Thursday 1 December 2011

Vintage embroidery -Feathers from Dorset

Ok, back to  real embroidery! Yesterday I treated myself. Our local Oxfam shop had been donated a load of old embroidery books and I  couldn't resist this one,' Dorset Feather Stitchery'. The book was written in 1957  for the Dorset Women's Institutes as 'a revival of some old stitches in modern form'.  The cover alone had me hooked, and inside was treasure!

 No dust jacket, but isn't this pretty?

What a great inscription!

Inside were the original loose pattern sheets

and lots of old transfers for the designs - this is a pattern for a 16 inch doll's apron! How could I resist?
These are some of the stitches used,  the paisley like shapes are called pine cones.

Pattern for a child's Balkan cap, this is the only  item I have the 'whole story' for.

Here's the finished item. What a labour of love.Makes you think about all those fleecy mass produced pull on hats of today!

More wonderfully embroidered projects, there are aprons, bags, tea cosies, even a 6 gored ladies skirt!

Instructions for stitching Dorset Buttons

Little girls dresses

Tray cloths and bags
Sorry the quality is not brilliant, but the original photos are a bit fuzzy. Still, it's wonderful stuff.

The book is full of wonderful writing  and even has a chapter on home dyeing threads, fabric  and ric rac braid. The author says she's an amateur, but she has a wonderful chapter on how to run  a class in feather stitchery -

'Keep your class under control, curb the fast or careless ones and take your timing from the medium  group  before continuing to the next stitch. Late comers and slow workers must, alas, follow as best they can'

( I don't think I'll be curbing anyone in my classes though!)

I would love to know if anyone reading this knows more about the subject?

Meanwhile, don't forget you can still sign up to TAST. There is now an official logo.  Thanks to Annet for allowing us to use this. At the last count over 300  people have signed up - which is terrific. Sharonb is an amazing lady, working really hard to put the 2012 challenge together.

If you  are interested in hand embroidery come and join us,  learn some new stitches, have fun and maybe make new stitching friends!

Now I really must go and do some stitching myself...ahem....


  1. Oh wow, that book looks marvellous. I love old embroidery books, the illustrations are so wonderful and clear! Great find. Hooray for Oxfam!

    Followed you here via stitchin fingers, look forward to seeing your TAST work in the new year :-)

  2. It's so good when you unearth a book that excites you, I found one in the summer about exploring stitches! By the way, the drawings are wonderful and the design shapes are lovely!
    See you over on TAST :)

  3. I have really enjoyed reading your blog. Your embroidery projects are so beautiful. I have signed up for TAST 2012 and am looking forward to learning new stitches and sharing the journey with other needleworkers. Nicola x

  4. This book looks wonderful. I love coming upon unexpected treasures when least expected. I've joined up as well for Sharon's TAST in 2012. Learning all those beautiful stitches will be fabulous :)

  5. What a glorious book! Those stitches are incredible! Oh how I love hand work!

  6. I have this book too. I was taught this embroidery at school. It was the only bit of sewing I enjoyed. I still have the sampler I made then which is like the one on this page. love this type of embroidery as it is simple to do and quick as well. I decorated my son's shoulder carrier with it when he was a baby and women would come up to me to ask where they could buy one like it. They were a bit disappointed when I said I had made it myself!

  7. I have been trying for a long time to find someone who can do vintage embroidery like you do. I would love to have something made if you are interested. Please let me know!

  8. Just found your blog. It is wonderful! I am new to blogging and really need to do more. I need to learn about it. What program do you use to design your patterns? love your site! Thanks

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  11. Wonderful job.. Just love all of your embroidery digitizing designs; i.e. aprons, bags, tea cosies, and a 6 gored ladies skirt... Its really great and amazing work


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