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A Stitch Out of Time

Medieval Embroidery for the Modern Era

Pattern A: A Tasseled Bag.

Place of origin:
Current location:
14th-15th Century.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Dress and Textiles Department, Frame I-9, Cat. # 8699-1863.

Physical description:

The bag itself is square and measures approximately three inches by three inches, three colored tassels are attached to the base, one at each end (Gold, DMC 729 and Red, DMC 347) and the remaining one (Green, DMC 368) in the middle. These tassels measure about one and a half inches long (see Appendix B for information on the making of tassels).

While there is no surviving drawstring, the band at the top of the bag shows four holes. These are spaced so as to suggest that the bag originally possessed a double drawstring similar to those seen on other bags from the period (see Appendix B for information on the design and making of drawstrings).

The outside of the bag is constructed from a single piece of embroidered fabric. This is folded in half and sewn across the bottom and up one side of the bag. The lining, if any, could not be examined. Around the opening of the bag there is a fabric strip sewn to the needlework. This is either a cloth tape placed to strengthen the bag, or possibly the lining of the bag folded over to the front and secured. Either way, the strip is secured with what seems to be a whip stitch.


-Evenweave linen fabric, 28 threads per inch.
-Plied linen thread (off white, DMC 746)
-Colored silk floss (Red - DMC 347, Green - DMC 368, Blue - DMC 312, Gold - DMC 729)

BAG1C.GIF, 36k
This is a scan of an example of the stitch.

This is a scan of a color photo of the bag.

Pattern Y001A
Y001A.JPG, 506k
Also available: Y001A.PDF, 699k

This is the embroidery pattern.
GEMB01B.GIF, 17k
The construction details for the above bag.

PROJ2.JPG, 33k

An example of a finished project

PROJ1.JPG, 32k

Another variation