Thursday, June 20, 2013

Modern Needlework: Arts & Crafts Embroidery

Arts and Crafts Embroidery on linen
See a free pattern for the center pillow design below.

Jessie Newbery (1864-1948) was  head of the embroidery department at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland. Not many art schools consider an embroidery department a necessity but the great thing about Glasgow a century ago was that traditional women's arts were considered on a par with those traditionally done by men. Newbery and the Glasgow School created a new style of embroidery.

Cushion Cover by Jessie Newbery in The Studio 1901

See a different version of this embroidery at the Glasgow Museums site:

 Newbery's designs were published in the influential English magazine The Studio.

Thanks to the "New Embroidery" early modern interiors required many hand-embroidered sofa pillows.
The one above seems to be bound with a contrasting cord.

The stylized floral pillow on the right has a fringed finish.

Glasgow School Design characteristics included filled embroidery on linen grounds with stylized florals of elongated and sinuous shapes. Florals were defined by shape with a minimum of naturalistic shading.  Mottoes were stitched in distinctive arts and crafts type fonts. The original for this embroidery had sweet peas framing the motto. I simplified it by substituting stylized roses, Glasgow Roses.

For a pattern: Click on the picture directly above and copy it to a JPG or a Word file. Then print it out about 11" x 8-1/2".
Or click here for a PDF from Workspaces at Acrobat.

The Glasgow embroiderers used a variety of stitches, but the most common was called the Kensington stitch. See a tutorial here:

And view another of Newbery's cushion covers at the Victoria & Albert Museum


  1. Ooh Ooh, I just realized this site is new, so I haven't been missing months and months of these treasures. My first thought when looking at some of these quilts and patterns in particular is that nothing under the sun is new, but we already knew that didn't we? You see it in music sometimes too, where some Early music sounds so strange is sound like New music.
    I'm loving these posts and just deleted something in my daily read to add this. Thanks for making me "suffer" through your educating me about these beautiful works.