About

Cost
$ $ $ $ $
Difficulty
• • • • •
Time
2h00

Raised Embroidery
5 x 5cm (2 x 2in)
I’m a fan of ‘statement’ accessories – unusual pieces paired with very simple outfits are my favourite. As with the other projects in this book, the small size involved means you can make a feature of fine stitching and sumptuous materials without having to commit to a large project. Even better, it’s portable to make as well as to wear! The important thing to remember is that the design needs to be very simple, and bold.
The piece is worked in a small frame as an embroidered panel, which is then stretched gently over either card or pelmet vilene, then lined on the back to hide the construction stitches. Given that it exists as a single item, and isn’t attached in any way to anything else except the jewellery findings, it can be whatever shape you like. Start with your favourite colour and build out from there! Remember – be bold with your materials and simple with your design!

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© 2018 Kelley Aldridge / Search Press · Reproduced with permission.
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  • Step 1

    Designing the piece
    From the start, I wanted this piece to be eye-catching, in fact I wanted it to be eye-popping! The colours needed to be very bright, and I knew there would be at least one shisha mirror to catch and reflect back the light. Whether worn as a brooch or a necklace (or earrings), this little piece of embroidery would often shift and move with the wearer, so reflective and shiny materials would really flash and sparkle. Silk fabric and ribbons would help add rich colour and sheen, which would be counter-balanced with some interesting texture.
    The size of this piece is relatively small – brooches generally are not too large for practical reasons. A pendant could be bigger, but only slightly. If you are familiar with the term ‘inchie’ – a tiny piece of textile-art sampling which measures no more than one square inch – you will have an idea of what I was envisaging, though the final piece is slightly larger than this to give more space for the decorative embroidery.

  • Step 2

    Moodboard
    I love the work of artist Dave Galchutt, who is known for his use of vibrant colours. Inspired by the colours in one of his pieces, I began my moodboard by pinning colour sketches 
to the cork, then finding matching threads that would allow me to incorporate the same bold hues in my piece. I also came across a series of large ceramic titles by artist Christopher Gryder and was immediately struck with how lovely they would be in raised stitches.
    I spent some time working out possible combinations of techniques and colour, making notes to myself and pinning them to the board, too.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 3
    Step 3

    Order of work
    The shisha mirror is attached first, as you need a lot of elbow room for this complex stitch. The ribbon and beadwork are worked last as they are very raised, which makes them liable to being damaged from working nearby stitches if you add them earlier.
    A Secure the fabric to the hoop, then transfer the design and secure the shisha. This stage is shown to the right.
    B Work the stem stitch areas.
    C Work vermicelli – the green areas first, then the red areas.
    D Work the bullion knots and cast-on stitches.
    E Add the ribbon and bead embellishment.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 4
    Step 4

    Stem stitch
    This is a ‘workhorse’ of a stitch, providing lines that are straight, curved, thick, thin, shaded and plain.

    Using a semi-fine variegated thread in an embroidery needle and the cast-on securing method, begin your stem stitch on the outer line shown on the template, bringing your needle up through the line itself.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 5
    Step 5

    Take your needle down about 2mm (1⁄16in) away from its starting point, pulling most of the thread through but leaving a loop on the surface of the fabric.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 6
    Step 6

    Holding the loop of thread to the inside of the border line, bring your needle up again, on the line, halfway between the start and end of the previous stitch.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 7
    Step 7

    Pull the working thread through completely, thereby tightening the first stitch.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 8
    Step 8

    Take the needle down 2mm (1⁄16in) further round the circle to start the next stitch.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 9
    Step 9

    Repeat all the way round until the border line is complete.

    Tip
    To turn a sharp angle in stem stitch, the first stitch in the line must be worked backwards to avoid bringing the needle up where it has just gone down.

    Stem stitch
    Stem stitch makes an excellent neat, understated and subtle border. In this detail from the finished piece, note how the variegated thread adds a little interest.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 10
    Step 10

    Vermicelli backstitch
    Named after the spiralling pasta, this creates an all-over background pattern.

    Secure a fine embroidery thread in the area next to the shisha using the cast on method. Ensure you cover your securing stitches as you work. Bring your needle up at the starting point of your stitch, and take it down about 2mm (1⁄16in) further on.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 11
    Step 11

    Pull all the thread through firmly. Start the next stitch by bringing your needle up through the middle of the previous stitch, splitting the thread as you go.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 12
    Step 12

    Take it down about 2mm (1⁄16in) further on, pulling thread firmly.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 13
    Step 13

    Repeat the step, keeping lengths consistent and gradually curving around and about in a wandering ‘squiggle’ effect.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 14
    Step 14

    Fill the entirety of the inner circle with green vermicelli, then cast off the working thread so that it is hidden by the final split stitches.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 15
    Step 15

    Fill the outer circle with red vermicelli stitch in the same way.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 16
    Step 16

    Bullion knot and cast-on flower
    Inspired by Brazilian embroidery, this motif combines three well-known raised stitches.

    Work a long curved bullion knot quarter of the way round the shisha, starting at the 12 o’clock position and working round to the 
3 o’clock position.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 17
    Step 17

    Work round the rest of the shisha with three more long curved bullion knots; the first from 3 o’clock to 6 o’clock, the second from 
6 o’clock to 9 o’clock, and the third from 9 o’clock to 12 o’clock.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 18
    Step 18

    Just like bullion knots, cast-on stitches can be made curved by adding too many wraps to comfortably sit between the start and end points of the stitch. Use this to make a curved cast-on stitch over the first loop, bringing the needle up on the inside of the loop (i.e. nearer the shisha) and down on the outside of the next loop.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 19
    Step 19

    Repeat on the other three bullion knots, starting each overfilled cast-on stitch inside one bullion knot loop and taking it over the 
next loop.

    Overlapping bullion knots
    Twisting and turning, the intertwined bullion knots and cast-on stitches are echoed by the orange vermicelli split stitches and the rows of beads going over the padded ribbon roundel.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 20
    Step 20

    beads and ribbon ‘cutwork’
    Inspired by the goldwork embroidery technique, this creates a raised roundel of 
colour and sparkle.

    Use soft string padding to create a doughnut shape with neatly fitting ends on the surface as shown.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 21
    Step 21

    Thread a length of silk ribbon into a large-eyed embroidery needle and secure the end at the outer edge of the padding, via the cast-on method. Take the ribbon over the padding at a slight angle.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 22
    Step 22

    Cast a fine red thread onto an embroidery needle and add a couching stitch to hold the ribbon down tightly on the inside of the padding.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 23
    Step 23

    Take the ribbon back over the padding, overlapping the previous section slightly.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 24
    Step 24

    Secure the ribbon on the outside.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 25
    Step 25

    Continue to secure the ribbon, ‘zig-zagging’ back and forth over the padding as you work.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 26
    Step 26

    Once you have worked all the way round, thread a fine embroidery needle with matching thread. Bring it up on one side of the padding and thread on ten or so beads.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 27
    Step 27

    Take the needle over the padding and down close to the padding on the other side, slightly further around. Draw through to pull the beads tightly against the padding.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 28
    Step 28

    Repeat all the way around.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 29
    Step 29

    Construction

    Use scissors to trim your fabric into a circle, leaving a border of 2.5cm (1in) around the outer line (see template above). Pin this to a piece of stiffened fabric cut to the same size as the template.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 30
    Step 30

    Use a strong thread and a curved needle to begin firmly lacing the fabric across the back of the roundel. Start by securing your thread then taking a small stitch through the seam allowance of the fabric on one side of the roundel.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 31
    Step 31

    Take a second small stitch directly opposite, so that the thread travels straight across the back of the roundel.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 32
    Step 32

    Make your next stitch a little way clockwise round the shape, then repeat steps 2 and 3, folding in the fabric seam allowance as you work. Your roundel will begin to resemble a wheel with criss-crossing strokes.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 33
    Step 33

    Continue working all the way round until all the fabric seam allowance has been secured, then secure and cast off your working thread. Using a single strand of embroidery cotton, work a line of detached buttonhole bar ‘scallops’ (see page 54) into the very edge of the fabric as a decorative finish, taking care not to damage the surface embroidery.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 34
    Step 34

    Cut a piece of red felt to 3–5mm (1⁄8–¼in) smaller than the piece and position it on the back of the roundel. Use a matching thread and a curved needle to secure the felt to the piece using small, neat stitches.

  • How to stitch a stitched brooch. Raised Embroidery Brooch - Step 35
    Step 35

    Use the matching thread and a curved needle to attach a brooch finding to the felt 
to finish.

    Necklace variation
    If you prefer, you can attach a necklace finding in place of the brooch back, then thread a chain or ribbon through to make a necklace.

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