18th Century Bedcover

Spring is in the air today! The sun is shining and I have the window open. Outside there are children playing and birds singing. All of this has put me in the mood to do something with bright colors and flowery designs. Something like what you see below.

This design comes from the book Embroidery Masterworks:classic patterns and techniques for contemporary application by Virginia Churchill Bath. You can read my review of it here. The original was worked on linen using wool thread. It was done almost entirely in chain stitch.

I’ll be using 32 Zweigart linen stitched with DMC cotton a broder (or floche a broder) in clear, bright colors.


The design printed in the book is only half of the total. One must copy and then reverse the design to create the whole. Each half is a mirror image the other. What I am NOT looking forward to is transferring the design on to the fabric. I imagine it will take quite a long time and it looks complicated. Lots of room for mistakes. Rather than using my usual micron pen, I may use a pencil so that if I make a mistake, I can get it out of the fabric before I begin. Not that I’m planning to make a mistake but I’d rather be super careful than super sorry later!

Here are the colors I’ve chosen for the project. You can see that they are far more vibrant that the ones in the original. I’ve worked with cotton a broder only a few times. I know that it is fabulous for satin stitch, split and fly stitch (you can see it on my Winter Linen project here). What I’ve not done with this thread is shading of any kind. That will be one of the experiments I will be doing as I work on this project.

It seems like the perfect thing to be working on as spring unfolds and, who knows, maybe it will be done before summer begins!

10 thoughts on “18th Century Bedcover

  1. What a wonderful design and how lovely your colours are. It is a well balanced and proportioned design. I look forward to seeing it sitched.

  2. Very pretty! Do you ever mix two similar / different colors in one needle?

    I don’t mean variegated floss.

  3. Hi Kathy!
    how are you going to transfer the design? I have an idea, my husband made me this wondeful lightbox out of scrap wood and a light fixture. You can see it on my Flickr page: A little bit of stitchin’ I use it to trace designs on fabric and it works like a charm! Maybe you can get yuour husband to make you one, or maybe you can do it yourself, just a tiny sheet of perspex, some wood, glue for wood, a lightbulb and fixture and voila! It only cost me the fixture and some electric wire, so it was really cheap!

    • Hi Everyone and thanks for all the input,
      Marney, no I haven’t tried two different colored threads in one needle…but I will experiment with it soon. Gwen, lucky you – a handy husband! I have something I”ll use that works as a great light table but I’m always worried about the steadiness of my hand. Slowly slowly is the answer here I think. Cynthia, it will be about 15 x 15 inches. I don’t know if I’ll frame it or not yet. I do really, really well finishing projects and then put them all in a lovely, large flat drawer where they stay because I just don’t know what to do with everything. My daughter tells me I should sell them on Itsy and that’s a possibility…maybe.
      Liebe Grusse,

  4. May I suggest a transfer method as well?

    There’s paper, coated in a thin layer of chalk on one side, that you can get. Clover “Charco-Copy” is what I use.

    You draw the pattern on the non-chalk side, then lay and pin (so it doesn’t move) it, chalk side down, to your fabric.

    Then you just go over your drawing again. Clover sell a special tool – it’s like a pen with no ink, with a blunt tip, but I find using a finely tipped pencil works just fine.

    And the chalk will disappear with a few dabs of water if something goes wrong.

    Once the pattern is successfully on the fabric, you do need to go over it with a Micron or something, because the chalk will get rubbed off as you embroider.

    I think transferring from the bottom side of the chalk paper (or “tailor’s paper” is another name for it, I think) mirrors the pattern. I can’t remember right now – too tired and can’t think.

  5. Pingback: Inspired by Floche! | Dmcthread's Blog

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