Wednesday, May 9, 2012


The Restoration of King Charles II
English, c.1665
The Holburne Museum

I'm very much in love with stumpwork right now. It is a style of embroidery that first was popular in the 17th century. 

It uses multiple stitches, many of which are also used in other styles of embroidery (like satin stitch) but what makes it unique is that uses many raised, or 3D, stitches, including couching and silk ribbon embroidery. Stumpwork achieves this three dimensional look by also employing padding under the stitches, sometimes even wood chips for noses! On occasion you might also see bits of things (i.e. buttons, beads, twigs, coins, shells etc) worked into the embroidery, allowing the work to be highly personalized.

Stumpwork casket, English, c.1660 (embroidery)
The Bridgeman Art Library

The Basing House Embroidery
English, c 1665

Modern stumpwork is absolutely charming! Check out these modern embroideries using this centuries old technique.

Branching Out, by Lorna Bateman Embroidery

Detail of a stumpwork kit, designed by Lorna Bateman
Image via S is for Snail.

French knot sheep, via 

Detail of a stumpwork sampler
stitched by Jenny at
Vinuela Sew and Sews

And here is small sampling of stitches one might use for stumpwork, from


  1. Really interesting! Such a 3D effect. I've never looked into stumpwork much before, going to be keeping an eye out for it now.