Feather stitch is an easy technique to crack, and very useful for simple borders. When the stitches are worked closely, it is known as long-armed feather stitch, or Cretan stitch, and it makes a very attractive textured filling for petals, stems and leaves, creating a kind of woven effect. In this project, it has been used to embroider a design of palm trees on a sandy shore, using glossy and sparkly threads, then made into a little beach bag which would be perfect for carrying essentials such as sun cream, sunglasses and a paperback book on a trip to the seaside.
- Blue cotton or linen fabric, 27cm x 40cm
- Cotton lining fabric, 27cm x 40cm
- Blue sewing thread
- Embroidery thread, brown, green, red, pearlescent cream, pearlescent white, skein of each
- Ribbon or cotton tape, 70cm
- Needles, sewing, crewel
- Embroidery hoop
- 18cm x 25cm
Stitch a beach bag
1 Cut 27cm x 40cm from blue fabric and lining. Fold the blue fabric in half and press, then open out flat; the foldline will be the base of the bag. Download the motif and transfer this to the top half of the fabric, above the fold, placing it centrally and leaving 5cm between the tops of the trees and the top edge. Stretch the fabric in an embroidery hoop.
2 Thread a crewel needle with three strands of green thread. Knot the end and take it up through the fabric at the tip of one of the palm leaves. Take back down through the fabric, about 2mm along the marked line and take the needle between the strands of thread close to the knot - this will help to secure and prevent it from slipping through. Take the needle back up to the right side and fill in the whole leaf shape in feather stitch. Repeat, filling in each of the palm leaves.
3 Using three strands of each thread, use brown to fill in the tree trunks, pearlescent cream for the sand banks and red to fill in the hull of the boat. Thread the needle with a single strand of pearlescent white and fill in the yacht sails. To embroider the waves, work feather stitch along one side only of each of the marked lines - this is called single feather stitch. Finally, stitch along the horizon line in backstitch.
4 Remove the fabric from the hoop and press lightly on the reverse. Fold in half widthways, right sides together, and stitch the sides with a 1cm seam. Clip the corners. Repeat with the lining fabric. To create a gusset, press each of the bottom corners flat, matching the pressed line along the base with the side seam. Measure 2cm up from the corner and draw a line across. Sew along this line, then cut off the corner 1cm from the stitching. Repeat with the lining, then turn out the main bag. Fold the top edge of the main bag and the lining to the wrong side, creating a 1cm single hem.
5 For the handles, cut 70cm of tape or ribbon in half. Pin one handle to each side of the bag on the inside of the main piece, positioning the raw ends 4cm either side of the centre point of the top of the bag. Put the lining inside the bag, wrong sides together, then slip or topstitch together, trapping the ends of the handles between the two fabrics.