The Process of Making Vintage Embroidery Patterns Usable

Treasure hunting can be a great deal of fun, especially if you actual stumble across a bit of treasure.  Treasure can be a wide variety of things to many people. When it comes to Ecclesiastical Sewing and Embroidery, treasure usually, but not always, involves something of beauty from the past. If that treasure is usable, or if it might be possible to restore an item in some capacity, that is a source of great satisfaction. Not everything old is able to be restored and reused. But when there is enough of the original item in tact, recreating a design can become a fun project.

Vintage Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery Patterns for Whitework and Gold and Silk Embroidery
Vintage Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery Patterns for Whitework and Gold and Silk Embroidery

Let’s look at this box of stuff which looks more like a mess than anything else. The box holds a few Vintage Ecclesiastical Embroidery patterns that I have been able to collect over the years.  Most of the designs are over 100 years old. Many times the paper used for these old designs is fragile and brittle, folded and creased. The slightest touch can result in a rip or tear of the paper. But what if one were to actually transfer a design to fabric  using these patterns?  Most likely, the paper would shred the moment the pounce pad touched it. While these Vintage Ecclesiastical Embroidery Designs are not very usable in their original condition, there are still things that can be done to add new life to these old beauties.  So, the best option to save these designs has been to create a new clean line version from a scan of the original design. Sometimes that is easier said than done.

Fusil cross with double border center primrose and leaf shape
Fusil Cross with double border center primrose and leaf shape

And at other times, it is easy to do. The above design was an easy Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery design to convert to a clean line drawing.  The lines were fairly simple, and there was not a great deal of detail. This design has two different cross shapes. The Fusil cross is on a diagonal, and the Fleur de lis cross has been modified to look like leaves.

Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery Pattern Cross Design
Ecclesiastical Hand Embroidery Pattern Cross Design




This simple design has me thinking about stitching and thread options. One thought might include felt padding on the tips of the cross, which could be worked with chips of wire check or bright check encased in a pearl purl border such as this project worked by Mary Corbet over on Needle’nThread. The outer edge of the Fusil Cross could be worked with Imitation Japan Gold threads couched in rows of two.  The flower could be long and short stitch with a chip work center.  But the Fleur cross – what might one do with that?  Any ideas?  While my original thought for this design turn to gold and silk embroidery, whitework should not be overlooked.  This design would stitch beautifully with white threads.

A copy of the cross is available in two sizes for you to use for your own Ecclesiastical Sewing and Embroidery Projects.  The sizes would stitch up well for use on a stole, chalice veil, or pall. Slight size adjustments might be needed

Fusil cross with double border center primrose and leaf shape

Solo Dei Gloria

Be sure to visit our online store front Ecclesiastical Sewing where you may shop for Liturgical Fabrics, altar linen fabrics, church vestment making patterns, liturgical machine embroidery designschurch vestment trims and notions and so much more. You may also find us on  Ecclesiastical Sewing  on Facebook , Twitter, and Pinterest. Sing up for our mailing list  at the bottom of the page on our online store front and receive a free copy of our Small Linens Booklet as our way of saying thank you for following along.

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