Discussing machine embroidery · New Designs

Let’s talk Jacobean machine embroidery

I think that I first discovered the wonder of Jacobean embroidery when I picked up a book about it at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace. Although in truth I had seen it before when I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. I think that it’s great attraction are the colours and the variety of stitches used. Now I usually try to keep to three or four colours in my embroidery, so digitising Jacobean embroidery is a challenge as I must introduce more colours than I am normally at ease with.

There are many types of embroidery and this style originated in the reign of James 1 of England in the first part of the seventeenth century. James is the English version of the Latin name Jacobus or the Hebrew Jacob. The era in which James 1 reigned was called the Jacobean period. The embroidery has a particular style featuring stylised or fanciful scrolls, leaves and flowers sometimes with the addition of the tree of life, stags and birds. The stags were the hardest part of the designs to create.

Jacobean embroidery was popular for furnishings and jackets. Silk has used in the past but wool is more popular and commonplace for this embroidery. It is frequently confused with crewel embroidery which is understandable as I think there are no defined differences. Jacobean embroidery is a style while crewel embroidery is a type so even though I am no expert I think they overlap, hence the confusion. However this embroidery is just so beautiful and I find the emphasis on the leaves and flowers delightful.

Many of the leaves and flowers in Jacobean embroidery have outlinesso you could use metallic thread for some of them

So it was fun to study old and modern Jacobean embroidery, to get a feel for the colours and textures in readiness for digitising some for Graceful Embroidery. This was my first attempt a while back, part of the Treasure Trove earlier this year. I used clip art from DiddyBag needing somewhere to start.

Each week during the whole of September and first week of October, members of the Graceful Embroidery Group Forum will be able to download a free design each day with a Jacobean flavour. This is all part of my 12th Birthday Event! As the colour in this embroidery is very important, each week I am changing the colour scheme, which will enhance the beauty and give you various ideas. Do join today so you can collect these freebies. There will be over 30 of them.

It has been great fun blending the colours together and creating the over stitches for these designs. I have been able to use many more of the features within my Embroidery software than I usually do. I hope you like the results. The elements will be combined to create square panels which will be available to purchase later this year. As yet I have no name for the designs. If you have a suggestion do get in touch by email.

Thank you for being a part of the celebrations at Graceful Embroidery and for taking the time to read my blog. As a taster this is the second weeks colour scheme. Until next week then.

Happy embroidering from Hazel

11 thoughts on “Let’s talk Jacobean machine embroidery

  1. I’ve always associated Jacobean with India…perhaps when Britain rule India. Am I wrong about that? How lucky you are to have the Royal School of Needlework and the Museum close by!

  2. These designs are so beautiful when you actually get to see the real stitch out. Nothing gives them justice as to the real threaded version.

  3. Wow these designs are exquisite – I love the history around them too. Love the fact that they can be done so perfectly on our machines – Hazel you are incredibly talented – I just love them.

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