Examples of cross stitch worked on evenweave fabric can be found all over the world. What distinguishes Bulgarian cross stitch is its floral or geometric patterns, the predominance of red thread and the use of back stitch to outline shapes and add fine detail. Bulgarian embroidery became fashionable in Western Europe in the late nineteenth century, with traditional patterns being adapted to appeal to amateur embroiderers. This design may not be finished in an evening, but it's much easier than it looks!
- 14-count white Aida, 30cm x 40cm
- Cotton lining fabric, 20cm x 40cm
- White sewing thread
- Embroidery thread, two skeins of red,one skein each of black, green, yellow
- Sewing needle
- Tapestry needle
- Embroidery hoop
- 18cm zip, 18cm
- 17cm square
Stitch a purse
1 Stretch aida across an embroidery hoop, then thread a tapestry needle with two strands of red thread, approximately 140cm long. Download the chart from the template pack for Sew January 2015 (click button above).
2 Find the centre of the fabric and mark it with a pin or a small stitch. Bring your needle up in the centre, remembering to secure the end. Remove the pin or unpick the stitch.
3 Start embroidering the design working from the centre outwards. You may find it easiest to work all the cross stitches in an area, or for the entire work, and then add the outlines in back stitch.
4 When you have finished the embroidery, trim the aida so that it measures 20.5cm x 38cm, with the embroidery centred. With right sides facing, join the two short ends with a 1.5cm seam, forming a tube. Flatten the fabric with the seam positioned at the centre back so that the embroidered area will be the front.
5 Stitch the base of the bag with a 1.5cm seam. Trim the seams and clip the corners. Turn the top edge to the wrong side by 1.5cm and insert a zip in the gap. Pin, tack and stitch in place.
6 Cut two 19.5cm squares of lining fabric. Place right sides together and stitch the sides and base with a 1cm seam. Clip the corners. Slip the lining into the bag, fold under the raw edge at the top and slip stitch this folded edge to the zip on both sides.
7 Using any leftover embroidery thread, make a pompom by cutting 5cm lengths of thread, holding them in a bunch and tying a piece around the middle. Fluff up and tie to the zip pull.