Detatched Buttonhole Stitch


Not quite Elizabethan

The second item I made as a gift for Margaret de Mey on the occasion of her elevation was an over the shoulder bag. I looked in my stash and found a very small remnant from the fabric which I used for another friend’s elevation (as a Laurel in his case). It was enough to make up the front, back and lid of a roughly binder-shaped carrying bag, but there was not enough to make a carrying strap. However, the fabric was a golden yellow tone, and Margaret’s arms are mostly red, so I thought I would match the Drachenwald colours, and make the strap black. Luckily I had a few scraps of black wool of approximately the same weight also in my stash to lend to the project.

With the bag sewn up with a green linen lining I turned my attention to decorating the lid with Margaret’s device. I had not much time, and since the design is quite simple I decided to find a red fabric to be the shield shape, and then embroider the water bougets white on to that. Minimal of work, to create a three dimensional effect, and also weigh down the lid a little.

OutlinesThe red wool was cut to an appropriate size, then I transferred the pattern by stitching through a piece of paper where I had drawn it up beforehand. The outlines were then filled in properly with chain stitch in white silk.

The red wool was quite sturdy, and so I felt I did not need to work this in a frame, but could do it freehand. I also chose to work the chain stitches in reverse. I’ve found that this way of working them, gives me much more control over the size of the stitches, and exactly where I can place them for maximum coverage and details in the design.

After all outlines were done, I proceeded to fill in the shapes of the water bougets with detached buttonhole stitch from the top down in the main body of the design, and from left to right for the crossbar. I hoped this slight change in texture might make the two parts a little more distinct, but I’m not so sure that’s really noticeable, as the thread I was using made the distance for the crossbar basically two stitches wide. If I had used a thinner thread the change in directionality would be more noticeable. I like this sort of stitch, because it uses a maximum of thread on the front of the work, and almost nothing is wasted on the reverse. It’s efficient and thread conservative, as you can see from the back of the finished piece.

Finished work - detatched buttonhole stitch

To finish off the bag I attached the shield shape by appliqueing it to the lid with blanket stitch all around the outline in black. It also helped to highlight the edges a little, and bring in some more contrast.


Klosterstitch – the reveal

I posted before about the lesson learned about Klosterstitch. For me it was that I have to draw the pattern to follow on the ground fabric in order to make it even. I couldn’t post a picture of this before, as the piece I was working on was a surprise and a gift, but since it has now been given I can show you what I mean.

The image here shows the shield half done, the first half I did without the diagonals, and it worked for a bit, but ended up crooked in the end.

I started with the vertical lines drawn in, to help me guide where to lay the threads across the surface. With the needle I came up from the bottom and laid the threads towards the top, then came up again next to the laid thread to couch it down at regular intervals – these intervals were what I needed more guidance with, so ended up drawing in the diagonals to create a grid.
Margaret's cloth - reverseIn this image you can clearly see that the right side of the shield is much more even than the left side, when I had not drawn in the diagonals. The reverse (below) also shows how I didn’t quite manage to keep things even without the gridlines on the fabric.

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