The blue rose pouch

Earlier this year, I spent some time on embroidery. I drew motifs directly onto scrap fabric before stitching, and this is what happened with one of those sketches.

  1. I began by drawing a Tudor-style rose onto a piece of yellow furnishing fabric, using pencil.
    I know, I know, pencil!! The graphite marks would persist longer than if I had used ’embroidery’ markers, and I knew I needed that long to finish the stitching.
  2. As the resulting sketch was reasonably even, I put the fabric in a small embroidery hoop, and selected floss colors (blues, blacks, grey, greens).
  3. Using 3 strands of light-medium blue floss, I filled the inner rose petals in a long satin stitch, then outlined over the top in chain stitch. (3 strands, because the base fabric is not subtle, and two strands wouldn’t have covered well)
  4. I filled the centre of the flower with french knots in an ice-blue color thread.
  5. To better define the inner petals, I outlined them in a grey backstitch.
  6. Next up, were the green ‘leaves’ which I completed in chain and leaf stitches.
  7. I outlined the outer edges of the outer petals with three lines of chain stitch. I then stitched over the top of the chain stitches using darker blue threads in long-n-short stitch. The now-hidden chain stitch raised the edges of the motif from the surrounding fabric.
  8. For the next rounds of long n short stitch, I mixed colors to produce ever darker shading, finishing with a round of black next to the inner petals. This (to my eye) made the inner petals stand out well from the rest of the motif.

Once the embroidery was finished, I decided that it could be turned into a pouch, since I had a second matching piece of the yellow fabric.

  1. I shaped the yellow fabric along the lower edge, to form two curves and three points.
  2. I selected an upcycled linen for the lining, and cut two pieces that were slightly longer than the yellow fabric.
  3. I joined the lining to the outer pieces along the top edge. The extra green fabric formed an inch wide seam allowance on the green fabric only. When this wide seam allowance was folded back on itself, it formed a facing into which eyelets would be stitched later on.
  4. I then joined the lining to the outer along the other three sides, leaving a small opening to turn the pieces through.
  5. I clipped the curves, turned the pieces right side out, closed the small openings, and steam pressed.
  6. I joined both pouch pieces together, right sides out, by oversewing the linings together.
  7. To place eyelets, I pinned the top edges of the pouch in the position they would sit with the drawstrings shut. I then placed further ‘eyelet pins’ on individual layers, where the eyelets would be.
  8. I removed the ‘fold pins’, then next to each eyelet pin punched a hole using a sewing awl, and oversewed the edges in a neutral color.

At this point it was time to take a brief break from sewing, and sort out what to use for drawstrings and the hanging loop:

  • I made two eight-loop, flat fingerloop chevron braids, in red and black threads. I attached these to the sides and bottom of the pouch to form a hanging loop at the top, and so that the waste threads would form the core of the tassels at each point.
  • I made two five-loop round bicolor braids, again in red and black threads, which I used for the drawstrings.

Instructions for both braids can be found in the book ‘Tak V bowes departed’, or the original manuscript (Harley 2320) held by the British Library. Versions also exist on

With regard to tassels:

  1. I slid a wooden bead onto the waste threads at each point, to form the head of each tassel.
  2. I cut equal quantities of red and black threads.
  3. I positioned the red threads so you would see them more when looking at the tassels/pouch face-on, and I placed the black threads at 90degrees to them.
  4. To complete each tassel, I smoothed the threads down over the wooden bead, and tied off tightly below it.

And finally:

  • I neatened each tassel by wrapping the tail threads tightly in a strip of card, and trimming close to the card edge.
  • I outlined the eyelets in buttonhole stitch, using black thread.
  • I finished the ends of both drawstrings with a wrapped ‘button’ (wooden bead).

So where is the pouch now? Well, a friend mentioned they could do with a pouch that could hold a phone and some other essentials, so I sent this to them in June. They’ve happily been using it at SCA events in Drachenwald since then…

Finished pouch, packed ready for transport to recipient.

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