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A Stitch Out of Time

Medieval Embroidery for the Modern Era

Pattern E: Dancing Figures.

Place of origin:
Current location:
14th Century.
Cathedral of Halberstadt.
Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Dress and Textiles Department, Frame I-8, Cat. # 7093-1860.

Physical description:

This fragment was in the worst condition of all the examples I have seen. It is so badly faded and worn that large portions of the embroidery are completely gone. I was finally able to reconstruct the pattern by comparing several of the damaged figures to fill in the gaps. Because of the fading, the colors listed are for reference only. The only colors that survive at all are green and blue, and there is no way to determine what their original shade was.

Reconstructed, the needlework shows a peaceful scene. Ladies in elaborate head-dresses and flowing gowns dance with clasped hands, holding flowers aloft. At their feet dogs prance and jump in excitement.

This item was worked using the doubled brick stitch described in the introduction to this section.


-Evenweave linen fabric, 52 threads per inch.
-Colored silk floss (Colors too faded to match).


This is a scan of an example of the stitch.

Pattern Y004A
Y005A.JPG, 761k
Also available: Y005A.PDF, 222k
This is the embroidery pattern.