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For my sixth square of my pulled work embroidery sampler, I decided to do some faggot stitches. As with most of the other pulled work stitches, there are many different variations you can do with this stitch.

Faggot stitch is virtually a wave stitch that is worked diagonally. This stitch forms triangles that pull apart the threads of the fabric. I found the most important part of this stitch was at the ends of the rows, where it had to be worked in a particular way in order to ensure the tension continued to pull at the fabric threads evenly. For this reason I have drawn out my pattern for two “row changes” so that you can get the idea.

Faggot stitch is worked diagonally.

Faggot stitch is worked diagonally. The needle comes to the front of the fabric at the black dot and follows the direction of the arrows. The solid lines represent the thread on the front of the fabric and the dotted lines that on the back. The grid represents the thread count of the fabric. 

Spaced faggot stitch is worked in a similar way as above, but the subsequent row is offset by one vertical and one horizontal thread of the fabric. This spacing can be difficult to count for the first time in a new row, but for subsequent rows it is easier. The result is a pretty diagonal cross that appears between the pulled threads, which you can see in the sampler below.

Spaced faggot stitch is also worked diagonally.

Spaced faggot stitch is also worked diagonally. In the same was as mentioned above, the needle follows the arrows. 

The “row changes” should be worked in a similar way as the plain faggot stitch above to ensure the tension for the ends of the rows is even. If the tension is not even at the end of each row, then a conspicuous “blank” or un-pulled area appears which can look weird when using this technique as a filling.

My finished square looks like this:

The top is, the bottom half is...

The top left side is faggot stitch, the bottom right side is spaced faggot stitch.

As can be seen above, diagonally worked stitches struggle to fill in a square area completely as it is difficult to get them worked to the very edge of the piece. For this reason, it maybe important to think about the area to be filled before deciding on a particular pulled stitch to use.

I hope you are finding this series useful. Part Seven is coming soon!

Related Posts

Pulled Work Embroidery Sampler: Part One

Sources and Relevant Links

More Pulled Stitches and outline stitches – by Lynxlace. This site also includes some free sampler patterns for you to try.

There has been an enormous amount of sickness flying around my family over the past few weeks and I am behind schedule! My embroidery sampler has been coming along well so far, and I have been feeling like I have learnt a lot about a variety of different stitches, as well as the technique of pulled work.

For my fifth square of the sampler, I have attempted four-sided stitch and a variation of it.

Four-sided stitch is essentially four stitches that form a square, with diagonal stitches on the reverse of the fabric which draw the stitches into the middle. There are many different variations that you can do with this stitch, including changing the shape or size of the square or offsetting the squares in the subsequent rows.

Four sided stitch is worked from side to side.

Four-sided stitch is worked from side to side. The needle comes to the front of the fabric at the black dot. The solid lines represent the thread on the front of the fabric and the dotted lines that on the back. The grid represents the thread count of the fabric.

Spaced four-sided stitch is a variation of the four-sided stitch that adds a space between each square. In this case, the space is one thread of the fabric which creates a very cool effect on the finished work.

The spaced four sided stitch is worked from side to side, but has one thread between each square of stitches. This makes an interesting cross pattern on the finished work.

This spaced four-sided stitch is worked from side to side, but has one thread between each square of stitches. This makes an interesting “cross” pattern on the finished work, which you can see below.

As mentioned in the previous posts, for both of these stitches, when you are finished a row make sure to bring your thread from the top of one row to the bottom of the next row.

My finished square looks like this:

The top half of this square has four-sided stitch, and the bottom half has spaced four-sided stitch.

The top half of this square has four-sided stitch, and the bottom half has spaced four-sided stitch.

I really like the spaced four-sided stitch. It has such a nice pretty effect.

Part Six is here!

Related Posts

Pulled Work Embroidery Sampler: Part One

Making a Pair of Lawn Ruffles – with whitework

Sources and Relevant Links

A great variety of Pulled Stitches – by Lynxlace – along with some free samplers and patterns to try out.

For the next square in my sampler, I decided to try another pulled stitch that uses backstitch as its main component.

The square-backed stitch (or square backstitch) is similar to the ring backed stitch, except that the backstitches form large squares instead of rings.

The square backed stitch is worked diagonally. The black dot is where the thread comes to the front of the fabric. The black lines represent the first half of the row and the red lines represent the second half of the row.

The square backed stitch is worked diagonally. The black dot is where the thread comes to the front of the fabric. The solid lines show the thread on the front of the fabric and the dotted lines the back. The black lines represent the first half of the row and the red lines represent the second half of the row. The grid represents the thread count of the fabric.

For my sampler, I made my stitching bigger than the above diagram, with each stitch crossing four (instead of three) threads of fabric.

This is my finished square:

Square backed stitch is worked diagonally.

My fourth sampler square contains only square-backed stitch, as it covers a large area and I wanted to see how it looked in several rows.

I didn’t really like this stitch much. It felt awkward and the underside of the stitches can show through the spaces made in the fabric. That is probably why I only did half of the square with it. It does still look good though.

There are a few other varieties of pulled stitches that can be done with backstitch, as backstitch does lend itself to being pulled. You could even make some of your own patterns or variations of backstitch in sequences.

Part Five is now completed. 

Related Posts

Pulled Work Embroidery Sampler: Part One

Making a Pair of Lawn Ruffles – with basic whitework

Sources and Relevant Links

Pulled Stitches – by Lynxlace – this site contains many different pulled work stitches and some free patterns and samplers to try out.

For the third square in my pulled work embroidery sampler, I really wanted to try out the ring-backed stitch (or ring backstitch), as I had seen it worked in some historical pieces. The ring-backed stitch is basically a backstitch that is worked in a wavy line and then worked back on itself to form a row of rings.

The black dot is where the thread comes to the front of the fabric.

The ring-backed stitch is worked in backstitch, left then right in wavy lines. The black dot is where the thread comes to the front of the fabric. The solid lines represent the thread at the front and the dotted lines the thread on the reverse side. The black lines represent the first part of the row (right to left) and the red lines represent the second part of the row (left to right). The grid represents the thread count of the fabric.

On my sampler I made my “rings” slightly more oval by crossing four threads of the fabric instead of three on the vertical and horizontal sides of each ring.

As before, when you are ready to begin a new row take your embroidery thread from the top of the stitch in one row to the bottom of the stitch in the next (that is, take the longest path between the two stitches), which helps to create an even tension (or pull) on each of the stitches. My finished square looks like this:

This whole square is worked with ring-backed stitch.

This whole square is done with ring-backed stitch, which is worked from side to side.

Because this stitch takes up a larger area, I decided to do the entire square with it. It helps give a better idea of what it looks like once several rows are done together. I really love the way this stitch turned out! It is really pretty and easy to count once you get the hang of it.

Part Four will be coming soon!

Related Posts

Pulled Work Embroidery Sampler: Part One

Making a Pair of Lawn Ruffles – with whitework

A Regency Letter Case

Sources and Relevant Links

Many different Pulled stitches – by Lynxlace

For the second square in my pulled work embroidery sampler, I decided to try some pulled satin stitches. All embroiderers are familiar with using the normal satin stitch, but a pulled satin stitch differs in that it pulls the threads of the fabric together (or apart) to create a pattern.

A spaced satin stitch can have different variations from just changing the length or number of stitches or the spaces between the sets of stitches. The particular combination below resembles a bricked pattern or wavy line when completed.

The black dot is where the thread comes to the front. The solid lines represent the thread on the front of the fabric, and the dotted lines are the thread on the back.

Spaced satin stitch is worked from side to side. The black dot is where the thread comes to the front. The solid lines represent the thread on the front of the fabric, and the dotted lines are the thread on the back. The grid paper represents the thread count of the fabric.

As for the first post in this series, when you come to end of the row take the thread from the top of one row to the bottom of the next. This makes it easier to maintain an even tension at the edges of your work.

A stepped satin stitch can be done in many different combinations and below it is shown in a checked pattern. I struggled to get the spacing correct in my sampler, but it does help to have it graphed or sketched out on paper beforehand!

This stitch is worked in sets diagonally.

The stepped satin stitch is worked in sets diagonally.

A basketweave stitch is just satin stitch placed close in sets with each set in an alternating direction, and it resembles weaving once completed. It is difficult to separate out the threads of the fabric once you have already pulled a set closed, which is why my example has a extra strand between each set.

This stitch is worked either up and down or side to side.

Basketweave stitch is worked either up and down or side to side.

My finished square looks like this:

The top half is in spaced satin stitch. The bottom half is in stepped satin stitch and basketweave stitch.

The top half is in spaced satin stitch. The bottom half is in stepped satin stitch (left) and basketweave stitch (right).

I really liked how the spaced satin stitch turned out. The other two stitches might require a bit more practise on my part, and if they covered a larger area they might look more effective.

Part Three of this series follows!

Related Posts

Pulled Work Embroidery Sampler: Part One

Making a Pair of Lawn Ruffles – with whitework

A Regency Letter Case

Sources and Relevant Links

Pulled Stitches – by Lynxlace – This site has many many different variations of pulled stitches, with some free patterns for samplers as well.

Later on in the year I am planning to make a fichu embroidered with whitework, so I have been keen to work on some embroidery samplers to learn and practise some stitches. For the next nine weeks I will be posting about my progress.

A mid-18th century fichu, embroidered in whitework, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

A mid-18th century fichu, embroidered in whitework, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Whitework is merely the use of white embroidery threads on a white background, and has been in use for several centuries. The styles of whitework embroidery have varied dramatically throughout that time, with Hollie Point, Hardanger, Richelieu, Dresden work, tambour and needlelace among the types in use.

My first sampler – a bookmark size – was to be in pulled work, where the thread is used to pull the warp and weft threads of the fabric apart to make a lace-like pattern. This technique was used extensively in Dresden work during the 18th century, often being used as a filler for blank, outlined areas. I have used a 55-count premium muslin, which has the similar translucent quality of the fichus from the 18th century (but for beginners who are interested in just trying a sampler, I would recommend a 25 count linen). The thread I have used for the outline of the sampler squares is DMC white cotton embroidery thread, and the thread used for the pulled work is normal cotton sewing thread.

My first step was to mark out sections in which to put the separate stitches. I did a chain stitch around the outside of the area to be embroidered (roughly 10cm x 5cm), and cordoned off 8 squares within this with a backstitch, both in white cotton embroidery thread.

Chain stitch around the outside and backstitch on the inside grid.

The sampler has chain stitch around the outside and backstitch on the inside grid.

For the first square I decided to do the first half in a wave stitch. There is a great video tutorial of wave stitch online, otherwise you can use this diagram.

The needle comes to the front at the black dot. The solid lines represent the thread on the frontside and the dotted line represents the thread on the underside. The grid paper represents the threadcount of the fabric.

Wave stitch is worked from side to side. The needle comes to the front at the black dot. The solid lines represent the thread on the frontside and the dotted lines represents the thread on the underside. The grid paper represents the threadcount of the fabric.

When you finish a row, bring the thread from the top of one row to the bottom of the next and continue back along the next row with your threads forming a mirror image of the row above. This is important as it enables you to keep a consistent tension throughout your work.

For the other half of the first sampler square I did a honeycomb stitch, represented by the following diagram.

The needle comes to the front at the black dot.

Honeycomb stitch is worked from side to side. The needle comes to the front at the black dot, as described above.

Once again, when you finish a row bring your thread from the top of one row to the bottom of the next. Then continue along the next row, with your stitches forming a mirror image of the ones in the row above.

My finished square looked like this:

The top half is in wave stitch, and the bottom half is in honeycomb stitch.

The top half is in wave stitch, and the bottom half is in honeycomb stitch.

I really like how the honeycomb stitch looks! It is so pretty and very easy to do.

Despite this exercise being rather difficult on the eyes with such a fine fabric, I have really enjoyed it so far. Stay tuned for Part Two!

Related Posts

Making a Pair of Lawn Ruffles – with whitework

A Regency Letter Case

Making a Stomacher

Sources and Relevant Links

Image Source: from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wave stitch Tutorial – by Make It Coats

Many many more Pulled Work Stitches – by Lynxlace

18th and 19th Century Whitework Embroidery – by Jane Austen’s World

Chemise c. 1780, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Chemise with sleeve and neck ruffles, c. 1780, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Recently, I have been making some more stays to wear beneath my eighteenth century costumes, and I had the idea to begin work on a chemise for the same period. Since I have made my Regency Day Cap, I have been looking for something else to handsew and this chemise seemed to leap out at me to be a good option. As a result, this garment is completely handsewn and took about 3 weeks (with a few hours of sewing per day) to finish.

Whilst few chemises of this period survive, I was really keen to find one with some sleeve and neck ruffles, and even something with a touch of lace.

Pattern

The pattern I started with was the one provided on How to Make an 18th Century Chemise. There is also a helpful cutting diagram to help with pattern placement on the fabric.

My chemise consisted of four basic pattern pieces:

  • Main body: Cut 1 – 260cm x 80cm (This piece will have a hole cut in the middle for the head opening, which means there will be no shoulder seams.)
  • Sleeves: Cut 2 – 40cm x 35cm
  • Sleeve gussets: Cut 2 – 15cm x 15cm
  • Gores: Cut 4 right angled triangles – 80cm x 25cm (height x width of a right angled triangle)

Other optional pieces:

  • Sleeve cuff – a thin piece of material about 1-2 cm wide and 25 cm long (just make sure it will fit around your arm at the elbow).
  • Sleeve ruffle – I used a strip twice the length of the bottom of the sleeve and 5 cm wide.
  • Neck ruffle – Once again, twice the length of the neck opening and 3-5 cm wide.

I followed the sewing instructions provided at “How to Make an 18th Century Chemise” fairly closely, and have detailed my progress below.

The stitches and techniques I have used have been a running stitch, back stitch, rolled hem, rolled whipped gather, whip stitch, slip stitch, and flat felling.

Construction Steps

Step One: Assemble sleeves and gussets, flat-felling the seams with a slip stitch to neaten. All of my basic seams have been sewn with a running stitch (with a back stitch every so often to anchor the thread). For more information on how to sew a gusset, you can look at my previous post My Regency Journey: Making a Chemise for more detail.

The sleeve with the gusset, all sewn to the main body.

The sleeve with the gusset attached, all sewn to the main body.

The bottom edge of the sleeve can be gathered and finished with a cuff. For information on this type of finishing, go to “The Cognitive Shift” link below. I finished mine with a rolled hem (ungathered).

Step Two: Sew the gores (all four of them) onto each side of the main body, sewing from the hem upwards. Then sew the side seams of the main body together, upwards from the hem, finishing where the gores end.

Step Three: Sew the sleeves in position, then finish any side seams that are still open by flat felling.

At this point (before I attached the sleeves) I decided that an 80cm wide chemise was too wide for my body, so I trimmed the top of the main body so that it was a little narrower (60cm wide across the shoulders rather than 80cm). I sloped the new narrower width out to meet the gores, which had already been sewn in.

You can see where I have altered the width. Instead of the side seams going straight up, they go diagonal when they reach the gores.

You can see where I have altered the width. Instead of the side seams going straight up, they go diagonally when they reach the gores and then straight up again where the sleeves are attached. There is no neck opening as yet.

In “How to Make an 18th Century Chemise”, at the very end of the article under “Alternative Patterns”, the patterns provided are all 60cm wide at the shoulders. They also show that there were various ways to cut out a chemise to suit various figures.

Step Four: Flat fell all the side and gore seams with a slip stitch.

The gore seams being flat felled with a slip stitch.

The gore seams being flat felled with a slip stitch. The top one is complete, the middle one is being felled, and the bottom one is trimmed ready.

Step Five: Hem the bottom edge to mid-calf area using a slip stitch.

Step Six: Cut the neck opening and finish with a rolled hem. A casing and drawstring can be added if you need one.

My neck opening was done by trying on my chemise underneath my stays and marking the neckline with an erasable fabric pen. This did lead to having an opening which seems slightly too big, but which still worked well without a drawstring. For an interesting discussion on necklines and drawstrings of 18th century chemises, have a look at The Cognitive Shift; or, 18th Century Shifts: What I Know and How I Learned It.

Step Seven: For any sleeve or neck ruffles, do a rolled whipped gather on one long edge and a rolled hem on the three remaining sides that will not be gathered. Whip stitch the ruffle ends together and attach the gathered ruffle edge to the bottom sleeve edge using a whipped stitch. I sewed lace on to the bottom edge of my ruffle as well.

The sleeve ruffle attached. Very pretty, I think!

The sleeve ruffle attached. Very pretty, I think!

All finished!

All finished! I am still decided whether to attach a neck ruffle to it or not...

All finished! I am still undecided whether to attach a neck ruffle to it or not… decisions, decisions!

I love the feel of wearing cotton lawn undergarments. Whilst I know most (if not all) chemises of this period were made of linen, I have not been able to find any linen within a reasonable price range to do the job! And I find this is a very suitable alternative.

And hand-sewing has recently become my cup of tea!

Related Posts

My Regency Journey: Making a Chemise

A Second Regency Chemise

Making 18th Century Stays

Sources and Relevant Links

Image Source: From the Metropolitan Museum of Art

How to make an 18th century chemise – by La Couturiere Parisienne

Links to extant 18th century shifts – by 18th Century Notebook

Extant chemise with lace neckline and lace cuffs (c. 1750-1800), from Belgium Art Links and Tools (BALaT)

Extant chemise with woven lace neckline (c. 1780-1810), from Colonial Williamsburg

The Cognitive Shift; or, 18th Century Shifts: What I Know and How I Learned It – article by Sharon Burnston

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