HNW - detatched buttonhole stitch

Georgeson Publishing Limited gpl at
Sun Jul 25 15:17:23 PDT 1999

Dear Tara and List

I have just read your email on the list. Detached buttonhole stitch is most
effective for use when working petals etc.

This is not a commercial message but I comment on these matters because I
have lived and breathed them (and when closing my eyes at night still saw
the stitches clearly), whilst editing the Elizabethan books.

After working through every stitch that I could discover which was used in
Elizabethan Embroidery, I produced clear diagrams of how to work ‘lifted up
detached buttonhole stitch’ with accompanying text, in one of my books,
Exploring Elizabethan Embroidery. (I believe the diagrams are very easy to

These petals are not worked separately and then joined to the embroidery,
rather the technique shows you how to work the petals starting from the
stitched petals and then coming away from them. I believe that this is how
the embroidery was worked in that period. The embroidery was worked on
furnishing and clothes so the threads used were heavier than you might
expect. However these techniques can be worked using just one thread of
stranded cotton if desired.

For more information on working Needlelace roses once again another book
(Elizabethan Needlework Accessories) has with great diagrams and very clear
text. The third book in the series Festive Elizabethan Creations has
instructions on ‘Punto in aria’ petals. The author of this book used one
thread of stranded cotton or silk throughout and has created exquisite
designs. (In fact she won the top award at Woodlawn Plantation (Virginia) in
1989, with
her Juliet Bride’s Cap and Bag stitched using these techniques.)

These books give you a choice of methods for creating the gorgeous flowers
from that period.

We published the first book in this series just because there were no books
around to show you how to do this embroidery. Needlewomen of that period had
many stitch techniques that they used which are not in common use today,
hence the need for some ‘how to’ books!

Elizabethan Embroidery was 50 years earlier than ‘stumpwork’ and no wire is
used. There is nothing ‘scary’ about Elizabethan embroidery as there is no
risk of cutting important threads. The techniques described in these books
mean that you can create three dimensional flowers which are truly


Prue Georgeson

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