Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dresden Lace and Pulled Thread work.

Next week I'll be teaching a short workshop about the basics of embroidering Dresden Lace. The little sprig I embroidered has been sitting on my shelf as I considered the challenge of teaching a technique which depends on the use of a very fine fabric for one of its defining characteristics.

To be able to embroider on the fine muslin I have chosen, you need to be able to see extremely well. A bright light and a magnifier are essential unless you have outstanding eyesight. But, you won't know until you try working on such a fine fabric whether you can see well enough to do it or not.

Dresden Lace Sprig on muslin - 3cm x 4cm
So I've adjusted the small design and made it suitable for embroidering on a 28 count fabric. Now I know that if there is anyone who just can't see well enough to work on the fine muslin, they can spend the morning profitably working on another piece of fabric with a lower thread count per inch.
Pulled Thread Sprig on 28 count linen - 5cm x 6cm
The outside petals are optional and can be added afterwards and filled with a different pulled thread stitch to that in the centre. I have used diagonal drawn filling in the centre and single faggot stitch over just 2 threads for the petals. This gives a nice contrast between the two areas.
Now to finish the notes, prepare design cards in two sizes for either muslin or linen, cut fabric and threads, and prepare the kits.


  1. This looks just about perfect for trying out a new technique and your back-up plan is great. It should go really well. I'd enrol,if it were near me! You'll be well prepared, and hopefully get to run the class more than once to capitalise on all the preparation.

    1. Hi Jillian. Thanks for all your very nice comments. I know I typed up a reply to you a few days ago but it seems to have disappeared. I have been getting spam and was busy working out what settings to change for comments to try and prevent it. Somehow I may have lost your reply when I was deleting the spam and trying to change my comment settings.
      Its a good idea to use my workshop notes again and after your comment I have been pondering it... and I am thinking that with a bit more work it would make a nice little pattern for my Etsy shop, but that will be for another day. Have a lovely weekend!

    2. No worries, Lyn. I'm not sure there was any more to lose! I find the settings for comments quite hard - can't figure out how to set it up for replies to individual comments and I now type my replies into a blank email form, then copy and paste to blogs as I so often find my comments freeze in the middle of writing in the comment box. Hope the class went really well.

  2. Lyn, your lace work is wonderful. My needle lace is still a ufo unfortunately, on day I just might complete it. Regarding your query the fine cotton lawn that I am using was bought in CT. There is (or was) an amazing fabric shop in Wynburg. There is a parking area for Checkers and Home Affairs behind the shops in Main Road, Wynburg. The shop is on the corner of Main Road and sells a vast selection of fabrics, trims etc. You might have to spend time looking through the dress fabrics, hopefully there is still something like that available. I do miss those shops so very much. Across the road was a tiny little shop with all sorts of lace trims, ribbons and there was another fabric shop around the corner which always had most interesting 'stuff'. One of my London friends frequents the markets there and came across a man who had cleared out a warehouse in CT and she was amazed at what he was selling. I am so out of touch with what is available in CT now but one of the ladies from the Embroiderer's Guild told me that there was a shop in Muizenberg which had Liberty fabrics including cotton lawn. Liberty, London, do have it (at a price) and so do John Lewis. I have not taken a shopping trip to London for some time, have one planned in the not too distant future as we are needing to stock up on sewing 'stuff'. After much internet research we have found several places to explore other than the big pricey stores.

    1. Hi Wendy
      Thanks for all the local info. It seems like we know some of the same wonderful fabric shops in Cape Town though I have still got the Muizenberg one down on my list of places to visit. I did find some muslin at Fabric World in Wynberg. The reason I was interested in yours is that the fabric appears to be almost an evenweave quality which what I am looking for. I have noticed that the quality of the muslin does vary each time a new shipment comes in there, so I will keep an eye on it. I had a look at Liberty's muslin a couple of years ago but it is too finely woven for Dresden Lace embroidery and I couldn't count the threads to do the pulled thread work. I have a number of pieces from various internet shops but so far not exactly what I am looking for. The muslin I got in Wynberg still seems to be the best.
      Have a wonderful day fabric shopping in London!

    2. Hi Wendy.
      Some years ago I was in London and came across some small off the beaten track fabric shops in Berwick Street and Broadwick Street in Soho. I didn't have time to visit them but have always wanted to go back and have a look at them. I had to email my daughter, now living in Brisbane, and ask her the names of the streets. She used to work just around the corner from them. The closest tube stop is Picadilly Circus. Perhaps some of them are already on your list of shops to visit when you go up to London. I hope you have a really successful and fun shopping trip.