Back to the 17th Century

Last month I told you about my 17th century embroidery on-line course, Cabinets of Curiosities (CofC). Well, I got the first lesson on May 1, and expect lesson 2 next week. The first few lessons are about the history and anatomy of 17th century embroidered caskets, so I don’t have much to report on that front except that I’m getting more and more excited to get started stitching.

Since I won’t get my first supplies to actually make stuff until late August or early September, I just had to find an appropriate project to work on now. I decided to get a kit project, so I wouldn’t have to buy more thread than I’ll need. As part of my CofC course, I’ll get a supply of different silk threads in the full range of historic colors they sell.


My Amy Mitten Winter Casket Keepsakes kit came yesterday. I will be making smalls for my casket through her online course. They are small sewing accessories designed after 17th century originals.


These are smalls from a 1671 casket (from the V&A), one in the shape of bellows similar to my kit. Amy Mitten has much better pictures of the inspiration for the kit on her website.


Here’s what is in the kit. The supplies are beautiful.

I’ve also been busy doing research on 17th century English embroidery.

Here are a few sources I’ve been poring over:


‘Twist Art and Nature, English Embroidery from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1580-1700, is considered the ultimate source for embroidery of this period and is hard to come by. I only wish I had known about the 2009 exhibit it is based on so I could have seen it in person. It is a huge book and the pictures are amazing. It is available in limited supply from Hedgehog Handworks and they’re having a sale til the end of May.

IMG_1899 IMG_1900

Stumpwork, a Royal School of Needlework Essential Stitch Guide is such fun. Of the RSN Guides I own, this is by far the best. It shows wonderful dimentional embroidery and complete directions for all the stitches. Like all the Guides, it is spiral bound so it lies flat. I got mine from Amazon. They have lots more beautiful stumpwork books that are on my wish list.


In fine Style, The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion, highlights existing clothing and artwork from the period. It is available on Amazon.


The costumes pictured have inspired me to make a 17th century costume for my Bru. As I work on her fairy costume, I’ll share more of my fashion sources.

Some of you have asked me if I make any money from writing my blog. My answer has been that I hope to, eventually. But I’m not in this for the money. It has been wonderful sharing my passions with people who are actually interested. My husband has tried to be interested for the past 44 years. He reads my all my posts and gives me great feedback. But I try not to push that privilege too far. By writing my blog, I’m setting my ideas and inspiration free and it feels good.

About making money, here’s FULL DISCLOSURE:

  • I tell you when I have something to sell on eBay.
  • I will, at some point, offer patterns for sale (probably on etsy).
  • If I get enough readers, I hope to be able to attract advertisers that you might be interested in to my site.
  • And I am enrolled in Amazon’s Seller Associates program. If you buy an Amazon product through a link on my website, I will earn a small percentage. I will only be offering books and supplies that I actually own and recommend. I do not get a kick-back from any other supplier that I write about. I just want to share my sources with you.

That’s the whole money story. I will be upfront and honest with you about it. If things change, I will let you know.


Back to the 17th Century — 3 Comments

  1. Wow, I am really enjoying your blog!! I am blown away by seeing all of these new (to me) types of embroidery. My fingers are just tingling to try new techniques.
    I would love to do a sampler with these stitches. Perhaps you could put together a kit to sell or teach a class? I would drive to Va in a heartbeat.

    • Now you can see why I got hooked. I am a long way off from teaching this or making a kit. I am just a beginner, too.

  2. I just found your blog. What fun!I am sure this takes quite a bit of effort, and I want to let you know that I am enjoying it enormously! Thank you. Kathleen