain parts to make it a bit brighter. I covered Ariel's tail in sequins and added some to the waves to add a bit of sparkle to the whole thing. I then framed it in the hoop, after wrapping some blue ribbon around it as the hoop was a boring pale pinkish colour. I've been admiring the many amazing hoops on Craftster ( for a while now and thought this would make a good addition to the start of my own hoopla wall. Here be the finished article -

Can't wait for it to go up on the wall now!! Nice to work with lots of colour for a change :D :D Thanks for reading, V x

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Lady GaGa inspired hoop!

So, I am totally in love with Lady GaGa at the moment. I find I have the new album on pretty much constant repeat. Yesterday, after watching far too many youtube videos of her on TV shows I decided some GaGa stitchery had to be made! It was watching this vid that I got the inspiration - (Totally awesome video of GaGa on the Paul O'Grady show :) )

Aaaaanyway, her live performance of Hair is just fantastic on that clip so wanted to use lyrics from it on the hoop. "I just wanna be myself and I want you to know, I am my hair." I didn't have quite the right shade of turquoise felt in my stash so decided on using white for her hair. Stitched a square of blueish felt onto the black, then stitched the white hair and sunglasses on top.

I stitched some metallic silver thread to the shads to add a bit of blingyness. Then started on trying to make the hair look more like hair. I tried to make sure that the fringe was quite defined then added random lines wherever a felt to make it more hair like. Made a bow out of some left over white ribbon and stitched that on top :)

I then freehand stitched the song lyrics around the edge as I went along, and added some sequins for a bit of sparkle.

The excess material at the back was then trimmed down, and the remainder was stitched tightly together to pull the front of the hoop tight. It only took a few hours to complete :) i'm quite pleased with how it turned out. On quickly becoming addicted to hoopla craftiness after all the amazing ones on Craftster -

Thanks for reading, V x

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Regency Reticule & Other Graduation Gifts

My lovely friend recently graduated from her History degree with a first, which was totally awesome!! In order to say a big congratulations I wanted to make her some gifts :)

I asked her if there was something she wanted for any of her historical costumes, and we decided on a regency reticule. The bag is made from silk and lined with linen, and all the embroidery has also been done using silk thread.

I traced the design lightly onto the silk with pencil, and have used 2 strands of thread for all the stitching. The design was one I found here -

The border is mostly done in backstitch, with some satin stitch for the centre of of the flower.

I then backstitched around the outline for the "K" and filled in the letter with satin stitch.

I bought a blue silk tassel and stitched that into the bottom lining of the bag,and then threaded blue silk ribbon through the top for the wrist straps. It's a big bigger than some reticules I have seen as I wanted it to be big enough for my friend to hide her phone in at events. Damn smart phones and their large screens :P

As well as making the reticule I wanted to make her something that actually celebrated her degree. I started looking at graduation samplers online but found nothing that I really liked, so I decided to combine aspects from several I had seen and came up with this -

I drew out the pattern I wanted on graph paper. It has a graduation cap and certificate with a bow. I stitched a "1st" into the certificate and then stitched up the details of her degree in the University's colours. Popped a border around the outside, which I made up as I went along and then popped it in a frame.

She also needed a card -

This was another pattern which I put together using a few designs. Stitched on the cap and certificate and then tinted them with wax crayon. I foolishly stitched the grey border in before doing the writing!! I wanted to write "congratulations" in the top but got fed up of trying to make the letters fit in, so in the end went for "YAAAY". Much more fun :P Cut a hole of a card and stuck the piece down, with some sticker peel on's to make it a bit more interesting.

And here they are all together -

Thanks for reading, V x

Monday, 18 July 2011

Roses, Roses, Roses!

About a week and a half before a Tudor event I did in June I was asked if I would be able to make 8 Tudor Roses for use on a Yeoman of the Guard Tudor Livery jacket. There were 4 jackets, and a rose was required to adorn the front and the back of the livery. It was decided the make the roses out of wool, and applique all the sections onto a piece of linen. I think the most time consuming section was actually cutting out all of the pieces needed - 8 linen squares, 8 red roses, 8 white roses, 40 green leaves and 8 gold centres!! I spent most of that day surrounded by an ever growing pile of material.

After all the cutting out I set to work pinning down all the pieces so that I could get sewing! All the sections are stithced down using two strands of thread.

The centre of the leaves are embroidered with some silk thread from the Silk Mill, and extra detail has been added to the petals of the white rose. In the centre of the flower gold thread has been couched down. Here's a pic of the finished rose.

And a shot of the finished article on Adam's Livery jacket at the Blickling Hall event.

(The livery jacket was made by Prior Attire and is not my work. You can find Prior Attire here - )

All in all it was a bit of a mental time trying to get these finished in the time I had!! After getting the phone call I had work for several days. I tried to find some suitable fabric in Bath, but the so called fabric shops there are pretty rubbish for decent quality material, and the prices are often ridiculously expensive for the quality you are getting! In the end material was sent out to be from off cuts of the livery. This arrived 5 days before we set off for the event. During this time I was moving house, repairing my costume, and on a mission to make as much blackwork as possible for the event. Pretty much the whole journey in the van to the event was spent sewing them and frantically trying to get them finished in time. 4 were totally finished by the Saturday morning, and the 2 more finished by the Sunday. I then thankfully, had another week and a half to finish the last two. Mental times!! If I'd had more time I would of fancied them up a bit more, but oh wells :)

Vicki x

A Busy Year So Far!

OK, so I have just set myself the challenge of working out how much I have already made so far this year! Since finishing Uni in 2009, I've been stitching pretty much every day, and seem to have been stitching non stop so far this year!! Here's why:

- Engagement Cross Stitch Card
- Snape Phone Case
- Portal Phone Case
- Cross Stitch Motorbike Cushion
- Embroiderd Jane Seymour partlet
- Baby Cross Stitch Card
- Baby Birth Sampler
- Silver Wedding Anniversary Cross Stitch Sampler
- Felt Android Card
- Kathryn Howard Cuffs
- Crayon Tinted Buddha
- Lace Effect Blackwork Cuffs
- Hairdressing Cross Stitch Sampler
- Winnie Pooh Card
- Cross Stitch Birthday Cake Card
- Cat Wedding Present Cross Stitch
- 8 Embroidered Tudor Roses
- Henry VIII Goldwork Garter
- Mrs Pemberton Blackwork Cuffs
- Artichoke Blackwork Collar
- 2 x Portal Hoops
- Quatrefoil Collar and Partlet
- Embroidered Shift
- Tudor Overgown
- Blackwork Coif
- Bess Of Hardwick Redwork Collar
- Jane Seymour Blackwork Cuffs
- Regency Reticule
- Graduation Card & Present
- Blackwork Tudor Rose Needlebook

How I love Picasa for saving all the dates of my pictures!!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Cuffs for Kathryn Howard

Before Christmas last year I was asked to by a close friend to make some cuffs for part of her new Kathryn Howard outfit. We spent quite a lot of time researching patterns for this project, as we were keen to get the period of the blackwork as accurate as possible. After much discussion we decided to combine blackwork used in two different portraits. The first being a portrait of Jane Seymour by Holbein -

From this portrait we used the blackwork band from around the edge of the cuff. I managed to find a better quality close up version of the cuffs, which enabled be to see the pattern in more detail, and re-draw it. After several tries at getting the size if the pattern correct I found one that worked well.

The second portrait is one believed to be of Kathryn Howard herself -

From this portrait we used the thin vertical bands that radiate in towards the wrist. The only versions of this painting I could find were all very low quality so I was unable to exactly copy the pattern used, and therefore decided to base mine on one found in the Janet Arnold: Patterns for Fashion 4 book. I drew the whole thing up on graph paper, and then set to stitching.

It's stitched on linen, with black silk embroidery thread from the Silk Mill. After getting started on the design there was much discussion on how long these cuffs should be. We eventually decided to make them just over double the length of the wrist measurement. I have a feeling they were around 18" long, but the paper this was written has evaporated into the sea of packed boxes whilst moving.

I was working on these on and off for several months, but when I had the time to focus on just them, the cuffs came along quite quickly. Here's some pics of the finished design -

And a close up -

Overall I am really happy with how the combination of the two patterns turned out. After finishing the embroidery I gave the lengths of embroidered material to my friend who was going to make them look more cuff like. The material was pleated into a cuff band and neatened up around the edge. The first time I saw the finished article was at the event at Blickling, and it was great to see them in use as part of such a beautiful costume.

(Gown was made by Prior Attire -
(Rings on show were made by Gemmeus -

Thanks for reading, Vicki x

A Dabble into Redwork

For a bit of a change I decided to start on a redwork pattern for demonstration at the Blickling Hall event. I have recently been reading a book on Bess of Hardwick, who is an amazing women, with a fascinating story. The front cover of this book is a a fabulous portrait of her wearing a garment totally embroidered in a fabulous redwork design.

Whilst researching her online I found that someone had already drawn this pattern out, and therefore I most definitely had to make it. As I knew I wanted to work on this at the event I started to stitch the pattern onto material on my frame a week or so before. In the end it only took about an hour to stitch the first segment using the pattern.

This pattern proved to be quite popular at the event, and as I'd done lots of reading on Bess of Hardwick was a really good talking point to be able to explain where the pattern had come from and the history behind it. In fact, I spent more time talking to members of the public than actually sewing, and was great to see so many people interested in the craft.

After the event I took the material off the frame. I do find the frame quite difficult to work, and find that it doesnot keep the material anywhere near as tight as I would like. This may be something to do with by bodged up attempt at getting it to stay on the frame though ...

Once into my trusty little hoop I was well away with the pattern, and it was finished within about 3 days. It's all stitched on linen, using one strand of red silk embroidery thread from the Silk Mill. This pattern was great fun to do, and I am hoping to use it on a new Elizabethan coif for myself :D

Here's some pictures -

The Blickling Hall event was great fun. Was amazing to see Henry VIII, all his six wives and a little Prince Edward all in one place at such a fabulous setting. I managed to get one shot of my costume at the event -

Thanks for reading,
Vicki x

Guisborough & New Tudor Kit


I was invited to an Elizabethan event by the fantastic Black Knight Historical ( which meant that a whole new Tudor kit was needed. With much help from my ever patient Mum, we made a grey over gown, that was trimmed with fur at the bottom. In hind sight, making said over gown out of very thick wool was a bit of a warm experience shall we say!! My favourite part about making this new kit though, was actually getting to make some blackwork items for myself and getting to wear them :D!!! Before now all the blackwork I had been producing had been as commissions for other people, so I always had to wave goodbye to the pretty embroidery. Until now!! I was working on the embroidery for the best part of 2 weeks:

Coif - 3.5 days
Partlet - 5 days
Shift - 2 days

Overgown - 1 week!!

The coif was a total pain, mainly due to a mistake in the measurements, meaning that initially it was too small for my head. A lot of unpicking later, restarted with the right measurements and all went well. The coif is based on one I found online (I forget where) and just totally fell in love with. Some of the flower patterns in the diamonds are taken from the Warwick Shirt. ( I used a pattern from the Tudor Tailor for the coif. ( The coif also has some pearls sewn into the small diamonds, to make it look that bit posher.

The partlet has all be handsewn. I found the pattern for the collar on the Blackwork Archives. This website really is amazing and has some great patterns on it :) (
The collar was actually pretty easy to do, and the pattern seemed to appear really quickly. For the detailing down the front of the partlet I used the line running through the middle of the flowers to tie it all together. The same pattern is used across the front of the shift, and around the cuffs.

All the blackwork was done using silk from The Silk Mill. I have to say this thread is a joy to work with! (

I really enjoyed making the whole kit, as well as having great fun at the event, where I was doing blackwork displays. It was lovely to finally get to wear some of my own embroidery at last :) Here's a shot from the day of the event, in full kit with my embroidery frame working on the second cuff for my next commission!

There are more detailed shots of everything in this blog over in the gallery section of my website - :)

Vicki x