The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework · Vintage Sewing

Embroider a Baby Bib

Illustration of two white baby bibs on a blue and yellow background. Each is decorated with flower embroidery. Image dates from 1940s-50s.
Baby bib designs for embroidery

Bibs keep babies tidy. They go in and out of fashion, but a stack of baby bibs was a must-have to any vintage household with a baby in it. Some were for utilitarian use, and they got thrown into the laundry hamper after one messy meal. Others were designed for decoration, and matched or complemented the baby’s wardrobe. You can embroider a baby bib that falls in between these extremes. Make one to match a special outfit. Or create a couple special warm weather bibs for that baby in your life.

Lots of vintage bib patterns exist, because the bib became a staple of the layette. While looking through a stack of old patterns, I came across these two that I just had to share. They’re from an undated layette pattern set, probably from the 1940s or at the latest, early 1950s. I thought they were darling and I wanted to pass them along in case anyone could use them.

To Embroider the Baby Bibs

These patterns measure about 8 1/8 to 8 1/4 inches from side to side, and 8 to 8 1/4 inches from back to belly. They should print well on US size letter paper.

To embroider the bibs:

  • Two 10 x 10 inch pieces of white or pastel fabric, light to medium weight like quilting cotton, batiste, or muslin. You can also use 1/4 yard of any of the fabrics.
  • 1 yard of bias tape to coordinate or match your base fabric. This will edge the neck and form the ties.
  • Embroidery floss in your choice of colors.
  • Embroidery hoop to hold your fabric taut.
  • Sharp embroidery needle – not a cross stitch tapestry needle. This one needs to have a sharp point to go through the fabric.

Use these stitches:

  • French knots or satin stitch for the dots.
  • Satin stitch or lazy daisy stitch for the flowers.
  • Outline or stem stitch for the lines.
  • Buttonhole stitch for the edges.
  • Rambler Rose stitch for the roses. (See below for illustration).
Illustrat8ion for completing a Rambler Rose stitch in embroidery.
This is a rose stitch.

Colors You Will Need

Really, you can use any colors you want. Traditionally these were embroidered in light, wispy, pastel colors. But as you can see from the first picture, the original artist colored them with bright reds, yellows, and blues. Is this because it matched their pattern envelope brand colors? We will never know.

The pattern itself does suggest some colors:

  • Work entirely in one color. This is great for a more formal bib, or one where you want it to match a particular outfit without question.
  • Flowers: pink or blue, or any pastel color on white. Or white on any pastel fabric color.
  • Centers: light yellow or white.
  • Leaves and stems: light green.
  • Ribbons and dots: pink, white, or blue, depending on colors used for flowers. You can match them or contrast.

If you need ideas for embroidery stitches, or instructions on how to do the stitches suggested, I created a whole set of blog posts with vintage embroidery lessons. It’s called Lessons In Embroidery.

Creating the Bibs

Here are the steps to putting one of these bibs together.

  1. Print out the design you want to use. The original bib measures about 8 x 8 inches or 8 1/4 by 8 1/4 inches. Either is fine. I printed the image at 45% to 46% to match the size.
  2. Transfer the design to your fabric. You can trace it, use fabric carbon paper, prick the lines with pins and rub powder over them, whatever you like.
  3. Embroider the main design.
  4. Use a buttonhole stitch to go around the scalloped outside edge of the bib. This finishes it off.
  5. Cut out the bib carefully. Be sure not to catch your buttonhole stitches. Cut along the cutting line at the neck. You’ll have about a 3/8 inch seam line.
  6. Fold your bias tape in half. Attach the middle point to the middle front of the bib neckline and pin it around. Sew the bias tape onto the bib, either by hand or machine. Fold it over and hem the tape to the back of the bib. Sew the long edges of the bias tape straps together so they don’t unfold. You can sew the ends of the tape, or not. It’s cut on the bias. It won’t unravel.

The Patterns

Here are the patterns you will need to create the bibs.

Photo of a bib pattern for download.
Baby bib number 1 with a sweet bow and bunches of flowers.

And here is the second design.

Photo of a bib pattern to download.
Baby bib number 2, with roses and scrolls.

The thin line around the outside of the bib shows where to place the buttonhole edging.

Where to Go from Here

If you enjoyed this project, you might also like some of the projects in Lessons in Embroidery. Here’s Lesson 2, all about various straight line stitches. This is the information that hooked me on vintage embroidery stitches, many years ago. Check it out. Lessons in Embroidery: Outline Stitches

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Lazy Daisy Stitch Projects

Today I have two small Lazy Daisy stitch projects for you. These are suitable for a small frame. Or they would look wonderful decorating one end of two scarves, at the top or pocket of an apron, or even embellishing the back of a jacket. Do you need a small decorated pillow? They would rock that as well. If you need a stitch review, you can find it in Part 1 and Part 2.

Flowers in flowerpot

You can see the first project above. This design measures about 5.5 inches square. You can print out the image above at about 90% of its full size. Or simply sketch it from the picture inside a 5.5 inch box. This design is 100 years old and somebody drew it freehand to begin with. Who’s going to know if your dimensions are a tiny bit off?

Once you get the design transferred to your fabric, you will need to grab your colors. The original was embroidered in fine embroidery yarns like 1 or two strands of tapestry yarn. (It comes with four strands together.) You could use one strand of pearl cotton or four strands of embroidery floss instead.

Colors you will need

You will need:

  • pale jade green for leaves
  • orchid
  • old rose
  • heliotrope
  • yellow
  • delft blue

How to embroider the flowers and flowerpot

  • Begin with the leaves in tree stitch. Start at the tip. Use the green.
  • Use chain stitch for the stems. Also in green.
  • The tendrils use the green in back stitch. (This is the curly line coming off the stem.)

The large flower is worked in chain stitch from the outside in. Starting with the outer row:

  • The outer row is lazy daisy stitch in orchid.
  • Work the row inside that with lazy daisy stitches in old rose.
  • Complete a row of chain stitch in the rose.
  • Inside the chain stitch, a row of lazy daisy stitches in heliotrope. The tips of the daisies will go into the chain of the previous row.
  • Make the center in a yellow tree stitch. Start at one end and work to the other.

The circular flowers

Circular flower 1

Complete the two circular flowers by making eight long lazy daisy stitches. For the lower flower, make the daisy stitches in orchid. Then with rose, weave over and under the stitch arms like you see in the illustration above. Complete the flower with a yellow center of tiny lazy daisy stitches or French knots.

Circular flower 2A

For the upper flower, make the spokes in heliotrope and complete the flower in the same color. Instead of weaving over and under, this time you will loop around and around the two threads that make each lazy daisy stitch as you see above.

Circular flower 2B

After the first row or two you will loop around each individual thread of the daisy stitch, as above. This makes a nice, tightly woven flower. Make the weaving as large or as small as you like. Again, make a yellow center.

The bowl

The upper edge of the bowl is in separated lazy daisy stitches. They march in a line across the rim. Keep the loops a bit loose so that the line of stitches and their spaces appear even. This row is in delft blue. Then:

  • Hanging from the top border of the bowl, seven woven drops dangle.
  • Work a row of back stitch in rose just above the blue chain stitch.
  • Also use back stitch for the two lines coming down from the sides of the bowl, but work these in blue.
  • Use jade in regular chain stitch for the sides of the bowl.
  • Also use jade for the bottom of bowl, but work closely-spaced separated chain stitches.
  • Above this line, work four points in tree stitch, as you see in the illustration below.
Use four different colors for this tree stitch.

Use four different shades of thread or yarn for these stitches. The first, or inner, stitch is yellow. Follow that with heliotrope, then orchid, and finally rose for the largest outside stitch.

Circular Medallion

Circular medallion, six inches in diameter

I liked this design a lot. For some reason this one really appealed to me, and I’ll try to find something to embroider it onto.

This would be a great decoration for a vintage style handbag or small pillow. It measures six inches in diameter.

The colors

To work the second of the lazy daisy stitch projects you will need one or two strands of tapestry yarn, pearl cotton, or four strands of embroidery floss. The original instructions even suggested four-fold Germantown, which was worsted knitting wool. The worker would then separate the four strands and use one at a time. The color list:

  • medium dull blue, like DMC 793
  • dark dull blue, like DMC 792524
  • light/medium blue green, like DMC 518
  • dark blue green, like DMC 3760
  • gray-green, like DMC 524
  • heliotrope, like DMC 33
  • flame, like DMC 347 or any red/red-orange that you like

Usually I don’t match DMC colors to vintage patterns, but the suggestions for this particular design were very vague. It suggested two shades of dull blue. What in the world is that? I had to consult a DMC color chart so I could figure it out for myself. While I was there, I decided to jot down the numbers that I found. If you have a selection of threads in this color range that you think works better, by all means use them.

The flower

Detail of flower center

This illustration shows how the flower center is worked.

  • The very center horizontal satin stitches are in flame/red/red-orange.
  • To the right and left of the flame stitch, work tree stitch. Begin at the center and work out to the edges. Use the lighter blue-green thread.
  • Surround the oval with back stitch in heliotrope.
  • The first lazy daisy row, closest to the flower center, is in dark blue.
  • Use gray to complete a second row of daisy stitches, about half the size, at the ends of the first daisy row.
  • Extending from the flower center, work the large petals in light blue tree stitch.
  • Connect the petals close to their tips with buttonhole stitch done in heliotrope.

The rest of the embroidery

Here’s how to complete the embroidery.

  • Work the central flower stem in dark blue-green tree stitch.
  • The two leaves closest to the flower are the lighter blue-green. Use tree stitch for this as well.
  • Work the small tendrils (curly lines) coming from the top two leaves in lighter blue-green, using back stitch.
  • The large dark tendrils coming from the base of the flower stem are back stitched in dark blue-green.
  • All other leaves and tendrils are in gray-green.

Next Lesson

And this concludes Lazy Daisy Stitch Projects. The next embroidery lesson series focuses on appliqué. If you enjoy the look of Twenties and Thirties appliqué quilts and needlework, you won’t want to miss it.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Lazy Daisy Stitches Part 2

Illustration of two needles making a flower with lazy daisy stitch variations. The top section looks like a flying saucer and the bottom section, the petals, look like raindrops falling from the flat saucer portion.
Variations of lazy daisy stitch creates a vintage project

In this second installment of Lazy Daisy Stitches, I give you several more variations of the stitch. If you missed the first part, you can find it here. It includes the original stitch, and the introduction to Lessons in Embroidery for Beginners: Lesson Five. You’ll also find several variations that you will need for the upcoming projects.

The original article discussing lazy daisy stitches covered a page and a half of very small type on a large-format magazine page. With eleven examples and much discussion to go with them, it posed much too long for any modern web page. However, taken at one time, it did provide a nice month’s amusement for the needleworker who wanted to master and expand the lazy daisy stitches and variations.

The first time we discussed the actual lazy daisy stitch, leaf sprays, a dedicated leaf stitch, and single spaced daisy stitches. This time you will learn four more variations. However, I don’t know that one of them really counts as a lazy daisy stitch. The original author Ethelyn Guppy thought so, though. We rely on her expertise in 1928.

Covered Open Daisy Stitch

A needle and thread embroiders a zigzag pattern by forming buttonhole stitches over a stationary thread tacked down in a V shape.
Open lazy daisy stitches, or fly stitches, make a zig zag.

I’m not sure what else you would call this. No description appears in the text.

To make this stitch you first complete a row of open lazy-daisy stitches, often called the fly stitch. They are made like the second and successive rows of the leaf stitch. You come out at the left top edge of the stitch and take the needle back into the fabric at the right top edge. The needle goes underneath and catches the loop at the bottom of the stitch, in the middle.

Once your first row is complete, go back over the arms of the stitch with a buttonhole stitch. This can be the same color as the foundation, or a different color. Your call.

Hebedo Stitch

Buttonhole stitches made in groups of two.
Not a lazy daisy stitch.

This is actually a form of a buttonhole stitch. It is not in any way a lazy daisy stitch. However, one of the projects originally featured in this lesson was a hand towel. The article suggested this stitch as a decorative hem. So how do you make it?

If you know how to make a buttonhole stitch from Lesson Four, you can make this easily. Normally you would come up from the bottom of the fabric and lift the top thread as you go back down. The needle passes under the thread top to bottom. Right?

This time, you come out of the fabric from the bottom. You reach behind the top thread and send the needle underneath, back to front. This creates a little twist or loop at the top of the fold. Then you bring the needle from the front and take it back down behind.

In the example above, the stitches are completed in groups of two. This adds strength the the edge as well as a decorative element. Two threads, in this case, are better than one.

Points in Tree Stitch

Three sets of embroidered Tree Stitch, a variation of the lazy daisy stitch.

This is made just like the leaf or tree stitch described in Part 1 of the Lazy Daisy series. Instead of beginning with closed lazy daisy stitches, however, you start with open ones.

Woven Drops

Illustration of woven drop stitch: long narrow lazy daisy stitches that the thread is woven back and forth through the bars. They look somewhat like long pine cones. A set of three: a loop in process, a long finished drop, and a shorter finished drop.

First make a long, narrow lazy daisy stitch. Then bring the thread back up just under the tip and weave back and forth back towards the starting point. These make nice accent pieces.

Next time

The next embroidery installment will be Part 3, two small projects for the lazy daisy stitch. Stay tuned!

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Embroidering Lazy Daisy Stitches

Stylized Twenties flower in embroidery. A dark stem and eight mirror-image leaves lead to an open flower head. Curlicues in running stitch form a background for the flower.
Make this with variations of the lazy daisy stitch and some running stitches.

Welcome to Lesson Five of Embroidery for Beginners. This installment of the vintage embroidery series focuses on embroidering lazy daisy stitches. Although we may know how to make the stitch, it has lots of variations that you might enjoy using. In fact, this one lesson offers eleven different stitches, plus several project options. Because of this, Lesson Five appears in three articles rather than the usual two. We have a lot of material to cover.

First, if you haven’t done the lazy daisy stitch, you’ve surely seen it in embroidery. It’s that loopy stitch used to make flowers. Sometimes it appears as open leaves below a flower.

The stitch actually had several names. Early on it was called the bird’s eye stitch because workers thought it resembled the eye of a bird. Perhaps they found the stitch useful for making simple eyes for the birds that appeared on so many embroideries at the turn of the century, 1890-1910. It got its common name, lazy daisy stitch, from the way it resembled the daisy petal and its perfect use in representing the flower on fabric. In the Twenties it became known as the loop stitch although you can see that didn’t stick, although it was accurate.

Actually, the lazy daisy stitch is a single chain stitch. We covered the chain stitch in Lesson Two. Even in the Twenties the lazy daisy stitch was maligned. Many designers considered it “too easy” and thus omitted it from pieces. This is unfortunate, because the lazy daisy stitch adds so much to the mountainside and cottage flower gardens which were so popular at the time.

The point of this lesson was to show that yes, the lazy daisy stitch provides the easiest way to make a daisy. However, its use extends far beyond the simple daisy into some intricate-looking needlework.

The daisy stitch

Illustration showing how to make a lazy daisy stitch in embroidery.
Making the lazy daisy stitch

Here you see the needle making a daisy-style flower. Begin without placing a knot at the end of the thread, as usual. Make two or three tiny running stitches along a line that will be covered by the thread to hold the strands in place.

Bring the needle, with all the working thread, up from below at the base of the petal. Put it down again in nearly the same place, perhaps a couple threads to the right or left. At the same time, hold the thread on the surface under your left thumb as though you were making a buttonhole stitch. Bring the needle out at the tip of the petal, over the thread strand or strands. Draw up the thread gently and evenly to form the petal, and then put the needle through the fabric just outside the loop. This forms a tiny stitch to hold the loop in place.

Bring the needle up at the base of the next petal and repeat.

For large petals, use a rather heavy thread. If you use stranded embroidery floss, use enough strands in the needle to give each petal a full look.

Leaf spray in lazy daisy stitch

Embroidered leaf spray. A line of straight stitches that forms a gentle arc. This is the stem. Four loops on each side of the stem made in lazy daisy stitch, with one loop at the end of the stem. Text: Lazy daisy stitches used as leaves.

Here is a leaf spray made in the same stitch, with a stem made in back stitch. First create the back stitch stem, and then place the leaves onto it. Work the lazy daisy stitches as you come to them, back and forth under the stem, finishing with the loop at the end.

Tree or Leaf Stitch

This variation of the lazy daisy stitch makes beautiful leaves. You begin at the top point of the leaf.

Make a lazy daisy stitch to start, bringing the needle out at the top left of the first stitch and back down at the top right. Then to secure the loop, bring the needle out just a bit to the left of the first stitches, and put it in a bit to the right. As you see, this will make the center holding stitches slant just a little.

For your second stitch bring it out a bit below and to the left of the fist stitch, and back in a little to the right and below the first daisy. Your holding stitch should appear under the first one, also slightly slanted. Continue in this way until the leaf is completed.

Separated lazy daisy stitches

Single line of lazy daisy stitches. The needle has made one, is finishing the second, and has dipped under the fabric and back up again to begin the third. Illustration from 1928.
A line of daisy stitches, all in a row

Sometimes when you are embroidering lazy daisy stitches, you want a different effect. Here the stitches march in a line, creating a loose border. The stitches are made exactly the same as a regular daisy stitch. But instead of returning to the center for the next loop, the needle continues in a straight line.

Next time

Next time I’ll introduce three more variations. In Part 3 we’ll put it all together with a six-inch round medallion and a five and a half inch flowerpot that would make a beautiful scarf decoration. Both are made almost entirely with lazy daisy stitches and variations.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

A Gift of Handkerchiefs

When you think of gifts for friends, you probably don’t think Gee, I could give them a handkerchief! Or maybe you do. I know that every morning I tuck a clean hankie into my pocket before I start my day. They are so handy for a variety of things: wiping a smudge off your computer monitor or cell phone shield; cleaning fingertips after a salty snack; protecting a cracker or two in your pocket as you head toward the sofa with a hot cuppa. And yes, during allergy season they come in handy for their intended use. But a gift of handkerchiefs?

Nothing can be a more pleasing gift at Christmas or at any other “remembering time” than a pretty handkerchief – or more than one.

Needlecraft Magazine, October 1921

Actually, special hankies appeared as part of the annual gift selections throughout the Twenties and Thirties. They were used through the 1960s and beyond by many. If you find yourself in an antique mall, at least one vendor sells vintage handkerchiefs. They appear with hand embroidery, with lace edgings, or both. And many of them were hand made.

What you need to make handkerchiefs

You don’t need much to make a handkerchief for a friend. A square of soft 100% cotton like batiste will do. Or you can use Irish linen or cotton lawn if you want to get fancy. You can crochet, knit, or tat a lace edging for it, or not. Some of the nicest ones I see in the periodicals have beautiful embroidery but no real edging to speak of. Others, in the edging instruction manuals, offer gorgeous edgings but no embroidery.

Cut your fabric into a square. Anything from 10 x 10 inches to 12 x 12 inches will do. One yard of 36 – 42-inch wide fabric will give you 9 handkerchiefs. A quarter of an inch both ways will be used by hems, 1/8 inch per edge in a rolled hem.

If you like you can hem the square by hand, using a rolled hem. This is, frankly, the nicest way to do it, but it takes the most time. Here’s a YouTube video on how to sew a rolled hem by hand. Once you get the hang of it, it can be a relaxing time.

If the square design has one or more colored stripes or geometric figures in the fabric in addition to embroidery, you will want to add the stripes of color before finishing the rolled hem.

Embroidery Designs 1 and 2

The wreath

The first two designs appear together. The top handkerchief is made of white lawn, a light, sheer cotton. The wreath that appears in the corner is about an inch in diameter. Place the largest rose facing the corner, with three roses going up each side from there. The buds at the top of the wreath are French knots. Use green embroidery thread for the leaves. Roses can be satin stitched in a shade of pink, including dark rose, with a darker color center.

The lines on the first handkerchief are made by pulling two threads from the fabric and replacing them with a thread of dark rose embroidery floss. Thread one strand of embroidery floss on a fine needle and weave in and out over the threads from one side of the fabric to the other. Follow the thin line made from the pulled threads. The original cloth had three lines on each side, dividing the handkerchief into sixteen equal squares. Do this before hamming the fabric. You can use one line on each side of the embroidered corner and it will look splendid.

If your fabric looks like the threads are too close together to pull well, simply take a strand of embroidery floss and create a running stitch from one side of the fabric to the other.

When you finish your embroidery and the rolled hem, work a cross stitch border around the square, over the hem. Use the dark rose floss, two strands.

The garland

The bottom handkerchief uses the top embroidery pattern below. Embroider the three roses in shades of pink. The medium circles in the middle are blue forget-me-nots. At each end you can use pink to create rosebuds with French knots. Use green for the leaves and stems.

Now, about the squares. The handkerchief will look good without them, but if you want to include them, this is how to do it. Inside the 1/8-inch border set aside for your rolled hem, draw two 1-inch lines that sit 1 inch from the corner. You’ll have a one inch square that sits inside the hem allowance.

Now measure down from the point you just drew, on the left arm of the square, 3/8 inch. Draw a line 3/8 inch into the square, and then 2 1/4 inches to the left. That gives you the long line.

Starting at the end of the line you just made, go up 3/4 inch. Turn, and go 3/8 inch back toward the corner, and then turn again. Go down towards the hem 1 3/8 inch.

You’re almost finished. Now return to the long line you made, and measure 3/8 inch towards the corner. Go up 3/8 inch and then over 3/4 inch. You have just completed one half the corner with three stacked blocks. Repeat for the other side. All the squares are 3/8 inch.

Once you have all this drawn in you can embroider it with running stitch, back stitch, or you can attempt to withdraw threads and replace them with the blue you use for the forget-me-nots.

Finish the rolled hem, and using 1 strand of blue, cross stitch through the rolled hem.

Here are the embroidery patterns for Handkerchiefs 1 and 2:

Embroidery design 3

These two designs are perfect for your Twenties costume party. The top corner that appears in the illustration is nothing more than the wreath above, with a small circle of black fabric appliquéd to the handkerchief and then the wreath is embroidered over the join. Embroider the roses in pinks, blues, or whatever shade harmonizes well with your background fabric (in the photo the fabric was terra cotta colored) and the black circle.

The second example here is Very Twenties. One might even say Perfectly Twenties. The fabric is white.

Two and a quarter inches from the corner, draw a stem line 1 1/4 inches long. Leave 1/2 inch space, and draw the second stem line 1 5/8 inches. Leave another 1/2 inch space, and draw the third line 1 1/4 inches long again.

You can pull threads from the fabric for the stem and weave in embroidery floss, or you can use an embroidery stitch like backstitch, running stitch, etc. to create the stem.

The stems are dark blue. The centers of the flowers are brown. Make the centers with French knots or short, straight stitches going in a variety of directions (sometimes called seed stitch). The outside of the flowers are made with bullion stitch. The first and third flowers use orange bullion stitch, and the middle flower’s bullion stitches are in yellow.

Use the same blue as the stems for the sepals, those little petals at the base of the flower heads. The rolled hem is covered in dark blue cross stitch.

Refresh yourself

If you need an embroidery refresher, my series of vintage embroidery lessons start here.

History · The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Vintage Embroidery Threads: A Thread for Every Use

Various embroidery threads arranged on a table. Colors include red, pink green, and several shades of blue.
Left to right: DMC six strand embroidery floss; Anchor six strand embroidery floss; DMC coton a broder; YLI pure silk embroidery floss on top, DMC pearl cotton size 8 on bottom; vintage Wonder Art Perlene pearl cotton.

When I opened my grandmother-in-law’s stash of threads, I was amazed. Colors and types of vintage embroidery threads spilled out of the bags and boxes, left over from seventy years of embroidery. The vintage workbasket held more possibilities than you find in today’s 400 skeins of DMC floss, and Grandmother’s was no exception. In the early to mid twentieth century, needleworker had several companies from which to choose. Need six-strand embroidery floss? You could use DMC, or Bucilla, or Royal Society. What if you didn’t want to use six strand cotton embroidery floss? What then?

Half a black and white catalog page from the 1930s. Various types of embroidery and crochet threads are described with prices.
Early 1930s Frederick Herrschner catalog advertising various embroidery, crochet, and tatting threads.

Then you chose from many different thread types and a host of manufacturers. Silk embroidery floss. Imitation art silk floss, made from rayon. Pearl (perl) cotton. Wool three-strand embroidery yarns. Coton a broder, also known as broder cotton. This was a single strand of thread, available in several sizes and many colors up to about 2010. Size 16 was equivalent to two strands of embroidery floss.

Art embroidery

A bevy of bluebirds decorate household linens from 1915. Table runner, whisk broom holder, laundry bag, pillow cover, and more all feature  embroidered bluebirds.
Bluebirds in art embroidery

Embroidery used to be called Art Needlework when it was created for beauty’s sake. The person who made the family clothing always used a sewing needle. But when that needle worker used colored silks or cottons, and used the needle like a paintbrush, the work turned into art. Bluebirds sailed across household linens. Pine trees stood lonely and alone on hillsides. Flowers bloomed on everything from under linens to table runners. The vintage embroidery threads brought them to life.

Once needleworkers began to work with colors in embroidery they seldom looked back. You can see that by the current selection of modern cross stitch patterns.

The companies that released the threads also created patterns to work with them. After all, what good is a brilliant blue thread if you have nothing do use it for? Readers purchased patterns through the newspaper and monthly housekeeping or needlework magazines. They also found projects and threads from their friendly Frederick Herrschner mail order catalog, or through a flyer from their local dime store. By the 1930s it seemed that everyone was into the pattern or project by mail scheme, and needleworkers bought kits and supplies in droves.

Getting ready to begin

If the design didn’t come already stamped on fabric, the worker needed to transfer it. Then came thread selection time. Unless you planned to reproduce a lifelike flower in embroidery silks, or you worked from a prepackaged kit, colors remained up to the worker. Usually a pattern offered suggestions like brown, light blue, or dark pink. Which shades you pulled and how you incorporated the colors together was your choice. Between four or five cotton embroidery thread companies you might have ten or more shades of dark pink. This gave the worker a lot of leeway in color choice.

Often the project featured whatever threads I have on hand. An avid needleworker might have a small box of silk threads, a larger bag of cottons (or several bags of cottons), and some pearl cotton. These could be mixed into a work to create contrast, texture, and shine.

Bye bye threads

A red hank of embroidery thread, a green spool of thread, a red spool of thread, and a green hank of embroidery thread clustered together on a table.
Coton a Broder vs. Sulky Cotton Petites

Most of these vintage embroidery threads exist no longer. Some, like Corticelli and Richardson silks, are simply gone. Corticelli silks and Richardson silk mills both ceased operation in 1932. By this time companies like Bucilla introduced their synthetic art silk, often made from rayon. These threads didn’t really feel like silk, but they were shiny and inexpensive for embroidering. They too are gone, although Bucilla remains as a subsidiary of Plaid Enterprises, and embroidery kits continue to appear under the Bucilla name.

As I mentioned before, most of the coton a broder threads were discontinued in the 2010’s, at least in the U.S. It looks like this thread (also called broder special or brilliant cutwork and embroidery thread) is still being produced in limited colors by both DMC and Anchor. However, getting any of this to the U.S. can be a difficult matter. You may have to special order it from Europe if you want some. This is NOT the same as the thread called Floche. Floche is far more expensive and not as sturdy.

Good news

All is not dreary news, however. Some threads, like cotton embroidery floss and pearl cotton, still exist. You can find substitutes for many others, even though you may not find them at your local craft store. You might need to poke around a bit on the Internet to find them.

Here are some options:

  • Six strand embroidery floss: DMC, Anchor, Sullivan’s, Madeira.
  • Coton a broder/ broder special: You may be able to locate white, ecru, black in the U.S. As a substitute look at Sulky Petites, size 12. It’s thinner than the size 16 coton a broder, but it will give you the same experience of one strand that equals two strands of embroidery floss.
  • Pearl cotton: still exists. Look for DMC. Some chains have house brands in limited colors.
  • Silks: Shiny silks in the U.S. have largely been replaced by threads like DMC’s shiny satin, which is 100% rayon. For a traditional embroidery silk from France, look for Au Ver a Soie’s Alger thread.
  • Silks: Although they are not all shiny, companies have produced 100% silk embroidery threads within the past 20 years or so. Some options: Treenway Silks, Caron Waterlilies (silk variegated), Kreinik Silk Mori, Rainbow Gallery’s Splendor.
  • Stranded wools: Appleton wools have existed since 1835 in the UK and they still provide wool yarns to the needlepoint market. These work wonderfully for embroidery. Once I came across some instructions from the 1850s calling for “5 shades of apple green wool.” Who makes five shades of apple green? Appleton wools does. Their leaf green selections fit my project perfectly.

Be creative… have fun!

Regardless what threads you use, I hope you enjoy the process. Picking out various threads, choosing or drawing a pattern, beginning a project… these are exciting times. Incorporate one or two of these old-time threads into your next project, and see how you like it. You never know. You may be hooked.

Vintage Needlework

Buttonhole Stitch Embroidery

1920s photo of an embroidered pillow. A pine tree stands on a hill while the sun sets. Text: The Lonesome Pine Pillow.
This vintage pillow is embroidered completely with buttonhole stitch variations.

If you’ve never explored buttonhole stitch embroidery, you are in for a treat. Use this one stitch movement in many different ways for various effects. This is Lesson Four in the Beginning Embroidery Lessons series from 1927-28. If this is your introduction to the series, after reading this you may want to start at the beginning with Lesson One.

Buttonhole stitch

Although we know this stitch as the Buttonhole Stitch, it isn’t the stitch we use to actually work buttonholes. Very close, but not the same. This stitch — which you are probably familiar with if you’ve done any embroidery at all — is worked left to right, with the finished edge closest to you. You hold the loop still with your left thumb while passing the needle over it, and pulling it tight you get a nice little purl along the edge.

Illustration of buttonhole stitch in embroidery

Made very close together and firm, this stitch serves well as a finished edge, with the rest of the fabric cut away (Hardanger embroidery and linen embroidery both use this technique). This way the finished edge doesn’t fray.

When you work the regular buttonhole over a turned hem, the stitches can be further apart. They still need to be even and regular.

Long and short buttonhole

Illustration of long and short buttonhole stitch in embroidery

Make this variation by alternating long stitches with short ones. If you like, you can change it further by taking two or three stepped stitches up to a long stitch and then two or three steps down. This creates more of a pyramid shape, and it goes in and out of popularity.

Blanket stitch

Illustration of blanket stitch in embroidery

This version of the buttonhole stitch got its name from its use for thick fabrics like blankets. Too thick to hem normally, the blanket stitch held everything in place.

For this stitch, make regularly spaced buttonholes whose length is about the same as the space between them. One variation of this stitch is shown below. Complete the blanket stitch first, and then insert back stitches between the stitches. You can use the same color for both passes, or different ones.

Illustration of buttonhole stitch with back stitches in between each stitch.

Grouped buttonhole stitches

This variation actually begins with a chain stitch. Work the chain stitch line first, on one side of the space to be embroidered. Then work the buttonhole stitches into the lower loop of the chain stitch and into the fabric below. Leaving a little space between every two or three stitches makes a lacy effect.

If you like, you can work back stitch over each group of stitches close to the purl. Done in one color, this emphasizes the texture of the stitch. Done in two colors, it emphasizes the color changes. Making the chains and back stitches in one color and the buttonhole stitches in another can be very effective.

Circular buttonhole stitch

When filling in a circle or working a flower, the buttonhole stitch is worked around a center point. Take almost all the stitches in the same place, letting the buttonholes surround the edge of the circle. When doing circular buttonhole stitch, occasionally take a short stitch as you move around the circle so the stitches don’t crowd one another and pile up in the center.

Cretan Stitch

Image of New England stitch, a modified buttonhole stitch that makes leaves.

This filling stitch is based on the buttonhole stitch, but the purl comes in the center rather than at the edge. It’s also sometimes called the New England Stitch. These leaves appear often in the blue and white Deerfield embroidery as well as folk embroidery from central Europe.

To make this stitch, the needle goes in at the line, first on one side and then the other, and it comes out beyond the center line on a slant. Taking a stitch to the right and then to the left makes both the leaf shape and the center purl.

Buttonhole loops

Image of buttonhole stitches worked over a loop.

While you may be familiar with these to hold buttons in place on the back of a dress, they also function to heighten interest within an art needlework piece.

Little buttonholed loops are a happy addition to a flower. They provide good filler for narrow spaces, one loop after the other.

To make it, carry two or three threads across the fabric and then covered closely with buttonhole stitches.

Fish hook stitch

Image of buttonhole stitches worked vertically to resemble fish hooks.

This stitch gets its name from its appearance. A vertical buttonhole stitch works well for thin lines and flower stems.

To make this stitch, put the needle into the fabric and bring it out on the line, keeping the thread always on one side. For a different effect, throw it first to the right and then to the left like the illustration below.

Image of buttonhole stitches worked vertically, alternating from left to right, to look like fish hooks.

Fagoting buttonhole stitches

Image of two rows of buttonhole stitches worked parallel. In between them a thread laces from bar to bar to create a looped stitch between the two rows.

For wide stems or lines, work two rows of blanket stitches close together. Then join them with a fagoting stitch, work from side to side, passing the needle under the loop between the blanket stitches to unite them. This is also good for filling long, narrow leaves. Edge the leaves with chain stitch first to give them a finished look.

Brussels net stitch

Buttonhole stitches worked in a pyramid to look like a net. This is loose from the fabric in the middle and called the Brussels net stitch.

Brussels net is also a variation of the buttonhole stitch. Made almost entirely on the surface of the fabric, work a row of stitches into those of the previous row. Work back and forth across the space, catching only the end stitches into the fabric.

This is actually a needle lace stitch rather than embroidery, but it’s useful for filling open spaces in embroidery.

Flower buttonholes

Buttonhole stitches worked in groups of three, with the long ends together to look like bells or flowers.

Here little groups of buttonholes gather like flowers. They sit completely detached from one another, sprinkled on the fabric.

Buttonhole stitches worked in groups of three along an edge. It looks like a row of flowers.

Or you can set them in a row for a dainty edging. This works well to cover a narrow hem with embroidery. Possible uses include handkerchiefs, dinner napkins, or underlinen like slips.

Next up

The next time I’ll give you a couple options for using these new stitches, drawn from the original article.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Embroider the Ship of Dreams

The Ship of Dreams in embroidery. A bird sits on the bow of a ship while water swirls below. Text: The Ship of Dreams.

Recreate this 1927 project and embroider the Ship of Dreams for yourself. This Dream Ship would go great in any vintage-style decor, especially if you have a room decorated in 1920-1940 style.

The Ship of Dreams was the original project designed to show off outline stitches and their potential. Even through the original black and white photo above, you can see the amazing texture that outline stitches provide. This is a project you can be proud of when it’s completed.

Sometimes you want embroidery to look smooth. A king’s cloak, the soft rose petal, the velvety down of a bird’s feathers. These things would look odd with a lot of texture. Color, yes. Texture, probably not.

But when it comes to the billows of an unbridled sea, texture adds interest. Intrigue. Wonder. I want to join that bird on the ship and go wherever that ship is headed. Texture keeps your eye on an object longer than it might be there otherwise. And using outline stitches in creative ways can build that texture.

Using all those outline stitches

In the last Embroidery Lesson installment, the first half of Lesson 3, I talked about variations of outline stitches. You can find that lesson here if you haven’t already read it. While the 1920s needleworker had access to far more threads than we have today, and more types of threads, that worker didn’t always have access to technique.

People were busy in the Twenties. Not everyone had hours to pour into the Perfect Satin Stitch as they did ten to fifteen years before. Radio, movies, automobile rides, picnics, parties, evenings with friends –– all these ate into the schedule of the needleworker, not to mention the daily toil of cooking, cleaning, sewing, and perhaps a full or part time job on top of all that. Enter more simple embroidery methods!

The original instructions suggest that you embroider this in wool. If the worker only has access to worsted weight yarn (commonly known as Germantown), the worker could separate the four worsted strands. Then they would use two of those strands for the embroidery.

While you can do that, if you have an abundance of multi-colored wool at hand, you also have other options. Embroider the piece with perle cottons. Or use 3-6 strands of 6-strand embroidery floss. Use one strand of sock (4-ply) yarn. Use whatever you have an abundance of. I happen to have a small bag of yarn used for punch-needle embroidery. It dates from the late 1970s – early 1980s. One or two strands of that would make a delightful pillow.

What you will need

To make this pillow, you will need:

  • Two pieces of tan medium weight fabric (heavy muslin, linen, etc.) that measure 15 x 15 inches.
  • An assortment of colored threads or yarns (see below).
  • A sharp embroidery needle that has an eye big enough for your threads or yarns.
  • The pattern, downloaded from below.
  • Your favorite method of transferring a pattern. See here for some options.
  • Your favorite embroidery hoop.

Colors you will need

You’ll need a handful of different colors to make this as it was designed. Here’s the original list:

  • Apricot for the boat sail
  • Light green to outline the diamond on the sail
  • Deep red-orange (called Chinese Red) for the diamond on the sail
  • Light sea-blue for the center of the diamond and the waves
  • Heliotrope (light lavender) for the waves and an outline around the green on the sail.
  • Cedar brown for the ship hull

How to make it

Here’s how to embroider and assemble the pillow.

The sail

  1. Download and transfer the pattern below. It should measure 6 1/2 inches high by 7 1/2 inches wide when you print it out.
  2. Center the design in your hoop. The embroidery starts with the sail and moves downward in the instructions.
  3. Outline the sail with apricot in chain stitch. Fill in the sail with the slant snailtrail stitch. Keep the stitches close together, but loose enough that the fabric doesn’t pucker. Stop when you get to the oval.
  4. Outline the oval with heliotrope (lavender). Fill in the four lozenges (flat ovals) that make up the oval with general outline (stem) stitch.
  5. At the diamond outline or right outside it, do two rows of chain stitch in light green.
  6. Inside the light green, fill the diamond with the red-orange. Use a chain stitch.
  7. The very center of the diamond is outline stitch in sea blue. I marked it with an X because that’s how it looked to me. If it looks more like a circle or a small diamond shape to you, fill it as you like.
  8. Work the pennants and the masts in snailtrail with the red/red-orange.

The boat

  1. Use the red (red-orange) to fill the hull. Use three rows of chain stitch. Then backstitch over the top row of red-orange with the apricot thread or yarn. This is what gives the deep color contrast at the top of the hull.
  2. The rest of the hull is also in chain stitch. Use the brown, and make the rows up and down instead on longways like the top of the hull you did in red. If you work one row with the chain stitches facing up and then back the other way when you reach the end, this will make the texture more obvious.
  3. Now let’s do the bird. This little guy sits on the prow of the ship, but he also functions as a figurehead. Work the bird solidly in outline (stem) stitch. Use green for the head, with tiny dots of heliotrope for the eye. Use apricot for the rest of the bird. His beak is red.

The waves

  1. Use the darning stitch to fill the waves solidly with sea-blue. Use the light green to whip the upper edges of the waves, like an overcast running stitch.
  2. On the lower edges of the waves there is an extra row of darning stitch using heliotrope.
  3. For the lines that represent the sea spray, use green and heliotrope side by side. First use outline stitch in green, and then a row of heliotrope in darning stitch.

The pattern

Here’s the pattern for the Dream Ship. Download it and print it. You may have to play with your settings a bit to get the design to measure 6.5 x 7.5 inches, or you may not. If you want a larger picture or cushion, download the design at a larger size. Remember to size up your fabric accordingly.

Outline drawing of a ship on the water. The ship has one mast, and it sits on billowing waves. A bird sits on the prow of the ship.
This is the embroidery pattern. Print it out and transfer it to your fabric.

If you enjoyed this project you might like projects that go with Embroidery Lesson 1 and Lesson 2.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Embroidery Lesson: Outline stitches to fill

What do you do if you have an outline of something and you want to fill it with color? You could use another fabric and appliqué the center. You could use a satin stitch and embroider the center. Or you could use variations of the versatile outline stitches from the last lesson to fill your design. This third embroidery lesson shows you how to use outline stitches to fill your embroidery design.

Embroidered ship on the water. An owl sits on the prow, and embroidered waves swirl below the ship.
This ship uses outline stitches to fill the design.

This ship became the center of a cushion. The entire project was embroidered with outline stitch variations. These stitches are incredibly useful, yet little used today. The outline stitches give this piece wonderful texture and interest. Best of all, the stitches are easy to do and you can use them for any size project.

You will need

Like all the embroidery projects, for today’s embroidery lesson on outline stitches to fill, you will need

  • an embroidery needle with an eye large enough for your thread
  • six-strand embroidery floss for practice
  • an embroidery hoop to hold your fabric taught

Take a running stitch… and whip it

Embroidered running stitch that has another thread wound through it. Use this outline stitch to fill a large area. Text: Overcast running stitch.

Here you see a whipped or overcast running stitch. First you follow the line with the running stitch. Then you stitch a second line, starting at the beginning. Instead of going through the fabric you overcast, or whip, the running stitches. Always place the overcast stitches in the same direction so that the design stays consistent. You can make this in one color, or use two contrasting colors for increased interest.

Slanted snailtrail stitch

Snailtrail embroidery stitch made with the needle entering the fabric at a sharp angle. Use this outline stitch to fill a large area of embroidery. Text: Slanted snailtrail.

In the last lesson you learned how to make a snailtrail stitch by passing the needle perpendicular to the design line. This time the needle passes through the fabric at a deep slant or angle, like you see in the illustration. When the needle follows the direction of the line instead of working at a right angle to it (as you did in Lesson 2), you see a very different effect from the stitch.

Backstitched chain stitch

Embroidery illustration of a line of chain stitch. Over the top of the chains a needle passes a second time making back stitches at each loop join. Use this outline stitch to fill a large area. Text: Chain stitch with backstitch.

In this version of the chain stitch, you take a small back stitch over the chain. Using a different color is most effective. You might try this with either a different weight of thread for the backstitch, or the same thread in the same color, and see how you like it. To make this, complete the row of chain stitch as normal, and then go over the embroidery a second time with small backstitches.

Darning stitch

illustration of long running stitches that fill an area. Perfect outline stitch to fill a large embroidered area. Text: Darning stitch.

This stitch is easy and quick. You take long stitches that cover the embroidered area and combine them with short underneath stitches. As you go, alternate so that the new row’s stitches always span the last row’s space between stitches. If your stitches were further apart it would look like a brick wall. Worked closely, the stitches have a satin-like effect. Keep your stitches even as you work for the best overall effect.

Try it yourself

Grab some fabric and thread and give these stitches a try. Most of us don’t even think about using anything but a satin stitch, or maybe a long and short stitch, to fill areas like embroidered flowers, leaves, and figures. Using outline stitches to fill embroidered spaces opens up a whole new world of texture, color, and possibility. Best of all, these are easy and relatively quick stitches.

Next time I’ll give you the pattern for the Ship of Dreams above, and you can make it yourself with the stitches you learned. Drop me a note and let me know how you liked these stitches! I look forward to hearing from you.

The Creative Corner · Vintage Needlework

Project for Outline Stitches

Last time we dove into embroidery we worked on various outline stitches. This time I bring you a project for those outline stitches.

1920s quilt, an embroidery project using outline stitches. The center features 15 blocks. Every other block shows the outline of an insect or animal: bird in hat, butterfly, bird with net, ladybug, frog, squirrel, fish, and flying insect.
Make this small quilt embroidered with outline stitches.

While this was designed as a small quilt, you can use these whimsical Twenties patterns for anything. Put them on an apron. Assemble a collection, mount them in embroidery hoops, and hang them on your wall. Embroider in a long strip and fashion into a wall hanging.

The original illustration shows this quilt made from white and pink sateen. Sateen is a cotton fabric with a satin-like weave. You can still buy it from places like One of the benefits of a fabric like sateen: it usually has a tight weave so it makes a nice background for embroidery. However, any medium to heavy weight cotton like a nice quilting cotton, or even a linen, would work for this project. (Keep in mind that if you actually plan to make a crib quilt, linen needs to be ironed after washing. Cotton would work better.)

Use whatever colors you like. You’ll need a light color like white, beige, yellow, light green, etc. for the embroidered blocks and a dark color of your choosing for the others.

You will need

The finished quilt measures 36.5 inches wide by 49.5 inches high. Sew all the pieces together with 1/4 inch seams.

For the entire quilt, you will need:

  • Light embroidered squares: 2.5 yard of 42″ wide fabric, or 2.5 yard of 36″ wide fabric. The blocks actually fit on 1 yard if you are very careful and you use pre-washed fabric, but it only leaves 1 inch of clearance. A few extra inches is safer. This includes making the entire back from one piece of 33 x 46 inches of light fabric.
  • Dark fabric: 1.5 yards of 42″ wide fabric, or 1.75 yards of 36″ wide fabric.
  • Flannel for inner lining: This project uses pre-washed flannel as an option for warmth instead of quilt batting. Optional: The original coverlet had no batting or inner lining.
  • The original was made from white and pink sateen. Sateen is a cotton fabric with a satin-like weave. You can still buy it from places like One of the benefits of a fabric like sateen is that it is tightly woven so it makes a nice background for embroidery. However, any medium to heavy weight cotton like a nice quilting cotton, or even a linen, would work for this project. (Keep in mind that if you actually plan to make a crib quilt, linen needs to be ironed after washing.)
  • Sewing thread to match your fabric
  • Embroidery floss
  • A method of transferring the pattern
  • Embroidery hoop
  • Embroidery needle
  • Sewing needle or sewing machine

Draw your blocks

Once you have your fabric, measure out the the blocks before you cut anything.

From the light fabric:

  • 8 small blocks measure 7 x 7 inches.
  • 2 medium blocks measure 7 x 20 inches.
  • 2 large blocks measure 7 x 33 inches.
  • Back piece measures 33 x 46 inches. You will cut this after everything else is together, but make sure you have enough fabric left in one piece once you trace everything else out.

From the dark fabric:

  • 2 long binding strips measure 5.25 x 52 inches.
  • 2 short binding strips measure 5.25 x 42 inches.
  • 11 blocks measure 7 x 7 inches.

Measure the largest pieces first, and then fit the small 7 x 7 squares around them. Draw the rectangles right onto your fabric with pencil (or a white fabric pencil, if you use really dark fabric).

Embroider all your 7 x 7 squares before cutting them out. This will make your life a lot easier. If you would like to cut the squares and strips before embroidering, you will need a small 5-inch embroidery hoop.

If you need some ideas on how to transfer the designs, you can find it in this article I wrote about how to Transfer Vintage Embroidery Patterns.

The designs

These nature-inspired designs are true Twenties illustrations. Embroider all of them with three strands of embroidery floss in a color that matches the dark color of your quilt.

The original instructions call for the animals to be done in basic outline/stem stitch. However, they would also look nice in snailtrail stitch with portions done in backstitch.

When you print these, try printing them at 70%. Your goal is a square that measures about 6 inches. That will transfer nicely into a 6.5 inch finished square.

1920s outline design of a crow-like bird wearing a fedora.
This sassy bird begs to be embroidered.
Twenties illustration of butterfly for outline embroidery.
This butterfly shows off its delicate lines.
Twenties outline illustration of a bird holding a net. He's looking for a worm.
This bird is determined to catch the worm!
Twenties illustration of squirrel with nut for outline embroidery.
This little squirrel found a nut worth burying.
Twenties illustration of a catfish for outline embroidery.
A Twenties-style catfish. If the whiskers bother you, leave them off.
Twenties illustration of an insect for outline embroidery.
Everyone needs a nicely embroidered winged insect, right?
Twenties illustration of a frog for outline embroidery.
The artist caught this frog mid-jump.
Twenties illustration of a ladybug running on two feet, for outline embroidery.
A sweet ladybug to decorate someone’s room.

The borders

The quilt uses two different borders. These are also embroidered in one color, the same you used for the animal blocks. The instructions call for them to be embroidered in a close (small stitches) running stitch.

Two scroll work outline illustrations for a crib quilt. The top one is about 1/3 longer than the lower one, although they look very similar.
Border designs for the crib quilt.

Each of these borders should measure about 4 inches wide once they are printed. A tiny bit more or less won’t matter.

The long border will measure about 23.5 inches when completely drawn out. I’ve given you half the drawing so that you can print it out landscape and then reverse it.

Border for the sides of the quilt.

The short border will measure about 16.75 inches when completely drawn out. Since 16 inches is longer than the standard US 11.5 inch page, I halved this pattern as well.

This borders the top and bottom of the quilt.

Putting it together

Your blocks are measured, and you embroidered the light ones. Everything is ready for assembly.

If you haven’t already, cut the blocks apart on your penciled lines. The original instructions suggested that you might want to assemble the quilt with all the fabric lengthwise threads running the same direction. This is a good practice, but not necessary if this is a practice piece. Why do this at all? It’s so that if the piece shrinks, it will all shrink together in the same direction.

Should you want to do this, an easy way to keep track is to take some extra sewing thread and make a few basting stitches lengthwise along each block. This makes it easy to attach them in the same direction.

The center

Sew the center squares together in strips to match the completed illustration. Use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Then press each seam allowance open.

Being careful to match the corners, sew the strips together to make a section composed of 3 blocks by 5 blocks. Open and press the seams as before.

Now sew on the two long side panels.

Attach the end panels and corners. It may be easiest to do this by assembling a top strip of dark/panel/dark and a bottom strip to match, and then attaching the strips to the top and bottom of the almost completed quilt top. Press all seams open.

The lining and edging

Cut the lining piece the same size as the patchwork. Place the two pieces together, back to back. Lay them out on a table or another flat surface and pin them together very carefully so they are perfectly smooth. Baste into place.

Sew one edge of the shorter bands along each end. Keep the seam on the wrong side of the band (it will be on the inside when you are finished.) Sew together the band, the patchwork, and the lining.

Sew one edge of the long side bands into place. Beginning in the middle of one of the long sides, fold a 1/4 inch hem and then fold the long strip along the middle. The seam that contains all the raw edges and that holds the quilt edging in place should be on the inside.

Pin the fold in place so it doesn’t move, and whip stitch it down. Miter the corners neatly.

To give the blanket a quilted appearance, use sewing thread and make a fine (small) running stitch close to each seam. They should be parallel with the seams. Only go through the top layer of the fabric, catching the seam allowances underneath. Repeat on the other side of each seam. This will keep the seams laying flat.

If you want to make the quilt warm, you can use a layer of pre-washed flannel in between the top and lining. Then when you place the running stitches parallel with the seams, go through all the layers of the fabric. You will quilt it at the same time that you catch the seam allowances.

Enjoy your beautiful embroidered quilt!