12 Little Needle Cases · Small Projects

January: Applique Inspiration and Planning

This needlework piece is part of my ongoing exploration of different medieval embroidery styles. A full explanation of the project can be found here.

January’s needle case is Applique and I am so inspired by this bag.

Seal Bag with the Arms of Edward I now in the Collection of Westminster Abbey

This seal bag was part of an exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum on different embroidery techniques and it is wonderful to look at. A seal bag is a small bag that would be used protect wax impressions of royal seals. This bag uses both onlay and inlay applique technique. The red flowers are appliqued using the onlay technique, wherein the red wool fabric is appliqued on top of the green. But, the red shield is appliqued using an inlay technique known as “opus consutum” or intarsia applique. The two fabrics are cut so the red shield fits inside the green frame like a puzzle piece. The textile research center which has some information on this piece says that the gold lions are also inlayed using the same technique, but I find that hard to believe due to the irregular shape of the lions which would have been extremely intricate to cut out once let alone twice. You can also see bits of red through the gold portions of the lions.

This close up shows how thread is couched over the edges of the applique to attach it to the second layer. Then, the flower stems are stitched in split stitch.

For my little needle case I have drafted a similar design using this pattern. After examining my fabric and thread stash I decided to use red and white wool fabric for the ground. I have some green silk wool blend floss that I think would look very pretty, or if it is not quite thick enough ( as I fear the case may be) I have some green crewel weight wool.

Feel free to borrow my design or draft up your own! At the end of the month I plan to have a tutorial and pattern on how I put this needle case together.

For More Information:

Royal Seal of Edward I — Textile Research Center

Medieval Mythologies — Victoria and Albert Museum

Opus Consutum — Textile Research Center

Links to Extant Medieval pieces using Applique Larsdatter.com

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